These days, all the movies they make for us ladies seem to only delve as far fashion, men or female competition. I miss the days of watching movies made for me where about friendship, business careers and having it all. I like to explore the larger issues plaguing my womanhood. So I’ve compiled a list of fairly modern movies for ladies to enjoy that take into account that some of us have wider interests than magazines, husbands and makeovers. Not that I don’t have an interest in those things, but I can be deep. Like, puddle deep. Take note.
1) Sister Act
It’s all in the title – this here is a movie ladies of all ages can enjoy. If you haven’t seen it, my guess is that you’ve been under a very unfortunate rock since 1992, when it came out. Sister Act stars the inimitable Whoopi Goldberg as a Vegas showgirl who witnesses her jerk mob boyfriend killing a guy, so she has to go into hiding in a nunnery. Doloris Van Cartier, as Whoopi’s character is gloriously named, is at first resistant to the whole nun lifestyle and the nuns in general but she learns to relate to them through a common love of music. Doloris reinvigorates the down and out nunnery and neighborhood while later the nuns all come together to support Doloris in her hour of need in a zany romp through Reno.
Why this is a movie for ladies: We have Doloris escaping her bad relationship while using her own talents to do good in the local community. She opens her mind and her heart, as do all the nuns at the convent, and they are all better ladies for it. It teaches us that we should climb out of our comfort zones and maybe give people we normally wouldn’t a second look. Also, it teaches us never to date anyone in the mob, so that’s cool. It also stars the wonderful Kathy Najimy (of Hocus Pocus) and of course, Dame Maggie Smith.
2) The First Wives Club
I know this seems misleading, as I said a movie for ladies shouldn’t be about doing something just because of a man because us girls need to learn to get along for ourselves but this one’s different as these ladies all learn to stand up for themselves by the end of the film. So let’s just talk about the cast for one moment. We have Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton getting together to form what is basically my dream team of actresses. These three are former best friends whose fourth bestie, Rizzo from Grease, kills herself seemingly because her husband has betrayed her and left her for a younger woman. This death brings them together and they realize their lives have all basically been ruined by their husbands and ex-husbands. They vow to get revenge. Hilarity ensues but ultimately the ladies realize they want more than revenge and end up opening a foundation to help abused women. And they do and it’s awesome.
Why this movie is for ladies: Here we have ladies who re-evaluate their self-worth and regain their lost self-esteem. These women share their problems, hide their problems, fight and solve their problems. It’s a nice portrait of female friendship that doesn’t involve them scheming and fighting over wedding dresses or purses. Also, again we have Dame Maggie Smith on deck. She clearly knows quality when she sees it. Also there’s Sarah Jessica Parker, the dad from Seventh Heaven, Jesse from Saved by the Bell, and more. Basically a star-studded cast for the ages. Of course, there’s also an amazing song and dance number at the end. That never hurts.
Goldie Hawn at her crazy best. She plays Gwen, a broke waitress, who meets George Banks, a down-on-his-luck architect played by Steve Martin who has just been rejected by the woman he loves. He tells her how he built this woman a dream house in the town he grew up in and how now it’s just sitting there empty. They spend the night together but by morning George has rudely disappeared. Gwen hightails it out of her tiny apartment to the town and immediately starts living in the house telling everybody she’s George’s wife. George finds this out and is at first irate until he and Gwen devise a plan by which George can attempt to win back his love and Gwen can continue to live in the manner to which she has become accustomed. Zany things happen and they realize they really love each other because, as it turns out, they’re both crazy.
Why this movie is for ladies: The lady gets what she wants! Gwen is a smart and sassy con artist who manages to go from penniless waitress posing as a fake Hungarian to the respected and sophisticated woman of the house in a few easy swoops. Even though she spends most of the time lying, she makes everyone’s lives around her better. She reunites George’s feuding family and makes peace, she gets George a promotion and she gets two homeless people a brand new house and life in a lovely small town. She doesn’t settle for anything she doesn’t want. That’s a lesson we should all heed. Also, be sure to check out Goldie Hawn’s crazy high pants. They’re wonderful. Steve Martin is also just a brilliant and perfect co-star and all around man.
4) The Associate
Whoopi’s at it again. This time she’s playing a women who doesn’t get credit for her hard work and finds she has to pose as a white man in order to get what she deserves. Yes, Whoopi appears as a white male and yes, it is amazing. She can’t get anyone to pay attention to her as a serious business prospect as a woman, so she does what she has to in order to get what she wants. She employs a former secretary who turns out to be a great friend and ally in her schemes. Whoopi eventually reveals herself as a lady who has sneaked into the boys club and women everywhere rejoice.
Why this movie is for ladies: This is another movie where Whoopi forms unlikely friendships to accomplish her goals. Ladies need to band together to climb the ladder to success. While disguised as a man Whoopi also tries to teach Bebe Neuwirth to use her brains and not her body to get ahead. Whoopi uses her skills, in addition to her manly makeover, to force people see her as successful. This movie teaches you that you should always have the ammunition to back up your big guns.
5) Working Girl
The ultimate wonderful woman’s movie. Melanie Griffith plays Tess McGill, a stockbroker’s secretary who wants to become an executive. Through her unwillingness to sleep her way to the top she is fired and then hired by Sigourney Weaver, playing Katharine Parker. Katharine seems to be all Tess hopes to be, until Tess shares a good idea with her and Katharine attempts to steal it. Katharine, luckily, breaks a leg and is out of the office and it is then Tess takes her chance and contacts another executive, Jack Trainer, played by the charming Harrison Ford. She implements her ace business skills and with Jack’s help pulls together a brilliant deal. Katharine returns and all is threatened but Tess manages to stand up for herself and win the day.
Why this movie is for ladies: Tess escapes her bad relationship with Alec Baldwin and paves her own way in her quest to have it all. She even resists Jack’s romantic charms until they do what they need to do career-wise. She thwarts a female nemesis, not by sabotaging her or scheming against her but by using her own smarts and ingenuity to prove she’s simply the better businesswoman. She stays true to herself and achieves her goals. Also featured is Joan Cusack, Kevin Spacey being gross, everyone’s crazy hair-dos and Carly Simon’s inspirational Let the River Run as a theme for ambitious ladies everywhere.