We’ve all experienced those dismal harsh days that leave us feeling deflated and done with the world. So, there is nothing better than curling up and escaping reality by switching on a feel-good film. With, 2020 being a liberating year for women in film, there are certainly a collection of films we recommend that will undeniably restore you back to your inner tranquil feminist self.
Directed by the fabulous Autumn de Wilde, the adaptation focuses on a young woman, Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy), who occupies herself with some erroneous matchmaking in the lives of her family and friends. Within the turbulent plot, Eleanor Catton, the writer of the Emma adaptation stated we could all learn from the titular character. In an interview with the Express, she spoke of how Emma “makes mistakes as we all do”, making her a very relatable character rather than presenting “a version of feminism which says, look at this faultless woman, you should be more like her”, which would have fallen onto the more patronising side. The growth after our mistakes is attainable and that is what makes us better human beings. There is always a positive to a bad situation, just like Emma comes to experience.
Birds of Prey
Now whether it be a regular bad day or you are just in need of a feminist boost, Birds of Prey is the film for you. Margot Robbie reprises her role as Harley Quinn for this female empowerment spectacular. The stunning cast alongside Quinn consists of Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Ball), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Detective Renee (Rosie Perez) and thief Casandra (Ella Jay Basco) who join forces to take down Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), a narcissistic crime boss. There is a toxicity that exists between women caused by comparison and the media, Birds of Prey highlights the differences but instead reinforces the ability to place differences aside and work together and embrace and complement one another’s beauty and skills.
Directed and Produced by Julie Taymor (Frida, Across the Universe, The Tempest), The Glorias is based on the life of ‘feminist icon’ Glory Steinem whose story recalls how she became a successful writer and activist in a pivotal movement fighting for women’s rights. Julianne Moore stars as one carnation of Steinem’s life, and stated in an interview with Roger Ebert that “The thing that you learn from Gloria is, we move forward fast together, knowing that we are a team, a group. What’s good for all of us is that kind of intersectionality”. As a feminist it doesn’t matter what background you are from, we are all driven by the same motive, and that is female power at its best!
The underdog this year had to be Philippa Lowthorpe’s Misbehaviour; a film centred around a group of women from the Women’s Liberation Movement on a mission to disrupt the 1970 Miss World competition in London to make a bold feminist statement that beauty competitions objectify women. Misbehaviour challenges themes of systematic racism, objectification, body image and prejudice to present a true story that will further elevate your faith in feminism.
The live-action remake directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider, The Zookeeper’s Wife, North Country) retells the brave tale of Mulan, a young woman who disguises herself as a male warrior to prevent her sickly father from fighting in the Imperial Army. Liu Yifei (Once Upon a Time) stars as Mulan and offers a phenomenal performance that despite the male patriarchal pressures presented throughout the film, she chooses to reject the married life and instead focus on excelling in martial arts to provide a secure life for her family. Mulan doesn’t let her gender or the traditional expectations decide her life, she uses her initiative and skillset to pave a better living for the people she loves, and as feminists, we applaud that!
Just when you’re getting over Millie Bobby Brown’s remarkable performance as Eleven in Stranger Things, she returns to the big screen and amazes as the precocious Enola Holmes. After her mother, Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter) suddenly vanishes from the family home, Enola has to discreetly unscramble the secret messages that have been left behind. However, it quickly becomes a complex task, where she will have to outsmart her opinionated brothers and save a young Lord whose life is in immense danger. But just as Enola successfully comes to prove, she is just as brilliant and capable as her older brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes.
The power of film – especially one created with a feminist agenda – is ridiculously mesmerising when you can relate and interpret the meaning behind the imagery. It can transport you to a world that is full of hope, liberation, and a refreshed understanding to life as a feminist, as well as making you feel rejuvenated from the day gone. What’s not to love?