On the 24th of February, Hollywood celebrated another year of phenomenal films, including “A star is born”, “The Favourite”, “Roma” and many more. Numerous of the nominated films had a woman as their main character. That is how I came up with the idea to present eight inspiring young adult and family movies and one TV show to you, where women rule the screen.
1. Brave – Disney Pixar (2012)
“Our fate lives in us. You only have to be brave enough to see it.“
Who doesn’t love a good Disney movie where the princess is not just a shy and spoiled girl but a bad-ass instead? This computer-animated fantasy film is set in Medieval Scotland, and it follows the life of 16-year old Princess Merida of the clan Dunbroch. Her parents have the intention of betrothing their eldest and only daughter to the son of one of her father’s allies, as it could be the only way to save her father’s reign and prevent a war between the clans. Later on, the first-born sons arrive to compete in the Highland Games, where the winner gets Merida’s hand in marriage. By that time, the gentlemen were not aware that Merida herself would fight for her own hand and would easily win against her competitors in an archery contest. Leaving her suitors heart-broken and embarrassed, Merida runs into the forest after a discussion with her mother.
This fantastic family film, which won the Academy Award, the Golden Globe and the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Feature Film, is filled with adventure and a strong warrior, that has to demonstrate her courage and strength to save her mother Elinor and simultaneously prevent a war between the clans.
2. The Fault in our Stars (2014)
“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world. But you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.“
If I have to describe this emotional movie in three words, then I would use: tragic, funny and breathtaking. The 16-year old Hazel Grace Lancaster suffers from thyroid cancer, which has already formed metastasis in her lungs. After her mother pressures her into joining a cancer support group for teenagers and young adults, Hazel meets the charming Augustus Waters (17), who is currently in remission from osteosarcoma. It is inspirational to see how this young woman constantly looks death in the eye and is still able to enjoy life, love and keeps on fighting. Overall, this film combines a moving love story with tragic realism.
3. Divergent (2014)
Isn’t Theo James a good enough reason to watch this film? No? Well ok, I’ll tell you what it’s about. This science fiction action film is set in dystopian Chicago, where people are categorised into five factions; yet there is a hidden faction, “Divergent”. Every citizen will be tested for aptitude at the age of sixteen, after which they are able to choose any faction at the so-called “Choosing Ceremony”. Beatrice “Tris” Prior was born in Abnegation, but she is convinced that she is not selfless enough to fit into this faction. During her test, Beatrice finds out that she is one of the few people who are divergent, meaning that she would fit into three sections: Abnegation, Erudite, and Dauntless. During her “Choosing Ceremony” she chooses Dauntless, and only a few minutes later, a dangerous and life-threatening new chapter of her life begins. This movie once again demonstrates that women are as good warriors as men are, portraying a Tris that has the courage to jump from trains, handle guns and knives. In the course of the film, she has to face her worst fears as well as prevent a catastrophe that could kill an entire faction.
4. The Hunger Games (2012)
“Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.“
I bet there is not one of you that hasn’t heard of this science fiction-adventure film before. Annually, a boy and a girl, aged between 12 and 18, from each of the nation’s 12 Districts are chosen to compete in a deadly television game called the “Hunger Games”, where only one of the 24 “tributes” is able to survive. Our main character’s little sister Primrose Everdeen has been allotted, but Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her place and thus travels to the Capital with the other “tribute” Peeta Mellark. This exciting story teaches us that you don’t always have to fight fire with fire, meaning that violence is nearly never the solution. Katniss Everdeen represents a girl that stays true to herself and would sacrifice everything for her loved ones.
5. The Devil wears Prada (2006)
“Ok, she’s tough, but if Miranda were a man no one would notice anything about her except how great she is at her job.“
I just want to say one thing: Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway as the leading characters.
Andy, a journalist fresh out of university, was able to get the job as the personal assistant of the famous Miranda Priestly, who is the editor-in-chief of Runway Magazine. Due to the fact that the majority of her co-workers are fashion-conscious and their favourite exercise is to gossip about each other, it takes Andy quite a long time to settle in. After finding an ally in art director Nigel, she starts to dress more stylishly to show her boss that she takes her responsibilities seriously and in the course of the film, she begins to outperform the Senior Assistant at her job. Even though Andy climbs up the career ladder; she is not willing to change her values to achieve her goals and have success in life.
6. Supergirl (2015-ongoing)
“You’ve always had the heart of a hero, Kara, way before you put on that S.“
Everyone knows the story of Kal-El alias Superman, but only a few are able to retell the life of his cousin Supergirl. Kara Zor-El from Krypton was only 13 years old when she was sent to earth to protect her infant cousin Kal-El. However, on her way to planet earth, her spacecraft was knocked off-course and got stuck in the Phantom Zone for 24 years. By the time she landed, there was no purpose in protecting her little cousin anymore as he was already grown-up and became Superman. In the first season of this series, Kara is nevertheless forced to reveal her powers to save her city including one of her loved ones. This series is filled with strong female main characters, including Supergirl, her bad-ass sister and government agent Alex Danvers and Kat Grant, who is the founder of a giant enterprise.
7. Dumplin (2018)
“I hate seeing fat girls on TV or in movies, because the only way the world seems to be okay with putting a fat person on camera is if they’re miserable with themselves or if they’re the jolly best friend. Well, I’m neither of those things.“
I mean, an inspirational coming-of-age comedy movie with Jennifer Aniston (scream)!! Who doesn’t want to see that? Imagine your mother calls you “Dumplin“, due to your heavyset figure. Well, that’s what Willowdean Dickson has to go through every single day. Her mother is the past beauty queen of their home town as well as a celebrity, and she will be a pageant judge at this year’s Miss Teen Bluebonnet Pageant. Even though Will only had little regard for this beauty contest season as she is not a fan of the overemphasis on one’s physical appearance, she later decides to join this year’s election. The reason for this is that she found out that her recent deceased Aunt, who is also overweight, tried out for the Miss Teen Bluebonnet Pageant when she was 16 years old. In the course of the film, more and more people, who would typically not sign up for such an occasion, become contestants in the contest. It is absolutely inspiring to see, how young women fight against stereotypes and body-shaming and how they slowly change the perspective of the majority of people.
8. The Hate U Give (2018)
“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. They key is to never stop doing right.“
This American Crime Drama will definitely make you cry. So I advise you to have your tissues ready for use. Starr Carter, a 16-year from Garden Heights, is one of the few black people from her neighbourhood who goes to a white private school. One weekend, she and her childhood best friend Khalil drive back from a party, when they are stopped by a white police officer. However, the situation gets out of hand when the police officer shoots Khalil to death, even though he only grabbed into the car to check on his best friend and grab a hairbrush. The movie is an eye opener for everyone who thought that stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination does not exist anymore in today’s society. It is a contemporary issue and it has to be resolved in the next years or decades.
9. Legally Blonde (2001)
“Being true to yourself never goes out of style!“
Well, for this movie you will also need tissues but, not for crying as much as for laughing a waterfall of tears. Imagine a pretty, popular and wealthy merchandising student that always wears something pink. This girl is named Elle Woods and her boyfriend Warner Huntington breaks up with her as he believes that he needs a more competent and serious girlfriend by his side to fulfill his political dreams. Later on, she decides to enroll in Harvard Law School like her ex-boyfriend, just so that she might have a better chance at winning him back. Surprisingly to everyone around her, she is not only a pretty woman in pink but an intelligent, ambitious and talented woman. This movie brings a beautiful message across: Only because a woman decides to wear pink clothes and high heels, it does not mean that she is not capable of being an academic, smart, bad-ass and strong woman.