Although it may not appear so, films featuring all-female casts are becoming increasingly popular in contemporary culture. By “all-female cast,” I mean films in which the primary characters are primarily women, with a few guys thrown in for good measure. Movies featuring an all-female cast were very unusual just a few years ago.
They’re now one of the most popular genres! Grab your girlfriends, browse this list, and then enjoy a girl’s night in to watch some of these oldies! Please remember that this is not an exhaustive list; instead, it is only a starting point.
1. Starfish (2018)
Based on the true tale of Rutland residents Tom and Nicola Ray. Their idyllic existence was shattered in an instant when Tom got sepsis. Nicola gave birth to their second kid on the other side of the hospital while her husband was in a coma. Sepsis would take Tom of both his limbs and legs in a matter of days, leaving his face horribly deformed.
Tom, an average man, never placed himself in danger; he just awoke two months later in a nightmare, a face-off quadruple amputee. This remarkable survival tale demonstrates what can be overcome when love is unconditional.
2. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
The year is 1760 in France. Marianne is hired to paint the wedding portrait of Hélose, a young woman who has recently left the convent. Marianne arrives under the pretext of company, watching Hélose by day and covertly painting her by firelight at night because she is a hesitant bride-to-be.
As the two ladies circle one other, their connection and attraction increase as they experience Hélose’s first moments of freedom. Hélose’s image quickly becomes a joint endeavor and a tribute to their love.
3. The Women (1939)
Wealthy Mary Haines is unaware that her husband is having an affair with Crystal Allen, a shopgirl. Sylvia Fowler and Edith Potter learn about it from a manicurist and set up a meeting for Mary to hear the rumor. On the train to Reno for her divorce, Mary encounters the Countess and Miriam (having an affair with Fowler’s husband).
During their stay at Lucy’s dude ranch, Fowler comes for her own divorce, and the Countess meets her sixth husband-to-be Buck. In New York, Mary’s ex-husband is now unhappily married to Crystal, already having an affair with Buck.
When Sylvia spills the beans at an elite nightclub, Crystal brags about her intentions for an even wealthier marriage, only to discover that the Countess is the source of all Buck’s money. Crystal has to return to the perfume counter, and Mary has to return to her husband.
4. The Duke of Burgandy (2014)
The Duke of Burgundy is an S&M love story — and if you only watch one this month, make it this one since it’s smarter and funnier. The location is a rural region in an undisclosed European nation, presumably in the 1970s, when a lady named Evelyn (Chiara D’Anna) reports cleaning the majestic, dominating Cynthia’s enormous, ivy-decked home (Sidse Babett Knudsen).
Evelyn is chastised for arriving late, but she quietly continues dusting – only to be told that her work isn’t finished and that Madame needs a foot massage. We have the impression that we are seeing a cliched dream scenario right out of 1970s cut-price Euro-erotica.
5. Run (2020)
Chloe, an adolescent who uses a wheelchair, is home-schooled by her mother. However, her mother’s odd conduct is observed, and when Chloe digs through some private files, she uncovers a Change of Name Certificate paperwork with her mother’s name, Diane Sherman, on it. When Chloe searches for “Diane Sherman,” the internet abruptly disconnects. Chloe grows skeptical of everything her mother does, thinking her of evil. She chooses to flee in her wheelchair in an attempt to get away from her.
6. Ammonite (2020)
In the 1840s, famous but underappreciated fossil digger Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) worked alone on the wild South coast of England. She now looks for ordinary fossils to sell to visitors to support herself and her ill mother since her renowned discoveries are behind her.
When a wealthy guest entrusts Mary with the care of his wife, Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan), she can’t say no. Mary, who is proud and fiercely enthusiastic about her profession, first clashes with her unwanted visitor.
Still, despite the differences in their social status and personality, a strong affinity begins to form, pushing the two women to identify the actual nature of their relationship.
7. Suspiria (2018)
Susie Bannion, a young American dancer, travels in 1970s Berlin to audition for the world-renowned Helena Markos Dance Co. When she ascends to the position of lead dancer, the lady replaces sobs and accuses the company’s female directors of witchcraft.
Meanwhile, a curious psychiatrist and a troupe member unearth dark and frightening secrets while exploring the studio’s hidden underground rooms.
8. The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972)
Petra von Kant is a well-known fashion designer who is arrogant, sarcastic, and self-satisfied. She divorced the husband she no longer loved some time ago. She had a relatively happy S and M relationship with Marlene (her secretary, maid, and co-designer).
She is cruel to her. Karin, a 23-year-old beauty who aspires to be a model, enters the picture. She falls madly in love with Karin and invites her to live with her. The remainder of the film delves into the emotions around this affair and its consequences.
Fassbinder presents his tale in a sequence of 5 or 6 lengthy scenes that employ a single camera shot and deep focus for extended periods.
9. Olivia (1951)
Olivia is set in late-nineteenth-century France and follows two competing headmistresses, Miss Julie (Edwige Feuillère) and Miss Cara (Simone Simon, widely known to American audiences for Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People).
