10 Inspiring Women in Movies

May 23, 2011 4:20 AM

Today is Victoria Day, so seeing as many of you have the day off, we’d like to offer some recommended watching to get you pumped for the work week and summer ahead. These movies (listed in no particular order) feature women both real and fictional who took the task they were given and kicked its butt, made impossible dreams come true and never let anyone or anything keep them down. Happy watching.

1. The Young Victoria

Emily Blunt stars as the young Queen Victoria as she takes over the British throne at age 18 in 1837 from her uncle, William IV, and must learn to carve out her own ways in matters of state, family and romance. Not an easy feat when those around her try hard to control her for their own ends and every move she makes makes impacts the nation.

Memorable lines

Queen Adelaide (to Victoria): You are confusing stubbornness with strength, my dear. And I warn you, the people will not like you for it.

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2. Julie & Julia

Meryl Streep and Amy Adams star as Julia Child, chef, author and TV personality who first introduced gastronomy to the American household in the 1960s with her best-selling cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and Julie Powell, the woman who made blogger history as she rose to fame cooking through – and writing about – the entire book in The Julie/Julia Project blog. The movie tells the story of how both women found their way to their life’s passion by doing what they loved and sticking to it no matter what.

Memorable lines

Paul Child: What is it you really like to do?
Julia Child: Eat!

Paul Child: I’m not kidding you; I’m not. Someone is going to publish your book. Someone is going to read your book, and realize what you’ve done. Because your book is amazing. Your book is a work of genius. Your book is going to change the world.

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3. Funny Girl (1968)

Barbara Streisand stars in this musical as Fanny Brice, a Plain Jane from the Jewish Slums of the Lower East Side who rises to fame in the first half of the 20th century as a star in the Ziegfield Follies. What gets her there isn’t just big talent but big balls as she takes chances, challenges convention and refuses to ever take no for an answer.

Memorable lines

Fanny Brice: You think beautiful girls are going to stay in style forever? I should say not! Any minute now they’re going to be out! Finished! Then it’ll be my turn!

Fanny Brice (singing): Nobody is gonna rain on my parade!

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4. G.I. Jane (1997)

When Demi Moore’s character, Jordan O’Neill, is sent into Navy Seal Special Warfare training in the hopes that she’ll fail, not only does she have to survive “hell week” (which has a 70% dropout rate in men), complete unimaginable physical challenges, become the object of severe sexual discrimination, do, like, one million chinups and shave all her hair off, she also needs to defeat a particularly cruel Master Chief played by Viggo Mortensen. Every time you feel like you can’t drag your ass to a spinning class, think of this movie.

Memorable lines

Lt. Jordan O’Neill: Suck my dick!

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5. Coco Avant Chanel (2009)

Audrey Tatou stars as a young Coco Chanel trying to make it in a world where she is certainly not the height of fashion. Quite the opposite, actually. But instead of trying to make herself into one of the society women whose financial and social status she envies, she stubbornly sticks to her own ways. Eventually, her ambition, resourcefulness and handiness with a needle and thread force everyone else to follow her lead.

Memorable lines

Gabrielle Bonhuer (to Coco): Un jour, ils se battront pour dîner à notre table. (One day they’ll fight eachother to dine at our table)

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6. The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

It’s notoriously thought to be the roman à clef of Laura Weisberger (author of the book from which the movie is adapted), who really did work for American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, upon whom Meryl Streep’s she-devil Miranda Priestly character is based. Laura, of course, would be the supersmart but dowdy “serious journalist” wannabe, Andrea Sachs, played by Anne Hathaway. The movie is a lesson in what a makeover can do for your self confidence and public perception in the workplace, the power of bangs, and the importance of not turning your nose down at any task or anyone as you climb the ladder in your field. It’s the working girl’s Karate Kid… with much better outfits.

Memorable lines

Miranda Priestly: And this layout for the Winter Wonderland spread. Not wonderful yet.

Emily: One time an assistant left the desk, because she, I don’t know, sliced her hand open with a letter opener. Miranda missed Lagerfeld just before he boarded a seventeen hour flight to Australia. She now works at TV Guide.
Andy: Man the desk at all times. Got it.

Nigel: Andy, be serious. You are not trying. You are whining. What is it that you want me to say to you, huh? Do you want me to say, “Poor you. Miranda’s picking on you. Poor you. Poor Andy”? Hmm? Wake up, six. She’s just doing her job. Don’t you know that you are working at the place that published some of the greatest artists of the century?

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7. Elizabeth (1998)

When the sister that had her imprisoned dies in 1558, she takes her place as Queen of England at the age of 25. The Catholics hate her, her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, wants her throne and plots to have her killed, she’s got a war against Spain on her hands, everyone is pressuring her to get married for their own political reasons and the man she loves betrays her. To secure her throne she needs to show everyone who’s boss and fast. Cate Blanchett is awe-inspiring as Elizabeth I and the movie ends with her launching the most brilliant and unexpected branding strategy you’ve ever seen.

Memorable quotes

Lord Robert: For God’s sake, you are still my Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: I am not your Elizabeth. I am no man’s Elizabeth. And if you think to rule, you are mistaken.
Elizabeth [to all]: I will have one mistress here… and no master.

Elizabeth: Observe, Lord Burghley, I am married… to England.

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Elizabeth Trailer Youtube player


8. Miss Potter

Before J.K. Rowling made millions with a boy name Harry, Beatrix Potter, played by Renée Zellweger, introduced the world to an anthropomorphic rabbit named Peter. Turns out having no friends as a kid, except for the ones you make up, can turn you into one of the most beloved children’s authors and illustrators of all time. And the best way to escape the control of overbearing parents? Make tons of money doing what you love and live on your own huge estate. Note the lessons in opportunities both seized and missed in this one.

Memorable lines

Beatrix Potter: Stories don’t always end where their authors intended. But there is joy in following them, wherever they take us.

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9. Flashdance (1983)

Sometimes when strippers say they’re dancers, they really are. Like Jennifer Beals’ Alex Owens – a welder by day, exotic dancer by night – in this dance movie classic that features an 80’s soundtrack that could still hold its own on your workout playlist. When she soars through the air during her Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance and Repertory audition, it reminds you that if you can just get over yourself, you can do pretty much anything. What. A. Feeling.

Memorable lines

Nick: When you give up your dream, you die.

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10. Erin Brockovich (2000)

Yes, she’ll show you what it takes to shake down a corrupt multi-billion dollar power company, put the bitches at the office in their place and teach a man how to treat you. But most of all Erin Brockovich, played by Julia Roberts (who took the Academy Award for the role), shows you what a mom can do when she’s motivated by the need to provide for her kids. In this true story, her determination to support her family puts her on an unexpected path as a legal assistant that eventually develops into her pivotal role in one of the biggest class action lawsuits in American history. It’s the stuff good movies – like this one – are made of.

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2 Responses to 10 Inspiring Women in Movies

  1. Blither Stuff on May 31, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    That is a super-peachy-keen post. Thanks for really blathering on like that! Seriously, I don’t think I could have spent more effort wishing for something heavy to fall on me to erase that nonsense from my mind!

  2. Giveaway Systems on July 11, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    Totally off subject, have you ever considered about how long you spend viewing and taking part in Blog and Forum interaction – for me it’s quite shocking!