Movie Recommends: Girl Power

July 8th, 2017

A hot topic lately is the lack of strong female leads in our media, especially in movies. While we still have a long ways to go on this, it does make me happy that there are some good movies out there that already display this. I wanted to highlight a few that released just this year!

The first movie I want to point out is Colossal (trailer) where Anne Hathaway plays Gloria, a woman who is at a low point in her life. She is unemployed, an alcoholic, and then gets kicked out by her boyfriend, who is tired of her behavior, from their shared apartment. She’s forced to move out of NY and back to her small hometown, where she discovers she is somehow controlling a kaiju (giant monster) that shows up in South Korea. The trailers make the movie look like a comedy, and it definitely has its funny parts, but it also has a dark side that the trailers don’t let on.

This is kind of a spoiler, but I feel it’s important to mention. I was not expecting the movie to make a point about toxic relationships. As it unraveled, it became both uncomfortable and refreshing. Uncomfortable because it’s a bad situation that happens too often in reality, and refreshing because it’s not frequently represented in media. Overall, I loved the quirky take on a kaiju movie while also displaying social issues. The ending might be far-fetched, but it leaves you with a satisfying feel.


Of course, I can’t talk about recent women in films without mentioning Wonder Woman (trailer), right? After so many blockbusters with male superheroes as leads, we finally get one with a woman. I have to admit, the ending started to get too CG crazy and ridiculous, but I loved the journey leading up to it. Seeing all the Amazons fighting at the beach left me breathless, and the choreography of Gal Gadot’s fights as Diana were beautiful.

Oftentimes when we get a strong female character, we get one that is cold or with a “tough as nails” attitude – you know, the “I don’t give a shit” type like Jessica Jones. I did actually like Jessica Jones a lot, but you have to admit it’s kind of stereotypical. I love that Diana is brave and physically kicks ass while being kind, caring, and compassionate. She also welcomes and is grateful for any help she gets. She is someone you really want to support and get behind.

Next, I want to shift to Okja (trailer), which is only available through Netflix. Mirando is a large corporation that sends 26 of their “superpigs” to farmers around the world in a big marketing ploy, and after 10 years, they see which one is best. One of them, named Okja, goes to Mija and her grandfather in South Korea, and Mija and Okja grow up together, becoming close friends. Unfortunately, after 10 years, all of the superpigs are called back to the company, and Mija, along with an animal rights group, fight to get Okja back.

I think people who view the movie as anti-meat miss the point, especially since Mija, herself, isn’t vegetarian. I think the main focus is how Mirando values money and company image over morals and ethics and to be wary of what goes on behind the scenes in the meat industry. (Warning: there are disturbing shots of the lab and slaughterhouse for the superpigs.) Though a young girl, Mija never gives up and does whatever she can to bring Okja back to her, and I felt the film was well done with a bit of everything in it.

As an ending note, I wanted to briefly mention Moana and Star Wars, since they’re both recent too (though not this year). Moana gave us a strong female lead and a setting where female stereotypes didn’t exist. Everyone expected Moana to lead them, without trying to marry her off or point out her gender. As for Star Wars, I appreciate that the franchise that brought us an amazing character like Leia continues with strong female characters like Rey and Jyn. I am excited for the next movie at the end of the year!

Am I missing any recent movies that deserve to be on the list? Give me recommends!

12 Responses to “Movie Recommends: Girl Power”

  • Carolynne says:

    I love all your recommendations! I actually saw Wonder Woman in the theatre (OMG rare to go out these days!) and thought it was fantastic! Moana is also fantastic. Star Wars, YES! The other two, I haven’t seen but may look into them! I saw Anne Hathaway on Ellen talking about the movie and it does sound interesting. Thanks for these!

  • Kya says:

    It is good to see that movies are emerging where there are female leads and with women that don’t need to be a support act to a male star. I really hope that more of these come out and will become part of a ‘normal’ entertainment message. I think it’s important for movies like this are also available for children too. I haven’t seen Moana, but I am sure it’s a good one for that reason. :D

    Thanks for the suggestions!

