With the changing society, Hollywood is focusing more and more on making movies that have an impact on the society. While no movie can be classified for a particular audience, some tend to connect more with one section than the others. But every good movie affects the masses.
Here is our list of 10 must watch Hollywood movies which connected with the female audiences and inspired them to excel and thrive in all walks of life. From real-life adaptations to animated features, to movies inspired by novels, this list comprises of all those hits that aim towards the upliftment and betterment of the feminine population.
List of must-watch Hollywood movies for women:
2015’s Oscar-nominated movie “Joy,” follows the life of the inventor of ‘miracle mop,’ Joy Mangano. A creative genius from a young age, Mangano is distraught after her parents’ divorce, which leads the former High School valedictorian to choose a path that led nowhere. At 33, divorced and responsible for her two kids, mother and grandmother, an incident with shattered glass leads her back to her creative streak, thus starting the journey to her first commercially successful invention, the ‘Miracle Mop’.
The movie stresses the message of never giving up, even if the world is against you. The strength inside you is the best motivation that you can get and the belief of a single person is enough to go on. The life of Joy Mangano also inspires the audience to never stop doing what they are a genius of and to stand up for yourself in the face of adversities.
The Help (2011)
Based on Kathryn Stockett’s novel of the same name, “The Help” takes the audience back to Jackson, Mississippi of 1962, where “Black maids raise white children but aren’t trusted not to steal the silver”. The movie follows the lives of Miss Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan, a college graduate, who has just returned home, and her best friends’ domestic help, Aibileen, and Minny. While on an assignment for the local newspaper, Skeeter seeks Aibileen’s help in writing advice for a ‘Domestic Hacks’ column when she is exposed to a glimpse into the life Aibileen is living. Motivated by an offer from a New York publishing house, Skeeter sets out to write a book on the lives of Mississippi’s domestic help, with Aibileen and Minny’s aid.
The story highlights the importance of education for women, as that is what enables Skeeter to look past the racial discrimination in her society, and pen down these observations for the ignorant population to see. A woman’s ability to feel more strongly that a man, combined with the awareness of her surroundings brings about the revolution our world needs. It also urges women to stand up for each other in order to uplift their gender, as only when we respect on another can we expect the opposite gender to do the same.
Gone With The Wind (1939)
Journey to the Southern States of America, a little before the outbreak of the American Civil War, with one of the most iconic female protagonists of all time, Scarlett O’Hara, in this adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s novel of the same name. The story follows the life of Scarlett O’Hara, a Southern belle, whose life is as perfect as it can be, but the turmoil of the Civil War put her through trials beyond her years. Although she isn’t exactly the type that the audience would fall in love with for her virtues, Scarlett’s determination to get by every obstacle thrown her way is captivating.
While the men around her settle for small jobs, refusing to work with their victorious enemy, Scarlett shakes hands with the Yankees she hates so much to survive in her ever-changing society. The movie inspires the female audience to be a perfect mixture of Scarlett and her foil, Melanie Wilkes, to excel in a male-dominated world. Despite being pushed to her limits and seeing everything around her crumble, Scarlett refuses to let circumstances get the best of her, or let the men around her take over. The girl whose only motive in life was to marry Ashley Wilkes, emerges a warrior from the war, still retaining some of her immaturity.
The Oscar-winner, Disney animated movie, became a phenomenon after it’s super hit song ‘Let it Go’. The story follows the life of two royal sisters, separated due to the supernatural powers of the heir to the throne (Elsa). Although the element of child-like innocence is kept alive, the message of the bond between sisters and love amongst family is as strong as it gets. Despite their differences, the two sisters stand united when a foreign invader tries to take over their kingdom by widening the gap of misunderstanding between the two siblings.
This movie is one of the best in the list of must-watch English movies for women. The movie also spreads the message of loving oneself to overcome all weaknesses and turning them into strengths. Elsa suppresses her power of manipulating ice all her life for fear of hurting her loved ones. However, when she puts some distance between herself and her royal life, else learns to control her powers and turn them into a gift which, with the help of Anna (her sister), she uses to save the Kingdom.
Another Disney animated movie in the list is the story of Mulan, who breaks free from all social prejudices as she enlists herself in her weak father’s stead for the ongoing war against the Huns, where each family has to send one male member for the army. Being a female, Mulan has to disguise herself as a man to carry out her duties towards her family and country. The story breaks all barriers between male and female strength as it shows the protagonist coming at par with all her male companions. Mulan’s determination and hard work puts her in the spotlight amongst all others.
This beautiful portrayal of the strength of a woman determined to protect her family, by making all sacrifices necessary is a must for children and adults alike. The movie also showcases the emotional sensitivity of women as their weapon to strive forward and achieve the impossible, which puts them ahead of men. This movie is a must for all those who feel masculine strength is needed to support and protect women.
