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Content Writer at TAFE NSW

Looking for a good flick or five to settle into? As a tribute to International Women’s Day 2016, we present to you five great movies that have women as the main protagonists. These stories cover a range of genres and inspire all the emotions. Most importantly, they’re quality viewing for women and men alike. After all, a great story is a great story. And rest assured – no spoilers ahead.

5.  The Help (2011)

Set in Mississippi in the racially-segregated 1960s, The Help gives a voice to the mostly voiceless… the black female servants who work for white, middle class families. Based on Kathryn Stockett’s novel of the same name, this story unfolds from a perspective we rarely get to see. It’s a perfect distillation of the hypocrisies and pettiness surrounding race and class. Plus, some great performances from Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer. Best moment: who can forget the front yard full of discarded toilets?

4.  Thelma and Louise (1991)

Two bored Texas housewives (Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon) hit the road for a brief respite from their unfulfilling lives. But after an attempted rape and a dead body hidden in a diner car park, the road trip takes on an unsettling desperation that you sense just can’t end well. An iconic ‘90s movie about women holding their own in a man’s world. Best moment: when the ladies teach a sexist trucker a lesson in manners. (We can’t show you this particular scene coz of its “colourful language”, so here’s the trailer instead).

3.  Steel Magnolias (1989)

A group of small-town women in America’s Deep South chat about life, love and track lighting in Truvy’s beauty salon. But the light-hearted mood changes with the tragic death of one of their own. An ensemble of some of the most respected actresses of the ‘80s including Sally Field, Shirley Maclaine and Dolly Parton. Warning: have the tissues ready. Best moment: Sally Field’s cemetery outburst.

2.  The Hours (2002)

Director Stephen Daldry’s cinematic masterpiece, based on the novel of the same name by Michael Cunningham. Three different women in three different timelines and locations are linked by Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs Dalloway. Wonderfully raw and honest performances by Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman in her Oscar-winning role as the mentally-tortured Woolf. Phillip Glass’ haunting score is so evocative it’s almost another character. Best moment: Too numerous to mention, so here’s the trailer.

1.  All About Eve (1950)

An oldie and a goodie. An ageing Broadway actress, Margo Channing (Bette Davis), takes in a young starry-eyed fan, Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), little knowing that Eve has her not-so-innocent eye on Margo’s career and boyfriend.

Filmed in glorious black and white, All About Eve is a cracker of a ride with superb performances from its two female leads (plus a mesmerising cameo by a very young and unknown Marilyn Monroe). It also contains some of the most sparkling film dialogue ever (“Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night”) and still holds the record for the most Oscar nominations (14) which it now shares with Titanic. Best moment: Margo sarcastically welcoming party guests.

 

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