Movie posters for the films On the Basis of Sex, Woman in Gold, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and Molly's Game.

Inspiration on Film: Movies with Strong Female Leads

Inspiration on Film: Movies with Strong Female Leads

Watching a movie can transport you to another place and time, tell a story, teach you a lesson, or inspire you to become a better version of yourself. There is a wide variety of movies ranging from rom-coms to historical pieces centered around a strong female lead that will empower you in many ways. If you are looking for a few ideas of where to find empowerment through film, look no further than this list of four movies featuring strong and ambitious female leads that have resonated with me and my identity as a woman: On the Basis of Sex, Woman in Gold, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and Molly’s Game 

On the Basis of Sex 

On the Basis of Sex is a movie about the life of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The movie has inevitably garnered a lot of attention in recent years following Ginsburg's passing. It portrays RBG at the beginning of her law career after attending law school and fighting cases all the way to the Supreme Court that lead her to a Supreme Court nomination. The movie is undoubtedly inspiring in the ways that it shows RBG breaking the glass ceiling in a heavily male dominated field at the time she was coming up as a lawyer. This movie is also empowering in that the audience witnesses the hard work and dedication of one of the greatest lawyers of our time to get to the Supreme Court. It does not embellish the process or make it look easy, it paints a real picture of the struggle it took to become successful as a woman in law. 

Woman in Gold 

Maria Altmann is a Jewish refugee from World War II who settled in Los Angeles. She discovers a series of letters written to her by her sister, one of which explains that the famous Gustav Klimt painting, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, was stolen from her family and rightfully belongs to them. She teams up with a young and inexperienced lawyer to fight the Austrian government and get the painting back in her possession. This movie is empowering in many ways, especially in that it depicts Maria Altmann’s struggles during World War II, her resilience to having to leave her life behind and move across the world, and also her enduring determination to get back a family heirloom. Though Maria is elderly, the movie does not depict her as feeble and relying on her male lawyer, but instead as a trail blazer confronting her painful past to take back what is rightfully hers. What's more, the movie is based on a true story and her court case went to the supreme court in the case Republic of Austria v. Altmann (2004). 

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 

On a more lighthearted note, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is a depiction of the power in friendship and the importance of having a strong group of women behind you. During a summer vacation, four friends who have spent their entire lives together are now experiencing being separated for the first time. They magically find a pair of pants that fits them all and they decide to send the pants to each other on a rotating basis to keep in touch. Upon watching the movie, one cannot help but desire a group of friends as close knit and supportive as the women in the movie. They all encounter struggles throughout the summer vacation but continue to encourage one another despite the distances between them. It demonstrates the beauty in growing together with a group of people and the importance of girls supporting girls! 

Molly’s Game

Molly’s Game is the story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-level athlete turned poker game master. It follows her journey after being indicted on charges of running an illegal poker game in connection with the Russian Mafia. While none of this may sound like an example to follow, Molly’s story is actually one of a very determined woman. After becoming injured and unable to compete in skiing, she moves to California in search of a new job and a fresh start. There she works for a Hollywood executive who runs poker games as a side hobby. She becomes the one in charge of running the poker games and turns it into a legal multimillion dollar business moving from LA to New York without any help from anyone other than herself. Not only is the movie action packed and engaging, but you go into the movie thinking the poker business is nothing to be proud of, but you come out in awe of Molly and the things she was able to accomplish as an entrepreneur of sorts. A strong female lead and an engaging story can show us the power of hard work and dedication. 

Film is a powerful storytelling tool with genres to fit everyone’s unique interests. The next time you’re in need of inspiration, watch a movie with a strong female lead, like one on this list! 

Cover graphic images retrieved from IMDB