2017 spectacularly kicked off with the women’s march in January and thousands of people took to the streets, including a handful of movie stars.
Following Hollywood’s protest against the gender pay gap in 2016, it has become more important for actresses and actors to speak out against wider problems in our plight for equality.
Not only have they been using their off-screen voices to do this, but they have on-screen too. Film is slowly starting to recognise and mirror the importance of women’s roles in the world, and is telling their stories more and more.
2017 is the year that chick flicks turn into feminist features.
Here are a few of the inspiring and empowering films hitting the big screen this year:
Release date: 20 Jan 2017
Director: Pablo Larrain
Natalie Portman takes on the iconic role of Jackie Kennedy Onassis in this retelling of how the former first lady dealt with her husband’s assassination.
As a woman who devoted her life to her husband’s dream, the film tells the story of how she had to keep her family going without her love by her side.
Natalie has been very vocal against Hollywood’s portrayal of women, saying, “A lot of films that try for a ‘feminist’ portrayal will just make a woman be really tough. Well, that’s not feminist because it’s not allowing the woman to be a human being. No one’s just tough,” she told The Guardian‘s G2.
This ‘human’ feminist portrayal is exactly how this movie has tackled Jackie’s mourning of JFK, as she had to fight through her grief to console her family and cement the late president’s historic legacy.
Release date: 27 Jan 2017
Director: Antonio Campos
Although we still have a lot to do to smash the glass ceiling in 2017, for women in the workplace the 1970’s’ was undoubtedly a lot worse.
Christine is yet another film based on a true story, whereby a female TV reporter, Christine Chubbuck, tries to climb the professional ladder and prove her worth in a male dominated and unappreciative office.
The reporter not only had to struggle with her male counterparts, but with her mental health too as she struggled from depression.
In attempt to not give away any spoilers, all that can be said is this film highlights the severity of squashing women in the workplace, and how it can lead to tragedy.
The real life events this film retells shocked America, and will hopefully shock cinema-goers into thinking twice before perpetuating the glass ceiling.
Release date: 17 Feb 2017
Director: Theodore Melfi
This critically acclaimed film tells the true, albeit seldom-told, story of how three incredible African-American women, Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), were the brains behind a NASA operation.
Set in 1961, this film not only tackles gender inequality, but racial inequality too.
The trio, a mathematician, an aspiring engineer, and a supervisor, were discounted and discredited for their achievements at NASA due to the genitals they had and the colour of their skin. However, they were eventually pivotal in launching astronaut John Glenn into space as he became the first American to orbit Earth.
Helping their country achieve something admirable around the world when most of the citizens were doing all they could to subordinate them shows the inspiring nature of these women, and I’m sure many more.
We can learn so much from this film, but most importantly I think we should take away 1 message: dream big. Let your dreams take you to space…, (or let your intelligence allow others to go to space). No matter who you are and what the world tells you should or shouldn’t be, never give up.
Let’s hope this is only the beginning of our journey to tell the stories of the women who made history.
Beauty and the Beast
Release date: 17 March 2017
Director: Bill Condon
The excitement in the air to see the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast is palpable.
Emma Watson as Belle seems like the perfect casting, and with her on-going work for the UN as part of her #HeForShe campaign and her feminist book club, we can be sure this will be a feminist fairy tale film.
The Harry Potter starlet has recently hit the showbiz headlines publically claiming she turned down the role of Cinderella because she felt the character did not share the same values as her.
With this in mind, it’s no wonder she made Disney give Beauty and the Beast a feminist makeover, transforming Belle from just a weird village bookworm, to a weird village bookworm who is now also an inventor.
Belle has always been an important Disney princess due to her passion for reading and wanting ‘something more than this provincial life’, but with her now having a career, she’ll become the princess we all want to dress up as again – even in our twenties.
Release date: 2 Jun 2017
Director: Patty Jenkins
After years of DC and Marvel dominating our screens with male superheroes, it’s about time we got our own.
Wonder Woman is the cape-wearing saviour we’ve all been waiting for – granted, not to save our cities but to save our faith in women being the ones to come to the rescue.
The summer flick tells the tale of Amazonian princess Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) leaving her world behind to travel with American military pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pines) to end World War 1.
The trailer DC have unveiled leaves most of the plot and the content of Diana’s character to imagination, but being the first female-led superhero film in over a decade makes this a feminist feature in itself.