30 Best Movies for and about Women

These stories about women provide viewers with a whole range of emotions: from emotion, to defiance of a cruel fate, to motivation to change their lives. Here is our selection of the best films for women.

Movies for Women

1. ”Little Women”, 2019

movies for women - little women

“Little Women”, directed by Greta Gerwig, is the latest Oscar-winning film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s famous novel. Although the book was written in the 19th century, its characters still retain an astonishing appeal for modern audiences, especially female viewers. The story of four adolescent sisters living with their mother in the American South during the Civil War is a universal tale about the hardships of female adolescence, struggles with stereotypical gender perceptions and dreams of a bright future. It’s also a film about the challenges of motherhood, with a great performance here by LaurDern as the mother, Mrs. Marmee March. Starring Saoirse Ronan (as Joan), Emma Watson (as Meg), Florence Pugh (Amy), Eliza (Beth) and Timothee Chalamet (Laurence). Previously, the novel has been transferred to the big screen seven times, and among those films it is worth mentioning Gillian Armstrong’s 1994 adaptation, which starred such celebrities as Winona Ryder, Christian Bale and Susan Sarandon.

2. “Sense and Sensibility”, 1995

films for women - sense and sensibility

Ang Lee’s “Sense and Sensibility” is one of the best film adaptations of Jane Austen’s prose. The story of the two Dashwood sisters Elinor (Emma Thompson) and Marianne (Kate Winslet) and their love adventures is at the same time an opportunity to show the customs of England at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, especially the social position of women. Romance, analysis of women’s relationships, discreet humor, reflection on cultural changes – all this can be found in the film, which successfully lends itself to multiple screenings.

3. “Becoming Jane”, 2007

movies about women - Becoming Jane

Julian Jarrold’s film “Becoming Jane” is a great choice for all fans of Miss Austen’s prose. The plot of the picture revolves around a lesser-known episode from the biography of the great writer, when as a young person she bestowed love on a certain handsome Irishman. The relationship turned out to be serious and changed a lot in the personal fate of the woman. Jane Austen was played by Anne Hathaway. The role of her chosen man, Tom Lefroy, was played by James McAvoy.

4. “The Piano”,1993

films about women - the piano

Jane Campion’s magnificent movie “The Piano” is a classic of women’s cinema. The work is set in the 19th century in New Zealand. The picture tells the moving story of Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter), who, together with her daughter Flora (Anna Paquin), who is a few years old, arrives on a desolate island to marry a man chosen by her father. The woman has not spoken since she was six years old, and her greatest passion is playing her beloved piano. However, on the spot it turns out that her husband (played by Sam Neill) sells the instrument to a certain Harvey (George Baines). Soon Ada makes a peculiar deal with Harvey to help her get the piano back. The film’s beautiful music was written by Michael Nyman. “The Piano” won three Academy Awards in the categories of Best Leading Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay.

5. “The Help”, 2011

the best movies for women - the help

Tate Taylor’s “The Help” is a great movie about women that evokes a whole range of emotions: it moves, entertains and makes you think. The picture is set in the American state of Mississipi in the 1960s, at a time of racial segregation. Skeeter (Emma Stone) is a young girl who dreams of becoming a writer. When she arrives at her family home for the vacations, she gets the idea to describe the stories of the local black servants. Her project initially arouses distrust among the potential heroines of the book, but over time the women change their minds. The stories they present turn the existing order upside down. A great performance by the black Minna was awarded an Oscar and a Golden Globe.

6. “Dancer in the Dark, 2000

the best films for women - dancer in the dark

“Dancer in the Dark” is an extremely moving film by Lars von Trier. The picture is a variation of a musical, but with a truly melodramatic plot. The main character of the film is a single mother, Selma (played by Icelandic singer Bjork), who suffers from an incurable eye disease – she is gradually losing her sight. To save her son from a similar fate and raise money for his surgery, she works hard physically in a factory. Both the director and the actress in the leading role were awarded the Palme d’Or at Cannes. In turn, the song I’ve Seen It All earned an Oscar nomination.

