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HC Carleton Execs: Our Movie Recommendations for Women’s Month

For this week’s Theme Week inspired by Women’s Month, I asked all of our execs to send me a movie they thought best-represented women’s issues — either writing, directing, storyline or anything in between. And the list we came up with I think would inspire any great movie night!

Belle Riley Thompson, President

Tig (2015) 

Tig is a documentary film about stand-up comic Tig Notaro on her journey through illness, grief, motherhood and love. This is one of my most beloved documentary films as it combines some of my favourite genres seamlessly into one: dark comedy and romance. The doc follows Tig one year after she creates a legendary stand-up routine on the subject of her recent diagnosis with stage II breast cancer. Over the year, she deals with the devastating and sudden loss of her mother; desperately trying to have biological children; and her budding and uncertain relationship with actress Stephanie Allynne. What Tig ultimately delivers is a heart-wrenching, inspiring and authentic story of unwavering courage.

Rianna, Events Team Member

The Glass Castle (2017)

Based on the bestselling memoir by Jeannette Walls, this movie starring Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson tells the story of a young woman growing up in a dysfunctional, nomadic, poor family. The movie stays true to the book, and Jeannette faces unimaginable adversity while navigating her relationship with her parents and siblings and trying to survive. Jeanette becomes a successful journalist and achieves her dreams of stability and love, all while showing incredible resilience, strength, and ambition. This movie taught me that being a young woman with the odds stacked against you doesn’t mean you’re not capable of doing great things no matter what challenges may come your way.

Sydney Powell-Goldsmith, Marketing and Publicity Director

Jane Fonda in Five Acts (2018)

This documentary film details the utmost fascinating life of Jane Fonda. The film is separated into five separate eras of her life, demonstrating how she became the powerhouse of a woman she is today. What makes this autobiographical style documentary different from others is Jane Fonda herself, as she has lived the most fascinating and harrowing life, while experiencing every bit of life humanity has to offer. Fonda leaves no stone unturned in her documentary, from her early life experiences as the daughter of famous actor Henry Fonda,  to her own incredibly successful acting career, to her powerful and impactful activism, as well as, her successful business ventures in the early home fitness video industry, and much more. I will always hold this documentary close to my heart, as it introduced me to the phenomenon that is Jane Fonda, and now and forevermore I will look up to her as my role model, because she is the epitome of standing up for what you believe in, not giving two figs about what other people think of you, as well as, as she demonstrates through the documentary the importance of self-awareness and self-growth.

Rawan, Junior Editor

Money Monster (2016)

Money Monster is directed by Jodie Foster and stars George Clooney playing a suave financial TV expert and Julia Roberts playing the show producer backstage. The movie kicks off almost immediately with action when an angry man named Kyle takes Clooney’s character hostage during a live show. After investing in a company backed by the financial expert and losing it all following a crash in stocks, the furious Kyle is out for vengeance after losing everything — and amidst it all, Julia Roberts has to do her damndest to keep the studio calm and everything under control or risk the popular show host getting his brains blown out on live TV. While the show host and angry gunman are at the centre of the action, this movie is certainly not without a good dose of girl power. As someone who also comes from a film and TV background, it was incredibly refreshing for me to see a woman take an authoritative role in an industry typically dominated by men — and act like a total badass through it all. Highly recommend for anyone looking to watch a female-directed female with a strong female character and some awesome action!

Alexandra Elves, Senior Editor

Moana (2016)

Moana is my favourite Disney princess movie and I think a Disney/Pixar movie is a great addition to any movie night. For those of you who haven’t seen Moana yet, it follows a young woman through an epic journey to save her people. Moana is unapologetic about what she believes in and is a strong and courageous leader. The songs that accompany the film are amazing, as you would hope from any soundtrack which features Lin Manuel Miranda’s powerful lyrics. The film touches on themes of tragedy, redemption, hope and compassion. It is the Disney princess I would have loved to see as a little girl, but am super happy to have as an adult.

Emma Christie, Finance Director

The Farewell (2019)

Lulu Wang’s touching and illuminating film The Farewell speaks to the power of women and the lives they touch around them. Starring comedian and actress Awkwafina, the movie is partially based on the experiences of director Lulu Wang and the challenges of fitting into traditional Chinese culture while being Chinese-American. In the movie, family members must return to their homeland for their final goodbye with their matriarch, played by Zhao Shu-zhen, who is unknowingly dying of terminal lung cancer. Although it deals with the difficult and saddening process of grief, The Farewell shows the lasting impact loved ones have on our lives even as we lose them.  

Zoya, Events Director

Little (2019)

Little was a comedy that was produced by Marsai Martin. Its cast includes Regina Hall and Issa Rae. The story is about a successful business woman, played by Regina Hall, who treats her staff poorly. after a particularly interesting night, she wakes up as a 13-year old version of herself. Similar to Freaky Friday, this movie takes a more modern twist of the classic body swap plot. The movie confronts the idea of self-growth and development at any “age”. The movie shows how far kindness can get a person and how to speak up for oneself. We see the characters hesitate from going for what they want but through the help of others start to be brave. I spent a lot of the movie laughing and would recommend this movie to anyone. This is a great feel-good movie. Marsai Martin starred but was also the executive producer of Little. Martin is also a nine-time NAACP Image Awards winner.

Rachel Fiset, Junior Editor

Joy (2015)

A movie that I absolutely love and I think really shows female empowerment is the underrated movie Joy, starring Jennifer Lawrence. This film, inspired by a true story is a great way to get you thinking about your own life. Set in the 1990s, the movie is about Joy’s struggles as a divorced mother of two who seems to always have great ideas but is stuck helping the rest of her family. After cutting herself and getting frustrated with a mop, she decides to create a self-wringing mop. However, she gets ‘frauded’ and taken advantage of the entire time she tries to sell it. In the end after much determination and will-power she becomes a wealthy independent entrepreneur. This movie is great for anyone who needs the inspiration to do what they believe in and not let anyone stand in your way!

Sherlly, Social Media Director

Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey (2020)

Based on the DC Comics, directed by Cathy Yan, starring Margot Robbie (playing Harley Quinn) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, and Ella Jay Basco. The film is a spin-off sequel of suicide squid portraying Harley Quinn’s life after breaking up with the Joker. Harley struggles to find her own identity without her “master.” She soon realizes her worth and place in the world when she teams up with three other strong women to protect a little girl from a group of gangsters. While I have never been a fan of DC films, I really enjoyed this film. Each female lead had unique personalities and were portrayed as strong and independent women. The film has a perfect balance of action, comedy, and drama, and the women were not portrayed as weak characters that needed to be protected by a male counterpart. Also, the fight scenes were iconic; I highly recommend this film!

So grab some popcorn everyone and enjoy!

Alexandra graduated in 2021 with a degree in journalism and professional writing.
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