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12 feminist movies we’re binging over the holidays



12 feminist movies we’re binging over the holidays

Happy Monday, Feministas. Not sure about you, but we're gearing up for the holidays a little early this year... Partly because these highly anticipated supply chain issues have us shopping before we normally might, and partly because every coffee shop, department store, and mom-and-pop in town has been playing Christmas tunes for weeks.

But hey, we're not complaining. Instead, we're going all in on holiday spirit this year—decking the halls with festive decor, donning our ugly sweaters and cheerful gear, and escaping the chill with cozy, fireside couch hangs—tits the season after all.

From your Hallmark-style holiday flicks to those time-tested, watch-it-for-the-tenth-time classics, we've got you covered with a list of feminist movies you can enjoy with family, friends, or all by your lonesome this season—the kind that will make you feel warm, fuzzy, and fully empowered inside :)

  

Feminist holiday classics

Finally, some truly fun and cheesy holiday movies that won’t make you cringe on behalf of women everywhere. These three flicks all came out in the last couple of years, but they already feel like classics that belong in the yearly rotation.

 

Feminist Film #1: Let it Snow

This one’s got a bunch of storylines á la Love Actually, but centers around two best friends Addie and Dorrie, who are trying to navigate young love and maintain their friendship in a small midwestern town. When a big snowstorm hits on Christmas Eve, this super sweet, incredibly diverse cast of high schoolers is forced to deal with family drama, uncertainty around identity and queerness, and pop stardom—it’s a classic holiday rom-com with the added bonus of teenage angst. Sign us up.

* Where to watch: Netflix 

 

Feminist Film #2: Noelle

One part holiday cheer, two parts girl power, this one’s got all the bells and whistles of a classic Disney movie in live action form. Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader play Noelle and Nick Kringle, the latter of whom is next in line to take over for their father—Santa himself—who has just retired. Unfortunately, Nick isn’t quite up to the task and disappears on Christmas Eve, and Noelle goes on a quest to find him and save Christmas for everyone.

* Where to watch: Disney+

 

Feminist Film #3: Happiest Season

A rare queer holiday film, this one features an all-star cast of Kristen Stewart, Aubrey Plaza, and Dan Levy who bring an unconventional twist to the classic winter season rom-com. Everything is going well when Abby is about to spend her first Christmas with her girlfriend Harper’s family… but on the way there, she reveals she’s never come out to her family, so they’re going to have to pretend they’re just friends. The ups and downs are fun and appropriately cheesy, as they try to hide their relationship, face old flames, pile on the sibling drama, and gossip with hilarious best buds.

* Where to watch: Hulu

 

Feel-good coming-of-age flicks

Movies like Ladybird and Booksmart have us hooked on these modern stories of teenagers trying to make their way in the world. And these next three are some totally worthy additions to that growing list, from a couple of overtly feminist high school comedies to a story about a mother (and unconventional family) trying to raise a boy who’s better than most men.

 

Feminist Film #4: Moxie

This one’s a recommendation from one of our readers—shout out to Christie Young, who chimed in on our summer movie list—and it does not disappoint. It's a smart and funny film directed by one of our favorite pop culture feminists, Amy Poehler, about a girl who decides to finally stand up to the misogynistic boys and culture at her high school, and the girls who rally around her to do it. A stellar example to young women facing the same kinds of nonsense, who don't want to take that kind of patriarchal B.S. anymore ;)

* Where to watch: Netflix 

 

Feminist Film #5: 20th Century Women

This film follows a determined single mother raising her teenage son alongside their makeshift family in Santa Barbara, CA in the 1970s. Over the years, Dorothea (played brilliantly by Anne Benning) has hardened to the likes of men and, more than anything, wants her son to be a better man than the ones she's known. When she enlists the help of a teenage neighbor and a young woman boarding in their home to do this (played by Elle Fanning and Greta Gerwig), a beautiful story emerges.

* Where to watch: Fubo

 

Feminist Film #6: The Edge of Seventeen

This one's about a precocious misfit (Hailee Steinfeld) who forges an unlikely bond with one of her teachers (Woody Harrelson) as she navigates all of the usual challenges of high school. Except now her best friend is dating her popular and seemingly perfect older brother and we watch as she copes with what she considers the ultimate betrayal by someone she loves. It's the first movie written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig and a witty, feminist triumph, so we're going to keep our eye out for whatever she makes next. 