There are factions and battlelines between the two headmistresses and the female students they prefer in this picturesque (shot by cinematography great Christian Matras) matriarchal world where men are rarely present. Enter Olivia (Marie-Claire Olivia), a new student whose youth and wide-eyed optimism have her fit right in, yet something sets her apart.
Olivia’s name, which is not English but French, and hints at a strange otherness.
10. Persona (1966)
A work of visual poetry that catapults Bergman to new heights in his career. In this picture, the female characters develop a relationship with a spiritual and emotional connection, regarded as one of the director’s most significant works.
This video has a lot of psychological depth, thanks to the contrasted visuals and dream light. Elisabeth Vogler appears to have it all: she is a successful actress, happily married, and the mother of a young kid.
However, she gets paralyzed in the middle of a presentation one night, and she spends three months in the hospital without knowing what is wrong with her.
Following this, she spends her days at a summer villa on the Baltic Sea, where the nurse, Alma, helps her heal. These two ladies develop a strong relationship in which friendship and treachery transform their lives.
11. Steel Magnolias (1989)
This is the narrative of a close-knit community of friends whose lives come together at Truvy’s Beauty Parlor in a tiny parish in modern-day Louisiana. As the film begins, we see Drum Eatenton shooting birds in his backyard trees in preparation for his daughter’s wedding celebration that afternoon. M’Lynn and Shelby (Drum’s wife and daughter) then go for Truvy’s to get their hair done for the wedding.
Annelle Depuy Desoto, Truvy’s new “glamor technician,” is presented to her customers as “just the nicest thing.” Annelle Depuy Desoto (who may or may not be married since her marriage may or may not be legal) may or may not be married because her marriage may or may not be permitted. While sitting in the seats, the sour-tempered Ouiser Boudreaux appears and amuses the audience with her jabs.
Clairee, who is recently widowed and searching for a distraction, seems to be the only one in the group who fully knows Ouiser. “If you can’t find anything positive to say about anyone, come sit by me,” she says later in the film. These “Steel Magnolias,” full of wit and sadness, make us laugh and cry as the truths of their life in small Chinquapin Parish surface.
12. Bridesmaids (2011)
Annie (Kristen Wiig) is a maid of honor whose life unravels as she leads her closest friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), and a slew of eccentric bridesmaids (Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey, and Ellie Kemper) along the path to marriage. Annie’s life is a shambles. But when she learns that her lifelong closest friend is getting married, she knows she has no choice but to act as Lillian’s maid of honor.
Annie bluffs her way through the costly and strange rituals despite being lovelorn and poor. She’ll show Lillian and her bridesmaids exactly how far you’ll go for someone you love with just one opportunity to make it right.
13. Suicide Kale (1995)
What would you do if you and your new girlfriend went to a casual, drunken lunch with your married pals and discovered what seemed to be a suicide note? Your five-year-old pals are clearly dealing with household difficulties while putting on a cheerful front in their Pinterest-inspired home in the lush, sunny suburbs.
Do you go up against your friends? Or do you spend the day over vegan skewers, Panang curry, and kale salad, attempting to figure out who wrote the message and why?
After meeting at a Kanye West and Drake concert, Jasmine (Brittani Nichols) and Penn (Lindsay Hicks) had been dating for a month. Billie (Jasika Nicole) and Jordan are their lunch hosts (Brianna Baker). Jazz and Penn sneak into the bedroom while their hosts are downstairs bickering in low tones, where they uncover a note that reads as both a break-up and a suicide note.
14. Daisies (1966)
The credits of Daisies begin with frightening scenes of gears moving and explosives bursting but quickly swerve into pure hilarity. The plot revolves around two adolescent females, both called Marie, who is obsessed with mischief. They arrange dates with wealthy older men who either hide their lust with unsettling politeness or openly fawn over them.
They respond to their approaches with meaningless talks, order massive amounts of food, and at the end of the night – the promise of sex is still alive! – get off trains bound for home with the guys still on board.
In the meantime, the two Maries do everything that society advises demure young girls not to do. They mess with their food, ruin their flat, and not-so-subtly cup up sausages and bananas as guys call and confess their love. Nicki Minaj would be proud.
15. Volver (2006)
Raimunda and her sister Sole have remained close through many disastrous relationships and tragedies, and they continue to grieve their mother, Irene. The latter perished in a mysterious home five years ago.
When Raimunda’s lustful husband Paco betrays her and her loving daughter, he magically vanishes. Raimunda’s ingenuity and character go into overdrive as she fights to keep her family together, just in time for further family tragedies and unsolved issues to force her and Sole to return home.
Multiple generations of women gather to grieve their losses, reconcile old rifts, and tap into the healing qualities of their collective fortitude in the face of age-old adversity. With allusions to MILDRED PIERCE and ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, VOLVER honors the traditions and beliefs that keep ancestors near and generations’ wisdom alive.