Some of my favorite films are stories about women, real and fictional, who have struggled and endured and made a change in their world, despite whatever hand was dealt them: whether one of privilege or one of strife.
In the United States, we are celebrating Women’s History Month until the end of March. So that means we’ve got just a few more days left. In case you missed it, here are 13 dramas to help you celebrate!
Hidden Figures — HBO
Here’s a shout out to all my STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) ladies! When it comes to the space race, most of the stories told are about men. Hidden Figures, based on the book by the same name, reveals the true stories of three brilliant women whose scientific contributions helped fly us to the moon and beyond.
The Iron Lady — Rent or buy from $1.99 and up.
This biopic tells the story of one of the great political figures of our time, Britain’s Margaret Thatcher, and rightfully won Meryl Streep yet another Oscar for best actress.
Temple Grandin — HBO/Amazon Prime
This true story of a young autistic farm-girl-turned-professor can be hard to watch at times because of everything she had to go through. But seeing her triumph over her adversity is truly inspiring.
Suffragette — Rent or buy from $2.99 and up
The story of the battle for women’s right to vote in the United States has been told in many ways, including in 2004’s Iron Jawed Angels. Suffragette, on the other hand, follows the struggles of women in the United Kingdom in 1912 who are willing to do anything to ensure that a woman’s voice is heard.
Joy — Cinemax
I’ll admit, I’ve never watched much Shark Tank, so I had no idea when watching Joy that I was watching a true story. This movie just goes to show that one woman with a smart idea, hard work, and a lot of gumption can break through barriers, no matter how improbable it might seem.
Jackie — HBO
Natalie Portman is stunning in her portrayal of former first lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis.
Norma Rae — Starz
You may not know this, but the story in Norma Rae was actually based on a real life event. A textile worker by the name of Crystal Lee Sutton who lived in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina was fired after she stood on her worktable holding a sign with the word “union” written on it. Despite her ouster, much like the fictional Norma Rae, Sutton was able to effect change in her community.
A League of their Own — Starz/Hulu/DirecTV Now
During World War II, Philip K. Wrigley (and owner of the Chicago Cubs) started an all-female baseball league due to a lack of male players. A League of their Own follows a group of (fictional) women who played on the league, and brings us some of the more memorable moments in cinematic history.
Confirmation — HBO
The story of Anita Hill is one that needed to be told — and is never more relevant than it is in today’s #metoo movement. Kerry Washington is mesmerizing in her portrayal of Ms. Hill.
Daughters of the Dust — Netflix
Following three generations of Gullah women, Daughters of the Dust is an exquisite exploration of a culture and the women in it, that we don’t often get a glimpse at.
The story of a real life single mother who helped expose injustice and helped a community fight for restitution when their ground water was contaminated is always satisfying to watch. Julia Roberts is at her best here.
The Color Purple — Rent or buy from $2.99 and up.
Whoopi Goldberg plays Celie in this epic southern tale of a black woman who survives horrible abuse and adversity. The Color Purple is based on the pulitzer prize-winning book of the same name written by Alice Walker.
Call the Midwife — Netflix
Giving birth is a very real part of women’s history. Birth, in fact, is a major part of all of our history. Each and every one of us had a mother who struggled and spit and cried out in order to bring us into the world. In part, that’s what Call the Midwife is about. But more than that? Women helping women. That’s what it’s really about.