Feminist Films: DVD/Blu-ray Display | Mechanics' Institute

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Feminist Films: DVD/Blu-ray Display

The month of March, or Women's History Month, may be in the rearview mirror but there’s always a time and reason to celebrate the contributions of women. In the last few years, there has been an explosion of women biopics, movies with a top-shelf, mostly-female cast, and films directed by women. Some of these like Lady Bird, Hidden Figures, and The Favourite have earned Oscar recognition.

Come check out our extensive display of feminist films on the 2nd floor and read out about our staff’s favorites. But first, a fun exercise:

Are you wondering how to measure the representation of women in film? Try the Bechdel test! If at least two named women have a conversation with one another about something other than a man, the film has passed the Bechdel test. To see what movies pass or fail this simple test, visit BechdelTest.com.

Taryn recommends:

Little Women - Louisa May Alcott was an incredible feminist -- supporting her family while writing stories that blazed new frontiers for women. This adaptation of the novel is classic itself. Check out the new book about Alcott, Louisa  on the Front Lines.

Queen of Katwe - Follow this Uganda girl’s path to chess glory and then sign up your daughter for a chess class! Based on the true story by Tim Crothers.

True Grit - 14 year old Mattie Ross wants vengeance for her father's murder and she gets what she wants using craft and courage. This version sticks more closely to the novel's plot than the version from 1969 starring John Wayne. The novel itself is a page turner with Mattie Ross fascinating as a girl who can tackle any problem she faces.

The Stepford Wives - Horror, comedy, and satire -- few works of fiction fall into all three.This is a story that "satirizes its oppressors and their desires, not their victims, within a context that satirizes its very status as a thriller." from Peter Straub's introduction to Ira Levin's novel by the same name (The Stepford Wives).

Steven says:

"Strange as this sounds, I suggest The Terminator and also the TV series. Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor goes from a typical valley girl waitress to a survivalist. She does not, in the end, depend on a man to rescue her. She rescues herself."

"Another one from out in left field that I like to suggest is Ever After with Drew Barrymore. This reverse engineering of the Cinderella fairy tale gives us a more-or-less ‘realistic’ version of what led to the myth. Her version of Cinderella proves far more self-reliant than you would expect, especially in a scene near the end when Prince Charming comes to her rescue after she has everything sorted out already. I love the look on Barrymore’s face when he finally shows up."

Steven also recommends Thelma & Louise, the Devil Wears Prada, the Golden Compass, and the Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

Deb says:

"One of my favorite more current films is Wonder Woman. She demonstrates amazing courage, thinks of others before her self, and knows when/how to use her super powers for the greater good. She has some good conversations with her mother Queen Hippolyta."

Myles recommends:

First Wives Club - A refreshing 90s comedy about what to do after love and marriage. The members of the First Wives Club - played by Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, and Diane Keaton-  discuss their memories together, equity, alcoholism, mothering, and how to assert independence. One of my favorite moments is a campy cameo by Ivana Trump where she says "don't get mad, get everything!"

Wendy & Lucy - Wendy is a drifter without a safety net traveling with her dog Lucy to pursue work in the Pacific Northwest. This heartbreaking work shows how easy it is for ordinary people -- when faced with a series of unfortunate events -- to slip into homelessness. Wendy & Lucy is a courageous work from writer/director Kelly Reichardt.

Posted on Apr. 29, 2019 by Myles Cooper