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The 10 Best Movies To Watch During Women’s History Month

Womens History Month Movies
Merle Cooper

If cinema really is a mirror by which we see ourselves, what better way to celebrate Women’s History Month than by watching films — for women, about women, and powered by women — that are casting reflections of empowerment and equality in a time when we’re desperate to see more of both?

This month may be a time when we look back on the inventors, pioneers, and revolutionary troublemakers who have moved the needle forward, but it’s also a chance to dream up the kind of fair and tolerant future we want to see. And no medium is better at imagining possibilities than film. Whether it’s brilliant scientists breaking into the boys’ club of space travel, femme fatales on a quest for revenge, or a one-armed general searching for a watery matriarchal oasis in an apocalyptic desert, women on-screen can (and have) done it all.

These are some of the feminist films that might inspire us to do the same.

warner bros.


This magenta-drenched comedy about an iconic doll’s journey to enlightenment reads like a Lisa Frank-styled “Feminism For Beginners” handbook. But, that’s not an insult. For some, Barbie’s desire to scratch only the surface of womanhood was its defining flaw, yet we’d argue that Greta Gerwig’s ability to condense decades of feminist theory into a clever, coming-of-sentience story filled with theatrical dance numbers, Faustian callbacks, and Helen Mirren voiceovers is exactly how a universal audience should be radicalized. As a stereotypical Barbie, Margot Robbie embraces both the arched perfection and flat-footed messiness of womanhood, playing the doll’s naivete as endearing, even when it handicaps her in her fight against the patriarchy. America Ferrera plays her real-world counterpart, a mother exhausted by societal expectations who delivers a scene-stealing monologue equal parts heartbreaking and enraging. And while Ryan Gosling and his group of Kens hog most of the punchlines, the heart of this film belongs to the women — those on-screen and those watching.

Watch it on HBO Max



Ridley Scott’s sci-fi disaster flick gave cinema a blueprint for the female action heroes to come, introducing audiences to a woman both capable and completely unprepared for the horrors that await in deep space. Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley, a low-ranking officer blasting her way through extraterrestrial hijackers, is a role that, traditionally, would have gone to a man — one with muscles, ball-busting bravado, and little else to make him memorable. Instead, Weaver adopts some of that in-your-face masculinity, playing Ripley as a detached, by-the-books soldier at the beginning of the film who slowly evolves into her own kind of killing machine, one that’s just as cold-blooded but infinitely more interesting thanks to her motivations and femme identity.

Watch it on Hulu

The Color Purple
Warner Bros

The Color Purple

From a best-selling novel to an Oscar-nominated film to an award-winning Broadway production to a star-studded movie musical earning accolades and praise on its own merit. There’s a reason Alice Walker’s tale of sisterhood and female empowerment has stood the test of time. And, with this updated installment starring everyone from Danielle Brooks and Taraji P. Henson to Halle Bailey and Fantasia Barrino, her story finds even more to say. As we follow Celie from her abusive childhood to her tumultuous marriage, meeting the women who offer her comfort and sanctuary from the violence of the men in her life, we see the echoes of injustices Black women have faced for generations. But, with soaring musical numbers and cathartic ballads, we see their strength and resilience too.

Watch it on HBO Max

Mad Max Fury Road
Warner Bros

Mad Max: Fury Road

You’d be forgiven for assuming George Miller’s dystopian masterpiece is an ode to Tom Hardy’s practically-mute anti-hero. His name, after all, is in the damn title. But it’s Charlize Theron’s Furiosa, a shaved headed, dismembered war captain clinging to the hope of a better world who’s the real protagonist here. While Max merely survives, Furiosa fights for change — hoping to spirit battered women to safety, to find her maternal roots, to liberate a people tyrannized by the violent excesses of men. Scrappy, rebellious, and completely outnumbered, it’s Furiosa’s vision for the future that propels the action forward. And, speaking of, Theron’s one-armed general also serves as the movie’s toughest badass.

