Winter’s Bone

Jennifer Lawrence gives a fantastic performance as Ree Dolly, a teenager who is desperately searching for her father to save her family from eviction. Winter’s Bone looks unflinchingly at poverty and drug addiction but Ree’s unwavering determination gives the film a core of hope in the face of harsh realities.

Erin Brockovich

Based on actual events, this entertaining film stars Julia Roberts in the title role as a resourceful and determined legal clerk and single mother of three kids who launches an investigation into a coverup by Pacific Gas & Electric, which knew the water it was routing to a California town was contaminated.


This terrific Pixar film initially seems as if it might replicate the evil mother trope present in so many animated classics, but instead it gives us a rich and complex relationship that humanizes both the mother and daughter, not to mention that it’s wonderfully refreshing just to see an animated film more focused on mothers and daughters than fathers and sons for a change. To top it all off, the film’s core conflict is resolved through diplomacy rather than violence.


This thrilling sci-fi film features Sandra Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone, a great character whose strength and capability is communicated more through intelligence, determination and resolve than displays of physical prowess. She’s also a rare example of a female character who is sometimes depicted wearing little, form-fitting clothing without being sexualized.

Edge of Tomorrow

Sure, Edge of Tomorrow stars Tom Cruise, but Emily Blunt steals the movie in a supporting role as Sergeant Rita Vrataski. Blunt takes what could have easily been a typical action hero and lends Vrataski a level of depth and emotional resonance that is often lacking in such characters. 

We Are the Best!

Bobo and Klara are 13-year-old friends in early 80s Stockholm whose adherence to punk makes them outsiders among their classmates. Despite having no musical background whatsoever, the two start a band, forming an unlikely partnership with a shy Christian classmate who knows how to play guitar. Though they face ignorance and sexist judgment, the indomitable spirits of Bobo and Klara and their commitment to being themselves make this comedy-drama a delight.

Iron Jawed Angels

An energetic dramatization of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association’s hard-won struggle to secure women the right to vote. While portraying the movement in a positive light, the film importantly acknowledges its flaws, confronting the fact that securing votes for women really meant securing votes for white women, as black women were marginalized and asked to march in the backs of suffragist parades.


This great Iranian film tells the story of a female soccer fan who wants to attend a 2006 World Cup qualifying match between Iran and Bahrain. Because women and girls are forbidden by law from entering soccer stadiums in Iran, she disguises herself as a boy. Despite its serious subject matter, Offside manages to be jubilant and lively film that still acknowledges the incredible injustice at its core.

Attack the Block

The audience for sci-fi, horror, and other genre films has always been a lot browner than mainstream Hollywood would care to admit — at least as far as their casting decisions would indicate. It’s about time the faces on the screen reflect the faces in the seats. Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block is set on a South London housing estate, and follows a group of young POC as they race to save themselves and their hood from alien predators.  There are really compelling class and race explorations over the course of the movie’s 90 minute run time. The main female character, however, tends to be a bit of a Smurfette. Still,  this is  the film that introduced the world to a young John Boyega. For that reason alone, it deserves your attention.   

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