Top Ten Movies Featuring Some of Our Favorite Inspiring Women
By Bonny Osterhage
It’s now day, 3,452 of isolation and chances are all you “cool cats and kittens,” have binged Tiger King and asked yourself these two questions: (1) How did Carole Baskin pull that off? (2) I wonder if I can order a baby tiger cub on Amazon Prime while in isolation? Ok—maybe that last one is just us, but let’s face it—social distancing and being confined to our homes has left many of us searching for new hobbies to try, new shows to binge, and new recipes to cook. In short, we are looking for ways to distract ourselves from what is one of the most disruptive and unsettling situations many of us have experienced in our lifetimes. Who can blame us for wanting a little escapism? That’s why we’ve rounded up our top ten favorite movies featuring women who inspire us and show us that there is nothing that we can’t handle with a little grit, humor, and grace. Some may already be on your list, and some you may have never seen, but regardless, they are all worth grabbing some popcorn and enjoying whether for the first or 50th time.
Next to, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner,” from Dirty Dancing, my favorite quotable line from a movie is, “I am not a steak—you can’t just order me,” from Working Girl. Starring Melanie Griffith, Sigourney Weaver, and Harrison Ford, this movie proves that sometimes you have to bend the rules to change the game.
Few actresses today inspire me like Reese Witherspoon. She may be a tiny little thing, but she’s got a BIG voice in Hollywood when it comes to women’s rights. Her Legally Blonde character Elle Woods could have been a stereotypical joke, but instead, she shows us all that a woman can be brilliant, beautiful, and anything she damn well pleases as long as she believes in herself.
The First Wives Club
Starring three of my all-time favorite actresses, The First Wives Club is a reminder that it is never too late to start over and live your life on your terms. Diane Keaton, Bette Midler, and Goldie Hawn go from dejected divorcees to boss babes who work together to find their strength (often hilariously) in their struggles.
Diane Keaton appears in another “club,” this time with Jane Fonda, Candice Bergin, and Mary Steenburgen. The movie tells the story of a friendship between the four women that spans three decades and includes a monthly book club meeting. Their adventures following the reading of Fifty Shades of Grey reminds us that women can be sensual and sexy at any age.
Sex and the City 2
Samantha in menopause---need we say more? Told in the same Sex and the City sassy style we know and love, this movie follows the fabulous foursome as they navigate the realities of marriage, motherhood, and yes, menopause.
The name says it all in this story of Southern women and their friendships that carry them through all of life’s joys and sorrows. Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, and Olympia Dukakis create memorable characters that make you laugh, cry, and rejoice in the inner strength that we all possess.
Based on the real lives of three African American women who were responsible for helping NASA get a leg up in the Space Race, this inspirational story has an equally inspirational cast that includes Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe and Taraji P. Henson, who plays mathematician Katherine Johnson. These women defied gender and segregation issues to follow their passions and set an example for future generations.
Julianne Moore is wonderful as a middle-aged divorcee who finds herself back in the club scene and dating game. From needy adult children to demanding ex-spouses, and partners who can’t commit, it’s a story that reminds us never to settle.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Is there a better scene than a menopausal Kathy Bates yelling, “Towanda” and repeatedly ramming the shiny red convertible that stole her parking space? I think not—although I don’t recommend trying it at home.
Based on the real-life story of a broke, single mother who took on Pacific Gas and Electric Company and won, Julia Roberts delivers an Oscar-winning performance in this David and Goliath tale that proves that sometimes the little guys can finish first.