Whether we realise it or not, we have a lot to learn from films. The characters women portray aren’t always one-dimensional stereotypes of the “fairer” sex. In no particular order, here are five films I believe every girl should watch and the reasons why.
What is it about: Hannah and Marina are best friends by default. They experience the highs and lows of a stifling friendship and the problems of that one self-destructive friend who is just a little too dependent on the other. Me Without You tells the story of two girls who are too afraid to cut off a relationship when it turns toxic.
Why you should watch it: Most people will experience this type of co-dependent relationship. If they are hurting you, or leaning too much without giving anything in return, then it’s not a friendship you need. It teaches you that you don’t need to keep someone around because you’ve known them forever, you can let go of something that doesn’t make you happy.
What is it about: Fanny Brice isn’t traditionally beautiful or sophisticated but she is talented and hilarious with ambitions of being a Ziegfeld Girl. She gets it all, and the man she adores, without compromising who she is. FYI, this is a 3 hour-long musical.
Why you should watch it: Fanny doesn’t take shit from anybody. It’s her way or no way, and she gets what she wants without hurting anyone else. When things don’t work out, she takes it in her stride and pushes forwards. She isn’t afraid to be who she is. This is a life lesson I took from Funny Girl, when I first watched it at 14, and its something I believe all women need to hear and learn for themselves.
What is it about: Home-schooled jungle freak Cady is plunged into high school, befriending outcast Janis who convinces her to pretend to fall in with Regina, Queen of the Plastics, in order to out her secrets and ruin her life. Only, at some point Cady forgets she’s pretending to be a mean girl.
Why you should watch it: “you all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it ok for guys to call you sluts and whores” – Ms Norbury. Females in this world have enough problems without turning on each other. We should be lifting each other up!
What is it about: Cameron is in love with Bianca, who is in love with Joey. In order to win her over, Cameron persuades Joey to pay bad boy Patrick to take out Bianca’s sister, Kat, who is known as a frigid bitch. A re-imagining of The Taming of the Shrew.
Why you should watch it: Kat teaches you to stand up for yourself and take no crap but also that it’s also okay to be vulnerable and to let people in. Bianca realises that looks aren’t everything and heart counts for a lot – plus a myriad of other things from the huge main cast. This is one of my favourite films of my youth.
What is it about: Precious is an illiterate 16-year-old with a kid by her father and another one on the way. Her mother is a cruel, vindictive woman who abuses her. When Precious is sent to a school for wayward kids to get their GED, she meets teacher Blue Rain who brings out the best in her and gives her hope for the future.
Why you should watch it: This film is hard to watch but its worth it. Precious lets us know that no matter our start, or what we face in life, we can and will find a way above it if we want to. If we let ourselves, we can be happy. There is always hope.