Follying around

Not only BARBIE. Movies that will make you UNDERSTAND FEMINISM

The true power of sisterhood brought to the screen.

Mary Kosiarz

2 August 2023

What are we so afraid of in the word feminism? Are women who call themselves feminists really screamers and unhappy, unfulfilled hysterics who only want attention and public applause? Not only the interested themselves have been trying to fight this harmful stereotype for years, but also the creators of culture are involved in counteracting this misinformation, who explain to the curious what gender equality means in practice. After all, these are not just protests and political manifestos, but small everyday changes, the introduction of which gives women the opportunity to develop careers equal to men, to access health care equal to men, and finally to share rights and responsibilities equally without any hidden dominance. One of the most famous representatives of the feminist trend in cinematography in recent years has been Greta Gerwig, who today becomes a real idol for contemporary viewers, a sister who sympathizes with the ills of the patriarchal world, who flawlessly transfers her worries and calls for change onto the screen, and thus into the hearts of millions viewers.

Brilliant Barbie, however, is not the only contemporary work that directly takes up the fight against inequality, chauvinism and general reluctance towards women on many social levels. Barbieland is a real mirror image of the world we live in today, even in a cinema dominated by male characters and male themes perceived as too brutal or difficult for women to understand. Here are some brand new productions that prove how much we need a change of point of view in contemporary cinema, and thus in the modern world, to be open to the needs and demands of both sexes, regardless of our physical and emotional differences. Films, thanks to which the blood-curdling word feminism takes on a more human, easier to assimilate meaning.

"She Said" (2022) - dir. Maria Schrader

she said feminism

Why is harassment everywhere and so hard to prove? The question asked at the very beginning of the film is the beginning of a multi-level social discussion, and above all, a feminist response to the many years of sweeping under the rug the wrongs of thousands of women, those known and those hidden in anonymity, who, years after traumatic experiences, finally decided to publicly open up and sue their former torturers. In She Said, young investigative journalists of The New York Times go to war with a Hollywood giant whose exposure as a sexual deviant shocked the film industry and sparked the #metoo movement around the world. In this – it would seem – typical representative of the investigative drama, through the compilation of dialogues with the victims of Harvey Weinstein, we receive a baggage of difficult emotions, excellent acting by the two main characters, a strong universalist message about the power of women in the contemporary, unfortunately completely unfavorable world in which despite decades of change, the oppressive scent of patriarchy still lingers in the air. Slightly overlooked in the last Oscars season, nevertheless fast-paced, inclusive and, apart from the Weinstein case, also touching on other topics close to women, such as postpartum depression or combining motherhood with a career.

"Battle of the Sexes" (2017) - dir. Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

battle of the sexes feminism

The first racket of American chauvinism versus the inconspicuous (rebellious) Billie Jean King, the first woman who decided to throw away the masculine mental, physical and financial advantage in the world of sports. The film by the creator of Little Miss Sunshine is not only the story of the famous match between the best American tennis players of both sexes, but above all, it traces the winding road that Billie had to overcome to climb to the top in the 1970s and thus build the foundation for confidence of millions of women of future generations. Bobby Riggs (played by the sensational Steve Carell) is walking contempt for the “weaker sex”, “screaming feminists” and ladies who he would rather see in garages or as full-time mothers robotically performing their duties than on the court or in high business positions. The meeting of their worlds was brilliantly recreated by the creators, reconciling the requirements of a sports drama with an expressive social drama, in which the issues of pay inequality, sexism and discovering one’s own sexuality were refined to the smallest detail. If you are still confused about the reasons why female athletes deserve royalties equal to their industry peers – Battle of the Sexes will answer you enough.

"The Help" (2011) - dir. Tate Taylor

the help feminism

Another film in which Emma Stone proudly enters the fight against patriarchy, and in this case also racial segregation. Young journalist Skeeter can no longer stand the contempt and cruelty of black servants in her neighborhood. In the privacy of his home, he conducts dozens of interviews with housekeepers of wealthy white families, each of whom has an increasingly shocking story to tell. The Help absolutely wins with the power of sisterhood, a brilliant screenplay based on Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling book, and a cast of memorable performances, including Octavia Spencer’s Oscar-winning performance as Minna Jackson. A true classic of feminist cinema.

"Wild" (2014) - dir. Jean-Marc Vallee

The adaptation of the bestseller by Cheryl Strayed is a women’s version of Into the Wild, in which a hiking journey into the unknown becomes synonymous with discovering the truth about yourself, finding your own inner path after hard experiences and the answer to the question of whether a single woman in her prime can be happy (and in this case, to survive) a strong man is necessary. The 90 days of the Pacific Crest Trail are intertwined with memories of a mother suffering from cancer, grief soothed by drugs and a difficult childhood with an abusive father. Wild is a show of both the strength of femininity and an attempt to atone for the main character’s biggest life mistakes. In order to complete the journey, Cheryl must face the biggest pains for a woman traveling alone – sexualization, harassment, terrible loneliness. Her stubbornness and inner transformation is a beautiful story worthily transferred to the screen.