  • Michelle says:

    I have seen all of them except Okja and luckily, I have Netflix! I love that women are becoming leads in movies, action mostly and that’s great! It really gives me a sense of pride that women can also do the stuff that men can or anyone for that matter. Equality is nice to think and dream about and the fact that women leads prove studios wrong makes me glee because it shows that the fanbase is strong. Thank you for all of the recommendations!

  • Nancy says:

    I’m totally digging women being the main characters in movies and shows these days. Colossal sounds like an interesting movie. It reminds me of Pacific Rim for some reason (probably because it has kaijus as well). Gal Gadot is the perfect Wonder Woman! The movie was amazing and major props to the producers who pulled it off!

    Jessica Jones is also a good show. She’s the opposite of Supergirl from what I’ve seen! Ugh, I still need to make time to watch Moana! I did watch the two recent Star Wars movies and I love both Ray and Jyn. They’re both great in their own ways and got me pumped for the upcoming Star Wars movies!

    Part of me wants to add Frozen to the list but something about the movie is making me be a bit hesitant.

  • Liv says:

    I saw Wonder Woman a few weeks ago and I really love how warm and feminine she is while being tough at the same time! It’s very true that strong women are often portrayed as tough in personality and seductive / steps all over men. Diana is the best portrayal of a strong woman I can think of right now.

    I really want to see Colossal if it dives into the topic of toxic relationships!

    I must admit before finishing Moana I was expecting her to marry the demigod – just from the way Disney has wired me to expect that from them. I thought this time they were trying to make the point that the prince doesn’t have to be a pretty boy, hahaha.

  • Pauline says:

    Ahh, Cat this is such a great list of movies, the lack of a strong female lead is definitely a topic we should always talk about. Hopefully, producers take this into account more in the future.

    The only films I’ve seen from this list is Moana and Star Wars – they were both amazing and I was really glad that each character was independent and just straight up badass.

    I have been meaning to watch Wonder Woman and Colossal – I’ll try and squeeze them in over the weekend! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Vicky says:

    Yaaas we need more leading ladies! I actually have only seen Wonder Woman and Star Wars off that list. So I’m going to have to catch up real soon :3

  • Rezina says:

    I like the diversity on your strong female leads in movies list :D I loved (!!) Wonder Woman and I’m really glad I saw it early on before all the built up hype because I’m sure I would have over-hyped it in my head, haha.

    I’ve also heard a lot of great things about Okja but haven’t had the chance to watch it yet. The director has done a lot of well known movies though, so I’ve been wanting to see his other works as well.

    And I’m with you – the Star Wars movies are awesome!

  • Tara says:

    Ooooh, thanks for sharing your recent movie thoughts. Of the ones you shared, I think Okja interests me the most. It’s not one I’ve heard of, and the concept of superpigs is new to me. Plus, I like how you mention that the film isn’t about anti-meat/vegetarianism . . . but rather about the everyday person doing the right thing by fighting the big corporations.

    I can’t share anything NEW. I am so behind the mainstream happenings. But I can definitely recommend The Whale Rider as a movie with a strong female lead. I can’t think of anything else at the moment.

  • Violette says:

    Nice movies, I needed some to watch! Thanks for sharing!

    http://violettedaily.com

  • Hiro says:

    I JUST finished Okja! I love lumpy creatures so Okja was great. It was definitely hard to watch, and I felt like the villains were way too “flat” as characters (and I disliked the lead ALF guy), but I loved Mija and Okja. I really wished Wonder Woman didn’t have such romantic overtones. I loved her bashing through stereotypes and people’s stigma, but disliked the ending because of the implications that she couldn’t unleash her REAL potential without *cough*romance*cough*. But it was still refreshing to see strong female leads. We’ve had a few STRONG FEMALE LEADS movies that did AMAZINGLY last year, and yet people STILL try to make a case of “Women don’t sell!” NAH MAN. :I

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