Women in Film


Here are some films featuring women that people have recommended to me, most of which I have liked. If there are any films that you would like to add to this list, send me the title and a brief description of why you like the way it portrays the woman or women in the film.

Feature Films

Truly, Madly, Deeply-A woman and her male partner are classical musicians in the midst of their careers when the man dies. He comes back to her, but a series of comedic and dramatic episodes illustrate how she copes with the loss of her lover even as he "returns" from the spirit world.

Shadowlands-Based on fact, American Joy Gresham (Debra Winger) visits C. S. Lewis (Anthony Hopkins), the well-known British Christian novelist, and the two begin a long relationship in which C. S. Lewis is led to question and deepen his own spiritual understanding.

Between Heaven and Earth-This is the third Vietnam film directed by Oliver Stone and based on the true story of a Vietnamese woman who escapes as a refugee to America. Caught between North and South, Vietnam and the U.S., the film weaves a complex and compelling picture of profound suffering, great will to live, tragedy and joy.

The Color Purple-Although it's a little different from the novel and largely leaves out the erotic dimensions of Celie and Shug's woman-woman relationship, the movie is well made and leaves a powerful impression.

Resurrection-Edna McCauley (Ellen Burstyn) is a working class woman when she has a near-death experience in an auto accident. She recovers but returns to this world with unusual healing powers. Her journey is dramatically depicted as she faces religious zealots, scientists, and her hometown citizens.

Picture Bride-The story of Japanese immigrant farm workers in early twentieth-century Hawaii, the title refers to Japanese women who sent their photographs to Japanese men in Hawaii looking for brides. This book details the travails and joys of their difficult lives.

Map of the Human Heart-This is the story of two half-Indian, half-White individuals, a man and a woman who grow up together part of their lives in a private boarding school for orphans and then meet again in Britain during World War II. It is a searing, beautifully rendered depiction of their lives spanning Britain, Europe, Alaska and other lands.

Frances-Frances Farmer (Jessica Lange) was an actress in the 1930's who was unjustly placed in a mental institution by her mother, and this film depicts her struggle in the age of lobotmies.

Bound-A mobster's mistress (Jennifer Tilly) falls in love with a ex-con (Gina Gershon), and the two women plot their escape from the violent, patriarchal world of the mafia.

Antonia's Line-The story of Antonia, the Dutuch matriarch, and her circle of family, friends, and townspeople as told through the eyes of her great grand-daughter.

Unsinkable Molly Brown-The robust, hilarious story of the performer and activist who was a big as the legend she helped to perpetuate, Molly Brown was famous long before the film Titanic hit the screen again.

Secrets and Lies-A British film about a black woman who goes to meet her white birth mother. More than meets the eye.


Days of Waiting-The story of Estelle Ishigo, an American woman who marries a Nisei, a second-generation Japanese American man. She has a decision to make at the outbreak of the Pacific War: Should she remain outside or should she go into the internment camps with her husband. Her extraordinary journey is told through narration and the beautiful drawings that she does as well as film clips and still shots from the period. It is a film about the Japanese American internment experience, but it is also the extraordinary story of a remarkable woman.

My America, by Renee Tajima-Peña. This is one woman's wild ride through Asian America, a touchingly sensitive yet hilarious film about her discoveries as an Asian American woman about Asian Americans and about America as a whole.