16 Inspiring Movies Starring Our Favorite Feminist Actresses

Especially after this year’s Golden Globe Awards, it’s pretty clear that there’s a shift occurring in Hollywood. Our favorite female celebrities are becoming more and more outspoken about the inequality and abuse that all women face in the workplace — particularly in Hollywood. The constant stream of allegations of abuse and harassment can be exhausting to hear about, especially since there’s still so much work to be done.
However, it’s also super refreshing to see some of our favorite actresses gain the attention they deserve for their hard work and activism. So, if you’re tired of hearing about all of the gross men in Hollywood, here are some movies you can watch, starring women who have been particularly outspoken recently. Even if it’s in a small way, think of watching these movies as a small act of solidarity, and a much-needed break from a lot of icky men.

16. The Shape of Water

Not only is The Shape of Water an incredible, Golden Globe-winning film, it stars two amazing feminist actresses. The movie features Octavia Spencer (most well-known for her role in The Help), and British actress Sally Hawkins, who was nominated for best actress. The two actresses donned beautiful black gowns for the evening, in solidarity with the #MeToo movement. Octavia Spencer has long been an outspoken feminist and activist. For her role in The Shape of Water, she commented on how excited she was to play a role that was meant for her, rather than one based solely on her race.
“As crazy as this will sound, that was quite refreshing for me, to not have to talk about my race,” she explained.

15. Along Came Polly

Although this move can definitely be categorized as a silly (if not straight-up bad) romantic comedy/drama, we are all about supporting feminist actresses. The movie primarily stars Ben Affleck, but Debra Messing plays Stiller’s evil ex-wife who sleeps with a scuba instructor. The movie also stars Jennifer Aniston, another badass actress who has been extremely involved in the “Time’s Up” Initiative. Plus, after Debra Messing’s incredible call-out of the blatant sexism towards E! reporters while being interviewed by an E! reporter, we’re here to support her career. Of course, if you’re not in the mood for a movie, you should definitely watch her hit show Will & Grace ASAP.

14. The Post

First of all, if you’re not familiar with the plot of The Post, it’s based on a real-life story about the country’s first female newspaper publisher, Kay Graham. If you’re not sold already, Graham is played by one of everyone’s favorite feminist actresses — Meryl Streep. Meryl has long been outspoken politically, especially at the 2017 Golden Globes where she took a vocal stance about the current administration. Her role as Graham, especially, has allowed her to freely talk about workplace sexism and discrimination, especially as it pertains to Hollywood. Looking to support another of Meryl’s amazing endeavors? Definitely check out The Post.

13. Baby Mama

It’s no secret that Amy Poehler is one of the most outspoken feminist actresses in the industry today. She almost always finds a way to interweave her political beliefs into her comedy and acting. That’s why we recommend watching Baby Mama for a nice break from all the gross men who seem to be dominating the movie industry. Plus, for an added bonus — this movie also stars Tina Fey, another shamelessly-feminist actress. It also doesn’t hurt that when these two team up it’s comedic gold.

12. Scream

Rose McGowan has undoubtedly been one of the most pivotal leaders of the #MeToo movement, especially regarding the Harvey Weinstein scandal. She was one of the first to make her accusations against Harvey Weinstein publicly, also effective violating the settlement they’d previously reached.
Her story marked the beginning of a seemingly endless list of women who had experienced assault, harassment, and abuse at the hands of the Hollywood bigwig. So, check out Scream for a fun combination of thrills, laughs, and all that cheesy goodness. Bonus: this movie also stars Drew BarrymoreandCourtney Cox.

11. Frida

Salma Hayek recently came forward with her story about the abuse and harassment she experienced from Harvey Weinstein throughout her entire career. Like McGowan, she didn’t let this stop her from achieving extreme success, and is now one of the most well-loved feminist actresses of our generation. So, what could be better than seeing Salma Hayek portraying another feminist icon — Frida Kahlo? Her performance in this movie is incredible, and we highly recommend watching this as an empowering flick.

10. Black Swan

Natalie Portman may have only been on screen briefly during this year’s Golden Globes, but boy did she make an impression. Before presenting the award for best director, she made a point of saying “the all-male nominees.” Someone said it — someone had to! For every one of the feminist actresses and professionals in the room that night, it was probably extremely frustrating to see so many deserving women snubbed from the category. So, if you’re on board with Portman’s sentiment, check out her incredible work in Black Swan (if you somehow haven’t already).