7. “The Hours”, 2002

the best movies about women - the hours

Stephen Daldry’s movie “The Hours” is a beautiful, almost poetic tale inspired by the prose of Virginia Woolf, which takes place over several time levels. The heroines of the work struggle with the problems eternally inscribed in women’s destiny, such as marital relations, motherhood and the attempt at fulfillment outside the strict circle of the family. A special feature in the film is the portrayal of Virginia Woolf herself, played brilliantly by Nicole Kidman, who was awarded an Oscar for this role. Excellent performances were also created by Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore.

8. “Elizabeth”, 1998

the best films about women Elizabeth

The movie “Elizabeth”, directed by Shekhar Kapur, is a monumental portrait of a great woman who goes through a long, painful and full of sacrifices road to gain absolute power in her country. Elizabeth Tudor, daughter of the famous Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, has to prove herself to be quite clever, intelligent, but also ruthless to win the political game for the throne. The famous ruler is played by Cate Blanchett, who, with the same director almost a decade later, again played the English queen-girl in the film “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (2007).

9. “8 Women” (8 Femmes, 2002)

30 best movies for women - 8 women

François Ozon’s famous work “8 Women” is an original musical based on the template of a classic detective story. Suzon (Virginie Ledoyen) arrives at her family home for Christmas. On the spot, it turns out that her father has been murdered. The suspects in the case are eight women related to the deceased. Each of them is hiding a secret. The investigation begins. The film won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in the best acting ensemble category, which, in addition to the aforementioned actress, included such names as Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, Emmanuelle Beart, Fanny Ardant, Firmine Richard, Isabelle Huppert and Ludivine Sagnier.

10. “Suffragette”, 2015

30 best films for women - suffragette

The “Suffragette” is a film that specifically targets women, as it tells the story of the gap between the position of women in the 19th century and the current century. It is not only the story of the suffragettes – the first movement of courageous representatives of the weaker sex fighting for equality, it is also a poignant picture of ordinary women, rank and file workers of the industrial world mercilessly exploited, disregarded and degraded by the patriarchal order. The lead role was played by Carey Mulligan. She played the role of a loving mother and wife working under harsh and humiliating conditions in a laundry. The heroine one day accidentally comes into contact with an increasingly popular movement, under the influence of which she begins to reflect on her own fate and future. Other good performances were created by Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep.

11. ”Zelda”, 1993

30 best films about women - zelda

Pat O’Connor’s 1993 “Zelda” is the story of one of the most fascinating artists and personalities associated with feminism, Zelda Fitzgerald, the wife of Francis Scots, the famous American writer and author of the novel “The Great Gatsby”. The movie tells the story of the couple’s tumultuous relationship. It stars Natasha Richardson and Timothy Hutton in the lead roles. It is also worth watching another serialized story about the legendary couple – Z: The Beginning of Everything, made in 2015 – 2017, where Zelda was played by Christina Ricci.

12. ”The Portrait of a Lady”, 1996

30 best movies about women - the portrait of a lady

This is another Jane Campion entry in this list. The film is set in the 19th century. “The Portrait of a Lady” depicts the fate of young Isabel Archer (Nicole Kidman), a modern-minded girl who dreams of her own independent life path. The protagonist rejects the advances of several stable bachelors, eventually falling into the snare of a toxic relationship with Gilbert Osmond (played by John Malkovich). Portrait of a Lady is already a classic film of so-called women’s cinema.

13. “Tess”, 1979

30 movies every woman should see - tess

Roman Polanski’s movie “Tess” was based on the novel “Tessa d’Urberville”. The story of a pure woman by Thomas Hardy. The Polish director’s film adaptation is a very successful venture. The melodramatic story of the 19th century Tess transferred to the screen opens up to contemporary contexts. Tess is a poor girl who, exploited by a wealthy nobleman, suffers the consequences of single motherhood and the associated social stigma. The role of Tess was played by a young Nastassja Kinski, who displayed unparalleled magnetism and charm in her debut.

14. “Isadora”, 1968

30 films every woman should see - isadora

“Isadora” is the story of the life of the famous American dancer Isadora Duncan, whose career developed with incredible success at the turn of the 20th century. Karel Reisz Kerel’s film extremely interestingly portrays the character of the famous, controversial artist, her turbulent relationships and personal tragedies. The role of the legendary Isadora was played by Vanessa Redgrave, who received the Palme d’Or at Cannes for her performance, as well as Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.