* Where to watch: Netflix 

 

Inspired by books & totally lit

Some ladies like to cuddle up on the couch with a book, and others like to turn down the lights, switch on the telly, and relax with a movie on. If you find yourself squarely in the middle of those two, these flicks are for you. All adapted from or inspired by classic feminist literature, with hilarious modern twists.

 

Feminist Film #7: Little Women

Greta Gerwig takes this classic novel by Louisa May Alcott and gives it a fresh and modern twist. And the cast is crazy fun—Soairse Ronan, Timothee Chalamet, Florence Pugh, Laura Dern all star in this epic period piece about the four March sisters growing up and stepping into their own versions of womanhood amidst the Civil War. It explores love, ambition, and sisterhood. It’ll make you smile, laugh, and cry. And if you haven’t seen it yet, make it happen this season. You won’t regret it.

* Where to watch: Netflix   

 

Feminist Film #8: Emma

This novel by Jane Austen has been adapted to film before... anyone remember the 1996 version starring Gwyneth Paltrow?! Or Clueless, the '90s version of the story? Well this latest take on the classic feminist novel stars Anya Taylor-Joy and recounts the story of a well-meaning, but slightly self-involved woman who thinks she's above the institutions of love and marriage, but not above arranging those kinds of things for others... It's funny and warm-hearted and the ups and downs of her antics resolves in some important lessons about independence and finding your equal in love and friendship. Oh, and if you love fashion like us, the outfits are incredible <3

* Where to watch: HBO Max

 

Feminist Film #9: Easy A

We're betting you've seen this before, but it holds up! And we think it's the perfect time for a rewatch. Emma Stone stars in this teenage rom-com about a girl who tells a little white lie about losing her virginity and how that lie spins out of control and ruins her reputation. And while critics argue as to whether this film can really be considered feminist, we think a young woman grappling pretty directly with the ways that others think about her body, and the extent to which she has control over that is a refreshing insight into the reality many young women face in one way or another.

She makes mistakes along the way, as you might expect of a teenage girl, but she comes out on the other side relatively unscathed and having learned some important lessons that touch on sex work and female autonomy. Smart. Charming. An easy A from us ;)

* Where to watch: Fubo

 

Feminist comedy throwbacks

We're not sure how it's possible that Bridesmaids came out a decade ago, but that does officially make it a throwback in our book. From 1996, 2011, and 2001, respectively, our final three recs are bona fide heart-warmers—empowering stories about women struggling in romance and friendship, and eventually finding their own ways to happiness and independence :)

 

Feminist Film #10 : The First Wives Club

Is there anything more cozy than a Nancy Meyers movie?! She’s the filmmaker responsible for flicks like Something’s Gotta Give, The Holiday, and It’s Complicated—pretty much any move that features Diane Keaton in a turtleneck ;) Speaking of, this film stars Diane Keaton plus Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler, who play old college friends who find themselves in each other's lives again years later, now middle-aged and divorced from husbands who left them for younger women. They start what’s called the First Wives Club and what plays out is a hilarious and heartfelt ode to female friendship and sisterhood and resistance to society’s ageist rejection of older women. 

* Where to watch: Hulu  

 

Feminist Film #11: Bridesmaids

Never has a comedy featured such incredible girl power. This is another classic you've probably seen, but you can never have too much Kristin Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Melissa McCarthy on screen. It's part rom-com, part best-friend-jealousy drama, and 100% hilarity starring some of the funniest women acting today. Put this one on with the fam and laugh your faces off, and put to bed once and for all the absurd myth that says women aren't funny. 

* Where to watch: Peacock

 

Feminist Film #12: Bridget Jones' Diary

So, hear us out... on it's face, this movie may not be a beacon for feminist ideals: Bridget Jones starts the movie as kind of a love-sick character, obsessed with her boss and worried about losing weight. But, as she faces trial after hilarious trial in these endeavors, she learns to love herself, prioritize her friendships, and aim for what she deserves. You might even call it empowering :) Bonus: it's set during Christmas and the chilly British winter on screen just adds to the cozy couch vibes. 

* Where to watch: HBO Max

 

Thanks for reading, Feministas. See you next week for more of The "F" Word, our weekly newsletter and blog on all things feminist, from activism to fashion and beyond. Want it delivered? Scroll down, sign up, and we’ll send it straight to your inbox.

Oh, and our usual concession: this is by no means a comprehensive list! There are so many incredible movies made by, for, and about powerful women, so if we left out one of your faves, let us know in the comments :)



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