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Gorgeous Films for a Girls Night In: Give Me the Old Hollywood Glamour!

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

I find that film recommendations targeting women are hackneyed, repeated tragedies that consist of films that have been watched and rewatched since time immemorial and lack depth and charge for the young woman’s mind. For someone craving something new, I compiled a list of older films that still have that sliver of girlhood and more fantastical elements with a visual emphasis. 

Painted backdrops, charming acting, and a light sprinkle of surrealism and fine costumery, this list features black-and-white classics, the dreamiest wardrobes, and invigorating female protagonists whose stories mean to sway the mind to a beautiful place. Let’s have a look at the four films I’d recommend for a perfect girl’s night in!

Marie Antoinette (1938)

Marie Antoinette’s fantastic life was director Sofia Coppola’s muse in the 2010 movie of the same name and stands strong as an essential flick for its adoring female audience. However, things take a turn with its older, more classic sister — Marie Antoinette, released in ye olde 1938.

The fact that it came out 86 years ago shouldn’t scare you, though, because the wide-eyed and lovely Norma Shearer is equally charming at swanning around the gilded palace sets as the Franco-Austrian queen.

Her French manicure (I loved that reference!) and the sumptuous wardrobe were my favourite parts of the film. She jumps from party to party, not caring for who says what about her — all while dressed in glittering robes and diamond accessories towering towards the sky and around her neck.

The film is black-and-white, but the details of the set and costumes leap at you through the screen. Besides, movies nowadays don’t have the sparkly visual effects like they used to. 

Roman Holiday (1953)

This film was my very first Audrey Hepburn film and black-and-white movie — 16-year-old me was enraptured by how captivating colourless visual media could be!

This film follows a princess, played by Hepburn, on a visit to Rome. She sneaks away from the horrors of stiff handshaking and ancient ambassadors by escaping on a wagon. After tripping along the streets, she bumps into a handsome, struggling writer, played by Gregory Peck, as a romance swirls between them in the vista of the magical Italian city.

Hepburn’s ballerina-like frame jumping and dancing through Rome in love makes this film perfect for a girl’s night in or a solo experience! Fair warning: one watch may inevitably lead to an obsession with older Hollywood movies.

Peau d’Âne (1970)

A beautiful little film filled with peacocks and parrots, talking roses, dresses of the sun, and cakes of love — this classic 70s French film is a fun and gripping take on a fairytale not so popular in English story tradition.

Catherine Deneuve takes on the role of a princess desperately evading pleas for marriage from her (cough, cough, deranged) father, the King. Aided by her fabulous and lighthearted Fairy Godmother, the closest tale this story resembles to Western film is Cinderella.

The resemblance stops there and spins its own fantastic story, complete with songs and a tantalizing wardrobe. This film was restored by the renowned fine jewelry house Van Cleef & Arpels and even inspired a line of brooches encrusted by exotic, precious stones reminiscent of the film’s overall sparkly quality. 

Belle et La Bete/ Beauty and the Beast (1946)

Easily the most eerily beautiful film on the list, the brilliant mind of director Jean Cocteau used his surrealist imaginings to envision a classic fairy story never seen before! With floating hands carrying candlesticks in pitch-black darkness and statues whose eyes follow you everywhere you go, this isn’t necessarily the Beauty and the Beast you know.

I loved the assertiveness of Belle’s character in the film and how so much of her attitude towards the Beast informs the later versions of the same story. The dramatic lighting and mostly man-made visual effects are quite impressive and lend to a sublime and Alice in Wonderland-type experience for the modern viewer used to the recycled banality of CGI. 

To close, these movies each have special elements that allow them to stand the test of time, and I hope these recommendations make it into your itinerary!

Maryam Ahmed

Toronto MU '25

Asides from licking dessert bowls clean and having an addiction to scouring the Dior website, I am a full-time psychology student at Toronto Metropolitan University. I am Indian ethnically, but I was born and raised in Kuwait— a desert sweetly snuggled between the elbows of Saudia Arabia and the beach of the Arabian Gulf. I spent several happy years studying in an international school, in awe with my beloved Art and History professors whose lessons went beyond our books. My love for writing germinated along with my already burdgeoning love for reading and has never really died since. Reading had seen to the rise of certain hobbies and had become the only way to relate to the incredible charaters on paper— fencing, horse-riding, and a matronly interest in embroidery (although I'm quite good at the last one). I love painting fantastical landscapes and collecting artsy posters of cats or vintage magazine prints. HerCampus initiates an amazing circle of empowerment and friendship for female students across the world, and I am so proud to be apart of this year's writer line-up. I cannot think of a better way to reach out to vibrant, talented women than through this platform, and I look forward to intergrating myself into this fabulous community!