A Feminist Fall at the Movies

by Melissa Silverstein on October 5, 2010

in Movies

As the weather gets cold (here in the east) and we move into fall, it’s time for my fall preview of the movies opening.  (I know I am a bit behind.)

Here’s the funny thing that I am noticing.  The films openings especially at the studio level that have women leads seem to be, well, quite feminist.  Now most are not directed by women, but many of them look really great. The fun kicks off this weekend with Diane Lane in Secretariat.

With these feminist stories comes major responsibility. We have to get out and see these movies so that this won’t be a fluke but hopefully the beginning of a trend.

See you at the movies.

The feminist stories (Descriptions from imdb)
Secretariat– The life story of Penny Chenery, owner of the racehorse Secretariat, who won the Triple Crown in 1973. (Friday)
Conviction– A working mother puts herself through law school in an effort to represent her brother, who has been wrongfully convicted of murder and has exhausted his chances to appeal his conviction through public defenders. (October 15)
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest– Lisbeth is recovering in a hospital and awaiting trial for three murders when she is released. Mikael must prove her innocence. Meanwhile, Lisbeth is plotting her own revenge against the people who put her in this situation. (October 29)
Fair Game– Plame’s status as a CIA agent was revealed by White House officials allegedly out to discredit her husband after he wrote a 2003 New York Times op-ed piece saying that the Bush administration had manipulated intelligence about weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq. (November 5)
For Colored Girls – Each of the women portray one of the characters represented in the collection of twenty poems, revealing different issues that impact women in general and women of color in particular. (November 5)
Tiny Furniture – About a recent college grad who returns home while she tries to figure out what to do with her life. written, directed and starring Lena Dunham (November 12)
Made in Dagenham – A dramatization of the 1968 strike at the Ford Dagenham car plant, where female workers walked out in protest against sexual discrimination. (November 19)
Miral – A drama centered on an orphaned Palestinian girl growing up in the wake of the first Arab-Israeli war who finds herself drawn into the conflict. (December 3)
The Tempest – In Julie Taymor’s version of ‘The Tempest,’ the gender of Prospero has been switched to Prospera. Going back to the 16th or 17th century, women practicing the magical arts of alchemy were often convicted of witchcraft. In Taymor’s version, Prospera is usurped by her brother and sent off with her four-year daughter on a ship. She ends up on an island; it’s a tabula rasa: no society, so the mother figure becomes a father figure to Miranda. This leads to the power struggle and balance between Caliban and Prospera; a struggle not about brawn, but about intellect. Directed by Julie Taymor (December 10)
You Won’t Miss Me – A kaleidoscopic film portrait of Shelly Brown, a twenty-three year-old alienated urban misfit recently released from a psychiatric hospital. Co-written and directed by Ry-Russo Young (December 10)

Not so sure they are feminist but they are about women
Tamara Drewe – A young newspaper writer returns to her hometown in the English countryside, where her childhood home is being prepped for sale. (Friday)
Morning Glory – A hotshot television producer is set the challenge of reviving a struggling morning show program, despite the constant feuding of its high-profile anchors. (November 12)
Nothing Personal – Alone in her empty flat, from her window Anne observes the people passing by who nervously snatch up the personal belongings and pieces of furniture she has put out on the pavement. Her final gesture of taking a ring off her finger signals she is leaving her previous life in Holland behind. She goes to Ireland, where she chooses to lead a solitary, wandering existence, striding through the austere landscapes of Connemara. During her travels, she discovers a house that is home to a hermit, Martin. Written and Directed by Urzula Antoniak (November 12)
Burlesque – A small-town girl ventures to Los Angeles and finds her place in a neo-burlesque club run by a former dancer. (November 24)
Tangled – The long-haired Princess Rapunzel has spent her entire life in a tower, but when she falls in love with a bandit who was passing by she must venture into the outside world for the first time to find him. (November 24) – animated
Black Swan – A thriller that zeros in on the relationship between a veteran ballet dancer and a rival. (December 1)
Country Strong – A drama centered on a rising country-music songwriter (Hedlund) who sparks with a fallen star (Paltrow). Together, they mount his ascent and her comeback, which leads to romantic complications involving her husband/manager (McGraw) and a beauty queen-turned-singer (Meester). Written and directed by Shana Feste (December 22)

Don’t forget to consult the section Women’s Work for film opening dates for women directed movies and women written movies.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

katie October 5, 2010 at 10:27 AM

I’m not sure about feminist films, the only one I might classify as that would be Made in Dagenham and maybe Conviction, but it sounds like an interesting and hopefully character driven variety of films. Although not sure about Morning Glory or Burlesque. I’ve seen the previews for both and neither on the surface appeal to me. But who knows in the end I guess.

Thomai October 6, 2010 at 12:53 AM

“Not so sure they are feminist but they are about women”

Not every female has to be kick ass, out saving the world or etc. for me to enjoy it as a feminist.
Just give me female characters that are well developed- they can and should be sane and insane, secure and insecure and frankly, as varied as developed male characters are.
That is feminism in film for me.

katie October 6, 2010 at 10:46 PM

Well personally I just think the feminist word gets thrown out a lot in general(not picking on this site) and to me(perhaps because of my generation) it represents something different than a lot of what I read. But that’s me.

A good film with well developed characters(male or female) is what I enjoy and there are a lot of male focused films that have flimsy character development. I guess if representing women like they really are, which are complex multilayered individuals, is feminism, I guess these films can all potentially be classified that way.

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