Dear Yogini Sisters,
We asked you on the AWI Facebook Page to share your favorite movies about women’s awakening and empowerment, and here is the list of movies compiled from your responses, updated with descriptions of each movie and a link to the trailer and reviews.
May this list feed your heart and soul during those warm, cozy nights spent on the couch…
Here is the list as a downloadable PDF (click the picture of the down arrow on the top of the screen to download).
- Whale Rider
A contemporary story of love, rejection and triumph as a young Maori girl fights to fulfill a destiny her grandfather refuses to recognize.
Poignant coming-of-age story of a precocious and outspoken young Iranian girl that begins during the Islamic Revolution. Animated.
- The Color Purple
The life and trials of a young African American woman based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker.
- The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
After years of mother-daughter tension, Siddalee receives a scrapbook detailing the wild adventures of the “Ya-Yas”, her mother’s girlhood friends.
- As It Is in Heaven (Sweden)
An internationally renowned Swedish conductor returns to his childhood village and agrees to help the local church choir hone their singing skills. This movie illuminates archetypal dynamics between people, creativity, spirituality and love, and you will find watching the women characters evolve as deeply cathartic, awakening and healing.
The film examines the plight of a group of widows forced into poverty at a temple in the holy city of Varanasi. The women in this movie are confronted with the dynamic between the brutal customs based on religion, and the wisdom and empowerment of their own hearts.
- Dangerous Beauty
A Venetian courtesan becomes a hero to her city, but later becomes the target of an inquisition by the Church for witchcraft.
Loretta Castorini, a book keeper from Brooklyn, New York, finds herself in a difficult situation when she falls for the brother of the man she agreed to marry (the best friend of her late husband who died seven years previously).
- Stealing Beauty
After her mother commits suicide, nineteen year old Lucy Harmon travels to Italy to reconnect with a young boy with whom she once fell in love and to solve the riddle left in a diary written by mother.
A Delhi girl from a traditional family sets out on a solo honeymoon after her marriage gets cancelled.
- Antonia’s Line
A Dutch matron establishes and, for several generations, oversees a close-knit, matriarchal community where feminism and liberalism thrive.
- Sophie’s Choice
Sophie is the survivor of Nazi concentration camps, who has found a reason to live in Nathan, a sparkling if unsteady American Jew obsessed with the Holocaust.
- Out of Africa
In 20th-century colonial Kenya, a Danish baroness/plantation owner has a passionate love affair with a free-spirited big-game hunter.
- Eat Pray Love
A married woman realizes how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she takes off on a round-the-world journey to “find herself”.
- Under the Tuscan Sun
A writer impulsively buys a villa in Tuscany in order to change her life.
- Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love
Two girlhood friends become sexual rivals at maturity.
- Erin Brockovich
An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city’s water supply. Based on a true story.
- Fried Green Tomatoes
A housewife who is unhappy with her life befriends an old lady in a nursing home and is enthralled by the tales she tells of people she used to know.
Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child.
A look at the life of legendary American pilot Amelia Earhart, who disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 in an attempt to make a flight around the world.
- Thelma and Louise
An Arkansas waitress and a housewife shoot a rapist and take off in a ’66 Thunderbird.
Los Angeles citizens with vastly separate lives collide in interweaving stories of race, loss and redemption.
A woman and her daughter open a chocolate shop in a small French village that shakes up the rigid morality of the community.
- Little Women
The March sisters live and grow in post-Civil War America.
- Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
In 1850 Oregon, when a backwoodsman brings a wife home to his farm, his six brothers decide that they want to get married too.
- Memoirs of a Geisha
Nitta Sayuri reveals how she transcended her fishing-village roots and became one of Japan’s most celebrated geisha.
Historical epic. The triumphs and tragedy of the Egyptian queen, Cleopatra.
- The Hours
The story of how the novel “Mrs. Dalloway” affects three generations of women, all of whom, in one way or another, have had to deal with suicide in their lives.
A biography of artist Frida Kahlo, who channeled the pain of a crippling injury and her tempestuous marriage into her work.
