9 Fierce Feminist Films

November 16, 2017 | 2:00 PM

9 Fierce Feminist Films

By Jennifer Mathieu
9 Fierce Feminist Films
Ready for a fun night? How about having a few fellow Moxie Girls over to your place for some popcorn and a seriously fierce feminist film? Whether it’s inspiring, funny, or a cult classic you’re after, this list should get you started. Happy viewing!

9 Fierce Feminist Films

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains (1982): This delicious gem has developed a serious underground following over the years, but it’s not as well-known as it should be. Diane Lane plays Corinne “Third Degree” Burns, a Riot Grrrl before Riot Grrrl was even a thing. As lead singer of the Stains, an all-girl punk band, she faces sexism with a snarl and starts a girl revolution with her infamous rallying cry: “We’re the Stains—and we don’t put out!” A must see. Real Women Have Curves (2002): Oh, this movie. In addition to having one of the best titles ever, it’s full of heart and complex, fascinating female characters. A young America Ferrera plays Ana Garcia, a young Chicana living in East Los Angeles who is feeling tugged in two directions. Will she follow her mother Carmen’s wishes and live a more traditional existence, or will she follow her heart and head to Columbia University in New York City? You’ll never forget Ana, her family, or the beautiful, nuanced ending to this stellar film. Hidden Figures (2016): It’s practically criminal that it took so long for mainstream culture to tell the story of three black women who broke barriers and achieved greatness while employed at NASA during the height of the Space Race. But at least the story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson is finally being recognized. This illuminating and inspiring film not only highlights the unique barriers faced by black women in STEM careers, it also reveals how white women have often failed to stand up for their sisters of color, and how key intersectionality truly is. The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love (1995): This sweet, compelling, and often hilarious film about Randy and Evie is exactly what the title promises it will be, and it’s sure to leave a mark on your heart. Our two protagonists have different backgrounds—Randy is a working-class white girl with miserable grades and a supportive lesbian aunt who is raising her, and Evie is an overachieving middle-class black girl whose mother thinks Evie and her boyfriend are a perfect match. When the two fall in love, much needs to be negotiated and figured out, but as long as Randy and Evie have each other, things are sure to be okay for these two spunky girls in love. The Punk Singer (2013): This incredible documentary detailing the life and importance of Bikini Kill’s lead singer Kathleen Hanna is mentioned in Moxie, and it’s not for nothing! Anyone who remembers Riot Grrrl (or wishes they could) deserves to watch this powerhouse of a film, which follows Hanna’s life from her tumultuous childhood with a problematic father to her years fronting one of the best punk bands ever to her more recent struggle with chronic Lyme disease. Hanna was and is an inspiration, not to mention hilarious. Well worth your viewing time. Maria Full of Grace (2004): This is a tough film to watch, but it is a powerful one. Maria, a pregnant Colombian teenage girl, risks it all to smuggle drugs into the United States in an effort to secure a financial future for herself and her baby. Once she arrives in America, her plan goes awry, and she gathers her courage and her wits to forge a path for herself and her future child. Maria is a character you’ll be rooting for from the beginning of this film to its beautiful, hopeful end. Whale Rider (2002): Keisha Castle-Hughes stars as a young Maori girl who dreams of being the chief of her tribe—never mind that this important role has always been held for men. This powerful and stunning film earned Castle-Hughes an Academy Award nomination for best actress, a designation that was certainly well-deserved. Heartening, visually compelling, and memorable, this film is especially worth watching with your young cousin or little sister. Norma Rae (1979): The iconic scene of working-class Norma Rae Webster holding her “Union” sign high above her head is about as powerful as moviemaking gets. This 70s cinema classic follows Sally Field playing the real-life cotton mill worker who doesn’t play by anyone’s rules—not management’s and certainly not society’s. Groundbreaking and award-winning, this film doesn’t shy away from Norma Rae’s comfortableness with her own sexuality. A powerful film. Obvious Child (2014): Jenny Slate is super funny and super touching as semi-clueless Donna, a twentysomething stand-up comic who, after finding herself pregnant after a one-night stand, decides to get an abortion. This film manages to merge rom-com with a frank and affirming celebration of reproductive choice in an authentic and memorable way. Put this on your to-be-watched list for sure!

Do you have a favorite from the 9 above? Maybe you have a favorite feminist film to add to the list. Let us know in the comments below!