#GuestPost: Femme on Film: 6 movies with ‘crazy women’ protagonists to make your weekend. You’re welcome ;)

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What better way to celebrate Saturday than a line-up of six awesome movies featuring female protagonists? And, I’m not talking about movies filled with stereotypes of women being either helpless damsels or dangerous femme fatales or, just eye-candy.
Here are some films that will burn up the Bechdel test. Above all, these movies are about having fun, and nothing kills fun like tedious agendas. So, if you are looking for movies that will make the yin sing and bring you 90 minutes of delight, scroll down and check out these beauties:

 

Girlhood

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Directed by Céline Sciamma, Girlhood came out the same year Boyhood did and got a fraction of its buzz. But IMHO, this was a way better film. Very classical in its structure, this story about a black girl living in the projects in Paris going on to join a street gang is its coming-of-age tale lit by the central performance of the lead. There are moments of teenage desire and furtive sex, girls’ friendships with its power dynamics.

But basically, what it is is a graph of a girl on the brink of becoming an adult negotiating her place in the world. Beautifully shot, the highlight of the film for me was the sequence with the girls in a hotel room booked after scamming some money where they go wild and dance with each other filled with hope and celebrating girlhood jiving to Rihanna’s “Diamonds”. Pure luminosity and cinematic to the edge, this is a film about a fierce and smart protagonist going through life on her terms.

 

Easy A

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Directed by Will Gluck and starring Emma Stone, the cutie with a mouth that is a throwback to the screwball film heroines from old Hollywood debuted big as a lead, this snappy, pacey, crazy, fun film is lifted beyond fun by its screenwriter Bert V Royal.
A loose inspiration of The Scarlet Letter, this movie is about a virgin whose life goes into a tizzy when rumours of her promiscuity that she jumpstarts take a life of their own. Becoming a school slut is never fraught with as much drama as in Easy A. The film careens towards a crazy mess of confusion & rumors, resolved during a campy moment when the film owns its desire to fun-it-up.
The score of the movie is tops, as are the many performances especially those of Olive’s parents, played by the delightful Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson. I love the dialogue – the verbose, rap-like, rhythmic lines delivered with that “something” always makes my day, and this movie has the promise to make your week.

 

The Virgin Suicides

This film is a cult classic and Sofia Coppola’s debut. The screenplay was adapted from a book of the same name by author Jeffrey Eugenides. The story follows a family of sisters who killed themselves. A haunting movie where mood reigns supreme (it’s Sofia Coppola, duh), Virgin Suicides is an ode to beautiful girls bursting with girlishness in all its glory – white lace, perfumed hair and summer light in an American suburb.

Told from the perspective of young boys who are fascinated with these girls and all that girlhood stands for, Virgin Suicides is melancholic, gauzy and a bit reminiscent of Picnic at the Hanging Rock (1975) by Peter Weir. There is a beauty to this picture that words cannot capture. The movie is haunting, so, be prepared for a melancholic hangover that will likely hit you once the end credits roll.

 

Young Adult

 

Putting the fun back into dysfunctionality, Juno writer Diablo Cody scripted this film, and Jason Reitman directed it. The movie has Charlize Theron as a late-30s novelist of Young Adult titles living in an urban haze.
Through the course of the picture, we find out that she is lonely, isolated and has had a break-up some time back. Our girl is isolated with a capital I. Whether it happened a few months ago or years, I don’t recall the film making a solid point of it, but all we know is that Theron’s character finds an idea of what she is supposed to do through a mix of delusion and misunderstanding.
This film is firmly in the “Arrested Development” trope about 30-something-year-old characters refusing to grow up and fighting a losing tragi-comic battle against facing reality. Charlize’s Mavis’ self-destructive tendencies spin her life into going back to her small-town roots to reunite with her high-school boyfriend. The trouble is, he’s happily married with a newborn baby, and we realize early in the film that he is not interested. Her delusion makes her take things to an extreme and despite it all, you empathise with her because deep down we suspect there is a bit of the isolated, dysfunctional Mavis in all of us.
A slowly unfolding car wreck of a movie about a self-involved and delusional character hurtling unaware towards inevitable tragedy, this film remains a favourite for not buckling down under the pressure to redeem.

 

Girlfriends

 

A 1978 movie made with a small but by a big heart, Girlfriends has an underground cult following for all the right reasons. It was directed by a documentarian Claudia Weill and captures a beautiful story about two female friends (who used to be ex-roommates) going on different paths while dealing with the envy and some version of separation anxiety.

Girlfriend One is a freelance photographer busy shooting bat mitzvahs and hoping for a break as a legit photographer; Girlfriend Two is a writer who chooses to get married, settled and have a baby. Along with Hysterical Blindness, this is a film that I’m sure only a woman could have made because the texture of female friendship captured within it is more authentic than what I have seen in most films. Claudia Weill’s film also inspired Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha (which has pretty camera work and a killer OST). Plus Lena Dunham is known to be a fangirl having got Weill to direct an episode of HBO’s Girls.

 

Tiny Furniture

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The film that broke out Lena Dunham from youtube videos and indie limited-fandom. Tiny Furniture is a work of narrative genius showcasing all the qualities that has made Dunham the “voice of her generation” through her shows, books and her Lenny letter (Which you should subscribe to if you haven’t.) The film is about a college girl who lacks direction and is reeling from a break-up in a quiet existentialist way.

It starts with her living at her parents’ Tribeca loft with her beautiful, sorted sister and her talented, self-assured and smart mother. Both her parents are artists. All this is not just autobiographical storytelling; Dunham got her mom and sister to act and used her parents’ Tribeca home as the house she is crashing in. Suffice to say, a sex scene in shady location (*spoiler alert) is part of the movie and Dunham’s unique ability to lay herself bare – physically, emotionally – while making us love her is part of her genius. And don’t be fooled, the simplicity is just the appearance. Tiny Furniture is an expertly crafted and brilliantly written film without much of a traditional plot.

Bas, this starter kit should carry you through the weekend. Now it’s movie time!

Popcorn is an essential food as far as I'm concerned!!

Popcorn is an essential food as far as I’m concerned!!

 

Indira Bisht
Written by

Indira currently lives away from her home city Delhi in a metropolis called Bombay for work = screenwriting. Movies are one of the three big loves in the trifecta of her passions. The other two are: books and music. (Besides people, she likes nature and animals). She is currently working out on becoming a director and hopes for the force to be with her so she can make some crazy moving pictures even half as great as the one she loves.
Follow her social media shenanigans on Insta: https://www.instagram.com/indira_bisht/ and Twitter: https://twitter.com/Indirabisht

1 Comment

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