In an industry continuously dominated by men, the rise of films starring powerful female leads has begun to make its mark. These movies span genres and stories, fact and fiction, big-screen and small-screen. They are full of maxims that, had they been headed by men, just couldn't establish as effectively. These women's stories are tales of power, strength, compassion, and strategy, and the six I have selected exemplify exactly that.
1. "Wonder Woman"
A smashing hit in box offices around the world, Patty Jenkins' "Wonder Woman" revolutionized the superhero movie industry. The film follows Diana Prince, the princess of Themyscira, as she leaves her immortal paradise to find and defeat Ares, the god of war, who she believes to be the cause of the ongoing World War in the realm of men. Alongside Captain Steve Trevor and his team of specialists, Diana discovers that saving the world and saving humanity are two very different concepts and that without compassion, neither can be possible. "Wonder Woman" is inspiring from start to finish, with its depictions of strength, empowerment, and compassion completely changing the narrative of modern superhero films.
2. "Ocean's 8"
Starring Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett, and Rihanna, "Ocean's 8" is the latest reincarnation of the "Ocean's 11" movies, only this time, the heist is led entirely by women. Sandra Bullock heads her team of criminals as Debbie Ocean, the sister of George Clooney's Danny Ocean. Having just been released from prison, Ocean gathers specialists new and old to carry out her latest job: stealing the famed Toussaint necklace during the Met Gala. With a star-studded cast and a thrilling story, "Ocean's 8" demonstrates the immense things women are capable of, on both sides of the law.
3. "Miss Sloane"
Set in the fast-paced political scene of Washington D.C., "Miss Sloane" follows the story of Elizabeth Sloane, the most influential lobbyist in the capital, as she accepts a controversial client. Navigating the intricacies of government and lobbying, Sloane and her team attempt to pass a bill in favor of gun control. The film, starring Jessica Chastain, is intriguing and leaves all viewers on the edge of their seats as they watch how this brilliant woman's mind works. Especially given the current political climate, "Miss Sloane" demonstrates how much power women truly possess on all levels of life, from personal affairs to national news.
4. "Crazy Rich Asians"
One of 2018's most beloved films, "Crazy Rich Asians" has become a cultural phenomenon while simultaneously helping revitalize the genre of romantic comedy. "Crazy Rich Asians" follows the story of Rachel Chu, a professor of economics at NYU, as she accompanies her boyfriend to his home in Singapore to attend the wedding of his best friend. Once there, Rachel quickly discovers her boyfriend's wealth and is immersed in their "crazy rich" life while also having to impress his disapproving mother. "Crazy Rich Asians" is a beautiful work of art bolstered by its outstanding cast, especially its leading lady, played by Constance Wu. Looking at life through Rachel's eyes enforces the idea that you don't need to change yourself to impress anyone and that your own intelligence can be more influential than any sum of money.
5. "To All The Boys I've Loved Before"
Alongside "Crazy Rich Asians" is the absolute joy of a film that is Netflix's "To All The Boys I've Loved Before." Based on the novel of the same name by Jenny Han, "To All The Boys" follows high-school junior, Lara Jean Song Covey, as her secret love letters are sent to their recipients, aka her various crushes from over the years. In order to save face, Lara Jean teams up with one of the letters recipients, popular Peter Kavinsky. However, as they establish their fake relationship, Lara Jean and Peter soon wonder if the feelings are all that fake to begin with. "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" is a beautiful film that establishes the strength of familial and platonic relationships while also being a romantic comedy. Lara Jean is a typical teenage girl, and she is not ridiculed for it as so many other teen film protagonists are. Rather, her feelings turn her into a much more relatable heroine, and for that, she has power of her own.
6. "On the Basis of Sex"
Last but definitely not least on my list is "On the Basis of Sex," the film centered on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on her revolutionary case. The film follows a young Ginsburg as she argues that discrimination on the basis of sex is legal after taking a man's case. This ground-breaking case changed the work force, labor laws, and the nation with its development, all courtesy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Inspirational and powerful, the film, starring Felicity Jones, will be released in theaters everywhere on January 11th.
Who is your favorite leading lady?