A production still from Rocks

Best feminist films: 21 movies perfect for streaming on International Women’s Day

Posted by for Film

From Rocks to Girlhood, these feminist films (all of which are available for streaming) are guaranteed to light a fire in your belly this International Women’s Day

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge.

“We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality,” explain organisers via the IWD website.

“We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.”

With so many of us unable to celebrate the day as we normally would due to the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown, though, it seems an appropriate time to choose to watch some of those amazing movies made for (and by) amazing women.

To that end, then, here’s just a few of the brilliant feminist films streaming now, all of which aim to tackle a variety of important issues. But please note: this is in no way the definitive list; it’s just a jumping-off point.

Rocks 

Rocks is filled to the brim with teenage girl power. And, despite taking a very realistic approach to the perils faced by young women today, this critically acclaimed coming-of-age movie is guaranteed to leave you feeling uplifted and hopeful for a brighter future, too. 

Rocks is streaming on Netflix.

On The Basis Of Sex

On The Basis Of Sex tells the true story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her struggles for equal rights, and the early cases of a historic career that lead to her nomination and confirmation as US Supreme Court Associate Justice.

On The Basis Of Sex is streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Moxie

A still from Moxie
Netflix's Moxie is an empowering coming-of-age story.

Based on the Jennifer Mathieu book of the same name, Moxie tells the story of girl from a small town who, inspired by her mother’s Riot Grrrl past, starts a feminist revolution at her high school. 

Moxie is streaming on Netflix.

Set It Off 

Set It Off follows four Black women in LA, all of whom are struggling to find a way to live freely under the boot of capitalism… so they take it upon themselves to start robbing banks. It’s not just a slick and star-studded heist movie, though: Set It Off also forces us to confront the many injustices visited upon Black women, too.

Set It Off is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video. 

Wadjda

The first Saudi Arabian-produced film ever to be directed by a woman, Haifaa Al-Mansour, Wadjda tells the story of a rebellious Saudi girl, who enters a school competition solely so that she can win enough money to buy her own bicycle.

Wadjda is streaming on Netflix. 

Misbehaviour

The warm and funny Misbehaviour takes us back in time to 1970, when the Women’s Liberation movement decided to stage a protest at the Miss World competition. It doesn’t side with one particular type of woman or branch of feminism, though, presenting the Miss World contestants as smart, capable women with their own political agendas. And, in the process, it allows for well over 50 shades of grey.

Misbehaviour is streaming on NOW TV.

The Watermelon Woman 

In this rollicking, sexy, and utterly engaging film (which boasts that elusive 100% ‘fresh’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes), an aspiring Black lesbian filmmaker researches an obscure 1940s Black actress billed as the Watermelon Woman.

The Watermelon Woman is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

The Witch 

Horror fans will definitely want to watch (or rewatch) The Witch, which serves as a terrifying feminist folktale about a young woman rejecting society and its restrictions on her movement.

The Witch is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.

Mustang

Nominated for a Best Foreign Language Oscar in 2016 and the winner of four César awards in France, Mustang is “incredible and super feminist,” promises Stylist’s Moya Crockett. Directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven, it uses its story of five orphaned sisters to sensitively explore the subservient role that women have been assigned in some religion-dominated cultures.

Mustang is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video. 

Suffragette

Suffragette tells the compelling story of the passionate and violent fight for the female vote in late 19th and early 20th century Britain.

Suffragette is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night 

Every bit as creepy as it is cool, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night sees a skateboarding vampire prey on the residents of a worn-down Iranian city. Or, more specifically, its male residents who disrespect women.

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.

Erin Brockovich 

This addictive melodrama tells the true story of Erin Brockovich, who brought a small town to its feet and a huge company to its knees.

Erin Brockovich is available to stream on Netflix. 

The Color Purple 

Featuring an award-winning performance from Whoopi Goldberg, The Color Purple brings Alice Walker’s powerhouse novel – all about a Black woman’s struggle to find her identity after suffering four decades of abuse – to life on screen.

The Color Purple is streaming on NOW TV.

Obvious Child 

Jenny Slate’s Obvious Child is a romcom with a difference, spinning a boldly hilarious (and deeply empathetic) story about a woman who gets an abortion and lives happily ever.

Obvious Child is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.

Persepolis 

As warm and witty as it is heartbreaking, Persepolis is the critically acclaimed adaptation of Marjane Satrapi’s graphic memoir. Go in expecting to have your eyes opened wide as it details what it was really like to be a young girl in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.

Persepolis is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.

9 To 5 

Sick of being overlooked because of their gender, 9 To 5 sees three female secretaries get revenge on their tyrannical and sexist boss. How? Why, by abducting him and running the business themselves, of course!

9 To 5 is available to stream on Disney+.

She’s Gotta Have It 

In Spike Lee’s breakout film, Brooklyn-based artist Nola Darling struggles to maintain control of her life as she divides her time between her friends, her job, and her three lovers.

She’s Gotta Have It is available to stream on Netflix.

Support The Girls

Named by former President Barack Obama as one of his favourite films of 2018, Support The Girls follows Lisa, the general manager at Double Whammies, a highway-side ‘sports bar with curves’, who has her normally unstoppable optimism and faith – in her girls, her customers, and herself – tested over the course of a long, strange day.

Support The Girls is available to stream on Netflix.

Hidden Figures 

Based on a true story, Hidden Figures follows NASA mathematicians Katherine Goble Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson as they overcome sexism in the workplace to play a pivotal role in astronaut John Glenn’s launch into orbit.

Hidden Figures is available to stream on NOW TV.

Girlhood

In Céline Sciamma’s vibrant coming-of-age film, Girlhood, fiercely smart and independent teenager Marieme joins an all-girl gang in the projects of Paris… with unexpected consequences.

Girlhood is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

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Images: Netflix/Sarah Gavron

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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