Movies about women

15. ”Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (“Portarait de la jeune fille en feu”, 2019)

feminist movies - portrait of a lady on fire

The film by French director Celine Sciamma tells the story of femininity trapped within the tight confines of cultural convention. The protagonists of the story are two women living in the 18th century. One is a young aristocrat, Heloise (Adele Haenel) who is about to marry a man chosen by her family against her will. The other woman, Marianne (Noemie Merlant) is a talented painter who is to make a portrait of the bride-to-be. The relationship between the women will reveal the most hidden secrets of the souls of both heroines.

16. ”La Vie en Rose”, 2007

feminist films - la vie en rose

“La Vie en Rose” by Olivier Dahan is an ambitious portrait of one of the most famous singers of all time – Edith Piaf. Awarded two Oscars, the work depicts the biography of the famous personality, her difficult path to the top, addictions, toxic relationships, extreme poverty and great wealth. The film features the artist’s original hits, as it is a work not only about Piaf herself, but also about her love of music. The role of the great singer is played by Marion Cotillard.

17. “The Burning Plain”, 2008

essential feminist films - the burning plain

Guillermo Arriaga’s movie “The Burning Plain” depicts stories set in two timelines that overlap at a crucial moment. Gina (Kim Basinger) is trying to overcome the trauma of having her body mutilated by a mastectomy. The cure for her pain turns out to be an affair with a married man. Sylvia (Charlize Theron), on the other hand, struggles with her difficult past, trying to find solace in the arms of random men. It soon becomes clear that the women have a lot in common. It is worth mentioning that Jennifer Lawrence won the Venice Award for Best Debut Actress for her role in “The Burning Plain”.

18. “Pretty Woman”, 1990

essential movies for women - pretty woman

“Pretty Woman” is a movie that has already become part of pop culture. “A modern-day Cinderella tale,” as this romantic comedy is usually referred to, tells the story of beautiful prostitute Vivian (Julia Roberts) accidentally forming a deeper relationship with one of her clients. Edward (Richard Gere) is a fabulously wealthy man who can offer his partner anything she desires. Will a prosperous life and exclusive purchases be enough to make Vivian happy? Garry Marshall’s film won the hearts of the public, and the phenomenal Julia Roberts was awarded a Golden Globe for her performance.

19. “Wild”, 2014

best feminist movies - wild

“Wild” is a very good screen adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s famous autobiography. The main character (played by Reese Witherspon) has had several traumatic transitions. Her marriage is falling apart, she has to deal with the death of her mother and drug addiction. One day she decides to embark on a solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. This trip will change everything. Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, the film won high praise from audiences and critics.

20. ”Bridget Jones’s Diary”, 2001

good movies for women - bridget jones diary

This British romantic comedy is already a classic of women’s cinema. The adventures of brave Bridget, an attractive single woman who tries to arrange her personal life can improve the mood even after the most unsuccessful day. Sharon Maguire’s movie is based on the best-selling novel by Helen Fielding. The lead role was bravuraly played by Renee Zellweger, and two potential candidates for her partners were created by Colin Firth (as Mark Darcy) and Hugh Grant (Daniel Cleaver).

21. “Unfaithful”, 2002

best female characters in movies - unfaithful

In this movie Diane Lane rose to the heights of her acting abilities. “Unfaithful”, directed by Adrian Lyne, is a gripping thriller that tells the story of a certain exemplary spouse, Connie Summer. One day the woman meets a handsome young Frenchman Paul (Olivier Martinez). Soon they become passionate lovers, but they are unaware that Connie’s husband Edward (Richard Gere) finds out about their affair.

22. ”What Women Want”, 2000

inspiring movies for women - what women want

“What Women Want” is a film that cannot be missing from the list of cinema for women and women. True, the main character of Nancy Meyers’ blockbuster is a man, Nick, but he’s played by the handsome Mel Gibson, and besides, he’s a guy who, after an accidental electric shock, gains a unique ability: he can hear the thoughts of women. In turn, he is especially anxious to find out what the attractive Darcy (Helen Hunt), who is cleaning a well-deserved promotion from under his nose, wants.