Erin Brockovich (2000)
Another real life adaptation on the list, this movie follows the life of Erin Brockovich as she fights against the energy corporation, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), to prevent the further spread of cancer in the localities situated around their power plants. An unemployed single mother of three, Erin gets employment at the firm of the lawyer who lost her car accident lawsuit. While going through the files of a Real Estate case, she comes across the story of Donna Jenson, a cancer patient whose house was being bought by PG&E. closer investigation reveals the presence of a banned isotope of Chromium in the water supply of the locality, which starts Erin’s journey to bring the power giant to its knees.
The movie is about not giving up on what you believe is right and fighting for it against all odds. Erin’s story also reminds the audience that one doesn’t have to be a genius to leave a mark on the world. It is the quality of your conviction and the not the circumstances you fall in, that put you under the spotlight and gets the job done. Her persistence and concern for the lives of others are what makes her the key player in achieving the impossible feat of bringing PG&E down.
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
This next Oscar-winner movie from 2004 is the story of an underappreciated boxer trying to atone for his mistakes by helping an underdog amateur boxer rise to fame. This movie connected with the audience and critics alike for its uncompromising depiction of reality. Maggie Fitzgerald, a waitress from Missouri is able to convince the owner of the gym she trains at, to train her for professional boxing. Although her age goes against the regular norm, Maggie (Hilary Swank) is able to box her way to the top of the charts. Despite having a money hungry and selfish family, she relies on the belief her trainer, Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) to cross all barriers in her way.
The trials, both physical and emotional that she endures are enough to break an average human being, but it is in these times that the true strength of a person can be seen. The movie inspires the audience to be decisive, fearless and drive by that goal they have set for themselves, as only these qualities set the winners apart from losers. Life isn’t always sunshine and you might hit rock bottom even when you have struggled your way to the top. This movie beautifully depicts such cruel and harsh realities of life, and yet motivates the audience to not give up and keep working for the impossible. To sum it up with the words of Clint Eastwood, “MDB is classical in the clean, clear, strong lines of its story and characters, and had an enormous emotional impact.”
Mona Lisa Smile (2003)
Mona Lisa Smile takes you back to 1953 when education for women was not a necessity but a status symbol. Julia Roberts plays Katherine Watson, an Art History teacher at Wellesley College, a conservative woman’s private liberal college in Massachusetts. While all her students are set to get married during or after college, Ms. Watson tries to convince them of the possibilities that getting an education opens for them. Among a conservative, an eloped bride, and a liberal, Ms. Watson finds a purpose for her own life as well.
The movie teaches the audience, the value of courage, dignity, and firmness of purpose. It spreads the message of getting past the social norms and living life in the way that suits us best. The movie somewhat parallels the ‘Dead Poets Society,’ in its attempt to inspire the audience to choose and make their own path, for only then can they expect to be happy and successful in life. This movie is especially an essential watch for the population of India where women are still raised with the mentality that marriage is their last destination.
Wild is an adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir ‘Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.’ The movie tells the story of Cheryl Strayed (played by Reese Witherspoon) following the death of her mother that leaves her distraught and leads her to depression. To cope with her grief, Cheryl gets involved in drugs and anonymous sex, which ruins her marriage as well. In a final attempt to restore peace in her life, she begins a journey of redemption on a hiking trail from the Mojave Desert in Southern California to Bridge of Gods on Columbia River. This must watch movie of 2014 depicts the importance of finding one’s true self. The glass walls of misinterpretation that we build around ourselves can shatter any time leaving us exposed and vulnerable.
The movie also inspires its audience to take life as it comes for that is the only way we can expect to live without regrets. The story also reminds the audience of the harsh truth the there is no shortcut to coming out of an emotional trauma. That the only way for you to truly heal is to let it run it’s course while at the same time you try to find happiness in every small thing around you. Every cloud has a silver lining, and all we have to do is keep going forward with a positive attitude for every trial has an end. Such strong messages about life make “Wild” a must watch for all.
The Colour Purple (1985)
Alice Walker’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel, ‘The Colour Purple’ has been brought to life in director Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the classic. “The Colour Purple” is the story of Cellie, an oppressed black woman living in the state of Georgia during the first forty years of the past century. She endures rape, sex, stillborn children, a tyrannical husband, domestic violence, chauvinism, loss of her sister and demoralization of her friend Sofia. Both the book and the film reveal the heartbreaking reality of the lives of oppressed women all around the world.
Despite all odds, Cellie and her friends, Sofia and Shug, struggle to overcome racism and misogyny, in this tale of equality and strength of a united cause. The emotionally traumatizing depiction of the lives that many black women have lived, leaves a strong impression on that hearts of its audience. This is yet another movie that shows that the true strength of women is in standing for each other. Only when an oppressed minority stands united can it hope to achieve something against its oppressors.
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