Celebrating the contributions of women to cinemas, The Week brings to you a whole new set of women-centric movies to add to your must-watch list. From a journey of a poor waitress trying to make a difference through a boxing career, to a story of a computer hacker who becomes a part of an important investigation, these critically acclaimed movies will have you glued to the screen and appreciate the true beauty of influential movies
Million Dollar Baby
This is a 2004 sports drama film directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Eastwood, Hilary Swank, and Morgan Freeman. It’s the story of an underappreciated boxing trainer, his elusive past, and his quest for atonement by helping an underdog amateur boxer achieve her dream of becoming a professional.
Frankie Dunn has trained and managed some incredible fighters during a lifetime spent in the ring. In the wake of a painful estrangement from his daughter, Frankie has been unwilling to let himself get close to anyone for a very long time. Then Maggie Fitzgerald walks into his gym. Fitzgerald, a poor thirty-one-year-old waitress from the very lower classes and with a dysfunctional loser family, decides to make a difference through boxing. She convinces the experienced hardened boxing trainer Frankie Dunn to coach her and be her manager, with the support of his old partner Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris, who sees her potential as a boxer. Frankie has a problematical relationship with his daughter, and practically adopts Maggie along her career.
This is a 2001 romantic comedy film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. The film is a whimsical depiction of contemporary Parisian life, set in Montmartre. It tells the story of a shy waitress, played by Audrey Tautou, who decides to change the lives of those around her for the better, while struggling with her own isolation.
Amélie’s childhood was suppressed by her father’s mistaken concerns of a heart defect. With these concerns, Amélie gets hardly any real life contact with other people. This leads Amélie to resort to her own fantastical world and dreams of love and beauty. She later on becomes a young woman and moves to the central part of Paris as a waitress. After finding a lost treasure belonging to the former occupant of her apartment, she decides to return it to him. After seeing his reaction and his newfound perspective, she decides to devote her life to the people around her. But after consuming herself with these escapades, she finds out that she’s disregarding her own life and damaging her quest for love.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a 2011 American mystery thriller film. Based on the Swedish novel of the same name by Stieg Larsson, the film adaptation was directed by David Fincher and written by Steven Zaillian. The film stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara and tells the story of journalist Mikael Blomkvist’s (Craig) investigation to find out what happened to a woman from a wealthy family who disappeared 40 years before. He works with the help of computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Mara).
In Stockholm, Sweden, journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), co-owner of Millennium magazine, has just lost a libel case brought against him by corrupt businessman Hans-Erik Wennerström (Ulf Friberg). Meanwhile, Salander (Rooney Mara), a brilliant but damaged researcher and hacker, compiles an extensive background check on Blomkvist for business magnate Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) who has a special task for him. As they work together in the investigation, Blomkvist and Salander uncover immense corruption beyond anything they have ever imagined.
Monster is a 2003 crime drama film about serial killer Aileen Wuornos, a former prostitute who was executed in Florida in 2002 for killing six men in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Wuornos was played by Charlize Theron, and her fictionalized lover, Selby Wall (based on Wuornos’ real-life companion Tyria Moore), was played by Christina Ricci.
Wuornos had a difficult and cruel childhood plagued by abuse and drug use in Michigan. She became a prostitute by the age of thirteen, the same year she became pregnant. She eventually moved to Florida where she began earning a living as a highway prostitute servicing the desires of semi-truck drivers. The tale focuses on the nine-month period between 1989 and 1990, during which Wuornos had a lesbian relationship with a woman named Selby. And during that very same time, she also began murdering her clientele in order to get money without using sex. This turned the tables on a rather common phenomena of female highway prostitutes being the victims of serial killers. Instead, Wuornos herself carried out the deeds of a cold-blooded killer.
This is a 1982 American drama film that tells the story of a Polish immigrant, Sophie, and her tempestuous lover who shares a boardinghouse with a young writer in Brooklyn. The film stars Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, and Peter MacNicol and has been directed by Alan J. Pakula.
In 1947, the movie’s narrator, Stingo (Peter MacNicol), relocates to Brooklyn in order to write a novel, and is befriended by Sophie Zawistowski (Streep), a Polish immigrant, and her lover, Nathan Landau (Kline). One evening, Stingo learns from Sophie that she was married but her husband and her father were killed in a German work camp and that she was interned in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Nathan is constantly jealous, and when he’s in one of his violent mood swings, he convinces himself that Sophie is unfaithful to him and abuses and harasses her.
They befriend Stingo but the happiness of Sophie and Nathan is endangered by her ghosts and his obsessions.