Top 5 or 6 Female Led Films of the Past 5 or 6 Years
The Top 5... or 6
When it comes to film it can sometimes become a bit daunting to truly lookout. Something and try to find what is perfect and what is not. During the past year it is easily seen how film is starting to find it’s identity within the advent of millennial influence and the characteristics of a very large influence in diversity and equality within the industry.
One of the biggest things that needs to be known is that the female audience has since started to leech forward and backward from the screen. Within the past ten years the world has been graced with a multitude of female led, created, and produced films. But what the most important thing is, would be that these films are being created at all. Most would feel and see that it sometimes wouldn’t happen or it shouldn’t happen, but thanks to the likes of Jessica Chastain, Octavia Spencer, Amy Schumer and Co. the world will be getting more. Lets take a look back at what can be considered some of the best female led films from the past five years. I’m not including Wonder Woman as Patty Jenkins’ success with that film is undeniable for the industry and for DC, that will be explained at the end.
Zero Dark Thirty
How to be Single
*Wonder Women, and the Year of 2017
Looking at this list it is obvious of one thing, I might have a huge bias for Jessica Chastain and Bryce Dallas Howard films. True, but also not.
You is Kind, You is Smart, You is Important.
The Help ushered in a slew of female actors that have since stomped across Hollywood with more than just pink hats and smiling faces. They have the agenda to have equality in film unlike any other that I whole heartedly cannot wait for. During The Help you suddenly came face to face with Chastain and Howard, one of which came onto the scene strong in 2011 and one who finally outgrew the “replacement” casting because of the Eclipse fiasco. While Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis charge forward with Emma Stone to create one of the most beautiful films that I watch day in and day out. The Help is the powerhouse of film that most people wouldn’t recognize, it was in fact an independent film and was based off of a real book. When it finally came out in theaters it was hard to get away from as the storm these women created seemed to go on for years. The fact I still hear references to the film proves such, these strong women going through adverse conditions in a very constrictive world made the characters real, but it also showed what the actresses of this film were paralleling in real life as they too were trying to find their way in the industry. Only after this film was released -much as the book in the story- did things begin to change in a way, slow but steady.
Zero Dark Thirty
So, you agree with me now, this is important?
Another breakout film would be Zero Dark Thirty, the reasoning behind this actually would be how the gender stereotypes generally associated with war films is shattered into a million pieces. Kathryn Bigelow directs as Chastain gives a performance well worth her weight in Golden Globes. The fact that this war story, glorified by the USA’s government and the men in it, all was held and done by a woman truly speaks for itself. The power of the message becomes more jarring and cruel as the film goes on to fully allow Chastain’s Maya to seep into you, her stare is hard to forget on occasion. But the emotions run dry throughout the film, most of the tension is through the hardcore attitude Chastain’s Maya perceives, the stress and escalating danger understood only through simple looks. This only changes after the revelation at the end of the film, the break in the armor, with the showing of exhaustion so palpable it still can be interpreted in different ways. The way I do so? Finally having the time to grieve, but only in the way that Chastain’s character could, in the way of confusion as to why now, and where to, and not for her friends but for herself.
Best way to grieve? Don’t do it.
This is another version of the stereotype breakouts for women in film, the sports film that doesn’t surround a singular sport. Nor does it surround the men who usually play those sports in their little treehouse with “No Girls Allowed” signs posted everywhere. Within Trainwreck Schumer stars in a coming to self ideal of a film that not only gives perspective on the insecurities of her character, but also the insecurities of the men surrounding her. This almost allows a human quality to everyone, putting the emotional integrity of the film into light on equal standards for both men and women. That humanity allows the comedy to show that it would more of the dry variety, the kind that makes fun of life as life happens, not as life is wished to be. This importance in film being that the strong can be weak, but the weak can also be strong emotionally in the opposite sex category as well, allowing for a more human interaction to take place that isn’t too staged and can flow naturally in it’s own habitat. But the ideal of denial within Trainwreck allows even Schumer’s character to seem the “off” type that usually is associated with men. With adding emotion and acting style like this into a film normally meant to be a comedy, it only allows the playing field to be leveled and show that anyone, no matter who they are, will always be the same.