9. Django Unchained

Kerry Washington is next on our list of badass feminist actresses. While she has always been outspoken about injustice, politics, and activism — Washington truly stole the show at the Golden Globes. On the red carpet, she stated: “I’m proud to be wearing black to stand in solidarity with women who have been doing the work for social justice for decades.” Bless. For an incredible (and, warning: super violent) movie featuring Washington, you should watch Django Unchained. Yes — the movie is mostly starring dudes, but Washington is amazing in this movie, and it’s definitely worth the watch.

8. Lady Bird

If you’re looking for a movie starring not one, but two bad-ass feminist actresses, you should check out Lady Bird. It’s a coming-of-age story about the unique bond between a mother and daughter. (Not quite) surprisingly enough, director Greta Gerwig was snubbed the Golden Globe nom for best director… but the film still walked away with four awards. Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf are excellent examples of strong, talented women. Or, as Gerwig called them “goddesses.” Remember Saoirse’s SNL skit, “Welcome to Hell”? Yeah, her feminist prowess has been proven.

7. Harry Potter

Okay obviously Harry Potter isn’t necessarily known for being a feminist work, but nobody can deny that Hermione is hands-down the most capable and badass wizard in the entire movie. Plus, sometimes current events can be overwhelming, and we just need to escape to the magical world of Hogwarts for an afternoon. And let’s not forget — Emma Watson (who plays Hermione) is one of the most politically involved young actresses out there — she’s even a UN Goodwill Ambassador! We’d like to see Ron and Harry try that.

6. My Week With Marilyn

Marilyn Monroe has pretty much become the poster girl for the evils of Hollywood and powerful men in the world of entertainment (and politics). And who better to portray her than Michelle Williams? Michelle Williams has been pretty vocal about the amount of sexism and abuse in the entertainment industry and decided to use her fame for good. The former Dawson’s Creek actress and many other feminist celebrities brought women’s rights activists as their “dates” for the Globes. Williams brought the founder of the #MeToo movement, Taran Burke. In My Week With Marilyn, Williams does a great job portraying the difficulty and vulnerability that many starlets experience.

5. The Color Purple

This movie has long been one of the most powerful, impactful, and emotionally intense movies of all time. The Color Purple stars a range of incredible feminist actresses, but after her speech at the Golden Globes — we’re looking to get as much Oprah into our lives as possible. Based on the novel by incredible author Alice Walker, Oprah Winfrey portrays Sophia — an African-American woman living in the south in the 1950s. It’s a heartbreaking tale about the resilience of women — something that Oprah knows a whole lot about.

4. Kill Bill

Especially after her recent comments about Weinstein, Uma Thurman has made it abundantly clear that she won’t be taking anyone’s sh*t. She has joined the ranks of inspiring, feminist actresses taking a vocal stance against abusers in Hollywood. Her role in Kill Bill is just another way for Uma to prove that she may actually be the most badass woman alive. If you’re in the mood to watch an incredibly tough woman beat up a bunch of villains, this is definitely the movie for you.

3. 12 Years A Slave

If you still haven’t heard about or seen 12 Years a Slave, it’s definitely time to give it a watch. This movie stars Lupita Nyong’o — a breakout star who is no stranger to feminism. Nyong’o speaks candidly about the issues of racism and sexism in the entertainment industry and was another of the many women brave enough to share her own negative experiences with Harvey Weinstein. This movie covers extremely difficult topics and doesn’t shy away from the truth of the matter. Nyong’o’s performance will leave you straight-up speechless.

2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

A movie like Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is hard to come by. It’s about a mother who fights her absolute hardest and takes the case of her daughter’s murder into her own hands when the police won’t do enough. And of course, a movie about such a strong woman is bound to attract feminist actresses. The star of the film, Frances McDormand, had some powerful words to say after winning the Golden Globe for best actress: “the women in this room tonight are not here for the food. We are here for the work.”

1. I, Tonya

Finally, we have one of the most sensationalized true stories turned popular movie in recent history. I, Tonya, the story of figure skater Tonya Harding is so incredible because it portrays Tonya in a way she’s basically never been portrayed before — sympathetically. It talks about the difficulties of abusive relationships and coming from a low-income background in America. It’s also about telling the story of a woman whose story has been told for her — a pretty key theme in the entertainment world recently.
While we could talk about the real Tonya for ages, we also have to give extreme credit to Margot Robbie, who played the controversial world champion. An open feminist, Margot has spoken about her desire to work on female-driven projects. She told Vogue, “I already work with a ton of female writers who are brilliant, and I want to work with female directors… I really want to work with actresses my own age.” She continued, “I’m trying so hard to get projects up and running with an ensemble of young female characters, because that’s my life, my group of girls, we’re a gang and we roll together and I’m like: ‘Why is that not reflected in film?’” She’s literally too relatable.

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