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017) – dir. Martin McDonagh

three billboards feminism

A real must watch when it comes to contemporary cinema promoting girl power. A grieving mother is able to do absolutely everything to ensure that justice is served and the person responsible for the death of her child has paid handsomely for his actions. Feminist production queen Frances McDormand delivers one of the best performances of her career as her uncompromising Mildred Hayes rents the eponymous three billboards out of town openly chastising the local police for the inaction that still accompanies their activities in connection with the rape and murder of young Angela. On the screen, she is accompanied by the equally sensational Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell, officers who, despite their good intentions, cannot find an answer to the question of what really happened to Mildred’s daughter. Not being a particular fan of Martin McDonaugh’s work, I count Three Billboards as one of the top productions that will remain in my heart forever. The soundtrack composed by Carter Burwell hypnotizes, the story is jaw-dropping, and the ending does not let you forget about it for a long time. Mildred is a heroine that many mothers will identify with, many will also help to deal with their own loss.

"Frida" (2002) - dir. Julie Taymor

frida feminism

The biography of the famous painter, artist and feminist simply could not have a different meaning than the whole fascinating life of Frida Kahlo. Salma Hayek not only looks like a Mexican muse, but I have the impression that she was born to play this extraordinary character. A turbulent romance with Diego Rivera, a memory of an accident and recovery from illness, the personification of female strength and the influence of female creativity on world art. A must for both Kahlo fans and movie buffs who devour good, reflective biographies.

"Lady Bird" (2017) - dir. Greta Gerwig

lady bird feminism

Growing up, first relationships and sexual initiation, discovering one’s own identity and all other ills of teenage life told from a tender, heart-hugging and maximally inclusive perspective. With Lady Bird, the era of Greta Gerwig began in Hollywood – no wonder, since the story of a breakthrough segment in Christine’s life attracted flocks of young audiences to cinemas and won universal critical acclaim. In Lady Bird, each of us will find a fraction of ourselves, our old thoughts, hesitations at the pace. About a complicated mother-daughter relationship and undefined plans for the future. About everything that you experienced and experienced alone in your youth, and what you were ashamed to talk about openly until now. In Lady Bird you will certainly find a lot of comfort and relief.

"The Favourite" (2018) - dir. Yorgos Lanthimos

widows feminism

The crazy historical drama by Yórgos Lánthimos takes us to the beginning of the 18th century, when England is ruled by the unusual and eccentric Queen Anne. Around her, a grotesque duel unfolds between her longtime lover Sara and the new servant of the court, Abigail, who, thanks to her rapprochement with the queen, wants to restore the reputation of her family and regain her lost noble title. We can admire the favorite from many sides – the role of a lifetime of Olivia Colman (who was awarded an Oscar for this performance) and Stone and Weisz, who perfectly partner her, comes to the fore, beautiful camera work, expressive, high-contrast cinematography, an exceptionally economical and at the same time disturbing soundtrack soundtrack and original screenplay. The relationship of three strong and independent women is the foundation of this bizarre story about the power and weaknesses of human character, fully illustrating the director’s unconventional style. Get ready for a real film feast – three inconspicuous women made The Favourite an acting masterpiece.

"Widows" (2018) - dir. Steve McQueen

widows feminism

Money, robbery, death, legacy. The widows of Chicago mobsters find out about the debts left to them by the men who died during one of the robberies. Left with virtually no choice, each struggling with their own problems and grieving differently, they must stand shoulder to shoulder and play the role of their partners – independently organize this one last conspiracy that will free them from the world of crime and allow them to move on. This interesting procedure of reversing the specific canon of gangster films is worth watching primarily for the acting creations, fast-paced action and plot twist that you have no chance to predict. Despite a few minor flaws and inaccuracies in the script, Widows will perfectly fit into the atmosphere of an evening with women, when you need something lighter in the background, and at the same time sufficiently suspenseful.

"Bombshell" (2019) - dir. Jay Roach

The issue of male dominance in high positions is a topic that, despite decades of feminist struggle, still lives its own life, the quintessence of which is Ken’s dialogue with a Mattel employee, confirming the existence of a better disguised patriarchy. In Hot Topics, we deal with quietly accepted workplace harassment on national American television. Three Fox News journalists expose the immoral tendencies of their boss, who is ready to do anything to deprive them of power in the industry. Although there are three great actresses in the lead cast, the character of Margot Robbie gets all the attention, for which she was deservedly nominated for an Oscar. If you’re looking for a movie that tells you something more about slut-shaming and male-female rivalry for influence, Bombshell will be an extremely accurate choice.

Mary Kosiarz

Mary Kosiarz

Far from keeping her feet firmly on the ground, she has sold her artistic soul to books and cinematography. Fascinated by Meryl Streep and an avid fan of unconventional film endings. In her free time, she educates about mental health and recommends her favorite books and screens.

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