So just to refresh everyone’s memory, Jurassic World premiered number 4. I repeat, NUMBER 4 on the world’s highest grossing films list. I checked— it’s still there depending on which list you look at. But that is considerably high for a film that has the main character run around in heels that would make anyone cringe. But here is the other kicker, if you know how film works, and the storytelling behind it then you know who she actually is. Bryce Dallas Howard plays Claire Dearing, the overbearing super women who calls a t-rex to the rescue that no man in the film ever wanted to get near. Did I also mention she is the technical main character? Let me school you a bit into why: first a main character must dynamically change throughout the plot. The whole hero’s journey thing can be thrown in there but it’s easier just to say that. Second, they need to be introduced in the first five or ten minutes to remain relevant, sorry Chris Pratt. And Finally, they need the motivation to continue through their journey, so if all of this pans out correctly then Ms Dearing (Howard) is in fact the main title character in the number 4 movie of all time. She even got invited into the academy because of this film. Yes The Help was there, but it was second on the list. So all the Pratt lovers need to get this straight, Jurassic World is about Claire’s journey through disaster, as Pratt’s Owen knows all to well, its why he never changes, he is the supporting roll. So remember that the next time you see heels.
How to Be Single
I've been thinking that the time we have to be single, is really the time we have to get good at being alone
I’ve never quite thought I would go into a movie and come out going, what did I just watch and why do I like it so much. Going into How to Be Single I’d never thought that, instead it was just another comedy that would bring happy feelings in the end and I could move on. Instead the title characters, both Rebel Wilson and Dakota Johnson give the audience something worthy of a good cry. The film re-evaluates the need that society has on women and relationships and the importance of being truly alone and how it’s like to deal with that. Yes, men can do that, and it has been proven in many different formats, but the idea of the loneliness and objectification of women compared next to each other is forefront here. Not only is it the emotional turmoil that is shown, but the society cringing every single time something goes not according to the plan laid out before them. It’s the refreshing nature of this why it’s important, yes marketing gave it the comedy it had, but it also kept cleverly hidden —even though disappointing as it was— the sadness behind the film. Maybe this film shouldn’t be on the list, but it also should— so it will stay right where it is.The emotional connection I made with the film is important for anyone who watches it should know, and I’m looking at all of my former colleagues in high school getting married.
Wonder Women, and the Year of 2017
Now yes, it may seem unrelated in anyway as to why this is being mentioned, the year 2017 has been a slightly rocky but also interesting aspect in the filmmaking industry. Patty Jenkin’s Wonder Woman rocked the foundations of the Super Hero trope, and solidified Jenkin’s work in a very male dominated genre. Yes, there are more aspects to Wonder Woman I could drone on about, but it’s overall effect on the landscape is what I’m trying to get at here. 2017 became a year that most people will either remember or forget, there is no middle ground in that aspect either. With films like The Zookeeper’s Wife (another Chastain film), Molly’s Game which premiered at TIFF (which I desperately wished to see), and mother! A psychological thriller that is reinventing the horror scape along with the remake of IT — it seems the film world is waking up from a long slumber. No longer will we be getting reboot after reboot, instead the reboots will either harken back to days long by, or the other perspective is going to overwrite the constant narrative of “yawn”. All I can fathom is the hundreds of young women Jenkins inspired, along with the millions who marched in DC this past February, to finally take a stand for their own voice and vision. The importance of that moment, and of all of these films reflects the need to not silence or placate the female view on film, both in, around, and about film. It’s about the human narrative coming from two sides of the same coin, one side just so happens to have way coolerhats then the other. And significantly more weight in the coming years in Hollywood as the younger talent finds their way to it.