23. “North Country”, 2005

girl power movies - north country

“North Country” is a film based on fact. It tells the story of a brave woman, a mine worker in the north of the US, a single mother who tries to fight against gender discrimination and harassment at work. Against the pressure of all the locals, she decides to take the case to court. The role of Josey Aimes was played by Charlize Theron, who fully rose to the occasion.

24. “Under the Tuscan Sun”, 2003

girl power films - under the toscan sun

Audrey Wells’ “Under the Tuscan Sun” is a pleasant, humor-enhancing tale of an American writer, Frances (Diane Lane), who moves to Italy after her divorce, where she intends to build her life anew. She buys a stately home in Tuscany and begins to renovate it, hiring a crew of proud Poles from her country. New friends come into her life, as well as handsome Italian Marcello (Raoul Bova).

25. ”All About Eve”, 1950

movies about ambitious women - all about eve

All About Eve” is a great movie by Joseph Mankiewicz with a phenomenal performance by Bette Davis. She plays the role of Margo Channing, a famous theater actress. One day a young, shy admirer, Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), appears in Margo’s dressing room and so captivates the artist that she soon becomes her personal assistant. The actress, however, does not suspect that the girl may not have good intentions… Mankiewicz’s work, although somewhat harsh in its assessment of femininity, still holds the audience spellbound and enthralled to this day.

26. “Million Dollar Baby”, 2004

30 feminist movies you need to see - million dollar baby

Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby” is one of the best dramas in the director’s oeuvre, and a wonderful work about a courageous woman sacrificing everything to give her life meaning. There is a reason why the picture was awarded four Oscars. Maggie (played by the excellent Hilary Swank) wants to become a professional boxer, even though she is in her thirties and the best time to practice the sport has passed. However, she does not give up. To pay for the services of her good trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood), she works as a waitress and doesn’t overeat, putting aside every penny she earns. Soon he is expected to stand in the ring. At Any Cost is an incredibly emotional story of struggling through life under even the most adverse circumstances.

27. ”Fried Green Tomatoes”, 1991

30 feminist films you need to see - fried green tomatoes

Jon Avnet’s film “Fried Green Tomatoes” is a screen adaptation of a novel by American writer Fannie Flagg. Evelyn (Kathy Bates) meets Ninny (Jessica Tandy) while visiting her relative in a retirement home. The old woman tells her the story of two friends. Together with the woman, we go back to the 1930s, when Idgie and Ruth (Mary-Louise Parker) experience the ups and downs together. Fried Green Tomatoes is a remarkably warm, good-thinking motivational film that can improve any woman’s mood.

28. “The Stepford Wives”, 2004

30 movies every women should see at least once - the stepford wives

“The Stepford Wives” is an entertaining semi-fantastic story about the enactment of many men’s crazy dream: the creation of a world in which all women will be happy housewives, always ready to fulfill men’s whims. Stepford is a town honoring traditional values, where couples in crisis are sent. After a few weeks’ stay, the women turn into smiling, cake-baking, cooking wives, and their husbands can devote themselves to their favorite pastimes without the nagging of the other half. How does this transformation take place? That’s already a bittersweet mystery for the residents. Starring Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler and Glenn Close.

29. ”Bombshell”, 2019

movies about sexism - bombshell

“Bombshell” is one of the more famous movies of recent years. Its protagonists are female employees of the US Fox News station, who decide to break the conspiracy of silence about the harassment of female journalists by the creator of the news network – Roger Ailes (John Lithgow). The film starred Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie. The film won an Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.

30. ”Thelma and Louise”, 1991

30 movies about ambitious women - thelma and louise

Ridley Scott’s film “Thelma and Louise” is a great example of women’s cinema. The main characters of the story are two friends, the titular Thelma (Gina Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon). One of them is a somewhat bored housewife with a domestic routine, the other an overworked waitress. They both decide to take a crazy trip to the mountains. What the women don’t suspect is that the trip will be so fraught with consequences. The film’s screenplay by Callie Khouri won an Oscar.