Watch it on Hulu

Foxy Brown Pam Grier
American International Pictures

Foxy Brown

Fearless. It’s the best word to describe Pam Grier — both her performance in the cult-favorite Blaxploitation film Foxy Brown, and her career as a Black actress literally busting down industry doors for the women that would follow. Armed in crop tops, thigh-high boots, and curve-hugging mini-skirts, Grier’s outspoken heroine delights in her feminity, embracing her sex appeal before wielding it as efficiently as she does her pistol. Fueled by her need for revenge after the death of her boyfriend — and a greater desire to help her neighborhood escape the influence of drug-dealing gangs — Brown is a juxtaposition of stereotypes with a knack for rattling off iconic one-liners.

Watch it on Amazon Prime

Real Women Have Curves America Ferrera
HBO Films

Real Women Have Curves

For the generation that grew up on Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird, may we introduce this movie — a comedic melodrama about a young woman fighting against tradition, cultural expectations, and societal conventions to make her way in the world. America Ferrera plays Ana, a recent high-school graduate suffocating under the oppressive, body-shaming commentary her mother regularly doles out. When she has a chance to escape to college, she’s forced to accept herself before she can convince her family to support her dreams. There’s so much that’s good about this film, but if you don’t laugh while crying during a sweatshop strip-down montage, you just don’t get it.

Watch it on HBO Max

Focus Features

Promising Young Woman

Emerald Fennell’s directorial debut is a violent, cutting meditation on rape culture and the systems in place that let it flourish. Lead by Carey Mulligan in a shapeshifting performance as a heartbroken young woman seeking justice in the aftermath of a friend’s traumatic death, the film weaponized our inherent bias, lodging the myth of the “nice guy” in our backs and twisting that knife with a bittersweet ending. As deliciously fun as it is to see Mulligan make men squirm, flipping power dynamics once their pants are down and masks are off, it’s Fennell’s commitment to showing the consequences — not just of her choices, but of this world we’ve simply accepted living in — that make this a must watch for feminist film fans.

Watch it on Peacock

Woman King Viola Davis

The Woman King

Gina Prince-Bythewood’s action-packed historical epic did the impossible when it premiered a couple of years ago: it told the true story of a group of African warriors in a way that was empowering instead of exploitative. As Nanisca, the leader of an all-female royal guard known as the Agojie, Viola Davis commands the screen, playing a stoic, battle-hardened woman struggling to manage her maternal instincts. The women are buff, the fight scenes fantastic, and Lashana Lynch is the most awe-inspiring, terrifying killer we’ve seen on screen in quite a while.

Watch it on Netflix

Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures

A family-friendly biopic that examines our troubled history in a way that feels inspiring and fresh, this Taraji P. Henson-led drama gives women in STEM the hero they deserve. Henson plays Katherine Johnson — one of the unsung African-American mathematicians who helped NASA launch a man into space — who fights against all kinds of prejudice to simply do her job. The movie also introduces her equally brilliant peers, a group of Black women (Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae included) who battled racism and sexism in their industry to take a giant leap forward for mankind.

Watch it on Disney+


Captain Marvel

Higher, further, faster, baby. Carol Danvers’ entrance into the Marvel Cinematic Universe was met with more fanboy resistance than it deserved — a likely reason as to why Captain Marvel isn’t remembered as kindly by some as DC’s Wonder Woman. But Brie Larson smacking down misogynistic mansplainers while wearing a Nine Inch Nails t-shirt ought to be celebrated. The film gives her character an origin story that feels simultaneously other-worldly and relatable as hell, introducing Danvers as a talented and driven pilot out to prove herself who, by a freak accident, loses her home and identity. Her battle against shapeshifting Skrulls and omniscient artificially intelligent puppet masters takes a backseat to her true mission: rediscovering who she is and what exactly she fights for.

Watch it on Disney+

Nine To Fives
20th Century Fox

Nine To Five

A killer theme song and a trio of Hollywood heavyweights sticking it to the man via poisoned coffee, blackmail, and hogties help this 80s classic stand the test of time. Jane Fonda plays Judy, a newly-divorced housewife clocking in for a secretary position at a corporate firm run by the kind of sexist, festering human pustule today’s cancel culture society would have a field day dragging on social media. When Fonda and her coworkers Violet (Lily Tomlin) and Doralee (Dolly Parton) finally have enough of being mistreated and sexually harassed at the office, they hatch a revenge plot that’s filled with hilarious hijinks and some satisfying comeuppance.

Watch it on Peacock