- A League of Their Own
Two sisters join the first female professional baseball league and struggle to help it succeed amidst their own growing rivalry.
On the run from an abusive husband, a young mother begins to train herself to fight back.
- Mona Lisa
George has just been released from prison, and manages to get a job driving a call girl from customer to customer.
- Saving Grace
A small-town English widow, facing financial troubles after her husband’s suicide, turns to agriculture of an illegal kind.
- Dangerous Beauty
In 16th century Venice,Veronica Franco becomes a courtesan, and with her beauty and intelligence becomes a heroine for her city.
- Waiting To Exhale
Based on Terry McMillan’s novel, this film follows four very different African-American women and their relationships with the male gender.
- The Piano
A mute woman along with her young daughter, and her prized piano, are sent to 1850s New Zealand for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, and she’s soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.
- Catch and Release
A woman struggles to accept the death of her fiancé and the secrets he kept from her as she rebuilds her life.
- Kill Bill Vol 1+2
The Bride wakens from a four-year coma. The child she carried in her womb is gone. Now she must wreak vengeance on the team of assassins who betrayed her – a team she was once part of.
- Passion Fish
May-Alice Culhane was a successful soap opera star, but a car accident has left her bound to a wheelchair. She returns to her now-empty family home in the bayous of Louisiana.
- Iron Jawed Angels
Defiant young activists take the women’s suffrage movement by storm, putting their lives at risk to help American women win the right to vote.
- The Lady
The story of Aung San Suu Kyi as she becomes the core of Burma’s democracy movement, and her relationship with her husband, writer Michael Aris.
Set in the south of the United States just after the Civil War, Laurel Sommersby is just managing to work the farm without her husband Jack, believed killed in the Civil War.
- The Source
A comedy/drama set in a village and centered on a battle of the sexes, where women threaten to withhold sexual favors if their men refuse to fetch water from a remote well.
- Now & Then
Four 12-year-old girls grow up together during an eventful small-town summer in 1970.
- Made in Dagenham
A dramatization of the 1968 strike at the Ford Dagenham car plant, where female workers walked out in protest against sexual discrimination.
- The Magdalene Sisters
Three young Irish women struggle to maintain their spirits while they endure dehumanizing abuse as inmates of a Magdalene Sisters Asylum.
- Legally Blonde
When a blonde sorority queen is dumped by her boyfriend, she decides to follow him to law school to get him back and, once there, learns she has more legal savvy than she ever imagined.
A shy woman, endowed with the speed, reflexes, and senses of a cat, walks a thin line between criminal and hero, even as a detective doggedly pursues her, fascinated by both of her personas.
- The Help
An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids’ point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
- Riding in Cars with Boys
A single mother, with dreams of becoming a writer, has a son at the age of 15 in 1965, and goes through a failed marriage with the drug-addicted father.
When a woman shelters a group of girls from suffering female genital mutilation, she starts a conflict that tears her village apart.
- Steel Magnolias
Revolving around Truvy’s Beauty Parlor in a small parish in modern-day Louisiana, this is the story of a close-knit circle of friends whose lives come together there.
- A L’Aventure
A sexually unsatisfied young woman decided to pursue various sexual experiments and scenarios.
Story of the relationship between the poets Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath.
- Een Vrouw Als Eva(‘A Woman Like Eve’)
A Dutch drama film about a woman who leaves her husband for another woman.
- Adam’s Rib
Domestic and professional tensions mount when a husband and wife work as opposing lawyers in a case involving a woman who shot her husband.
- Mystic Pizza
Three teenage girls come of age while working at a pizza parlor in the Connecticut town of Mystic.
A ship sent to investigate an SOS distress call encounters an alien that begins to kill the crew members one by one.
- Where Do We Go Now?
A group of Lebanese women try to ease religious tensions between Christians and Muslims in their village.
- Nim’s Island
A young girl inhabits an isolated island with her scientist father and communicates with a reclusive author of the novel she’s reading.
- The Mermaid Chair
A married woman falls in love with a Benedictine monk.
- Wonder Woman
A modern man’s trespass of the island of the Amazons enables an imprisoned war god to escape and Princess Diana wins the responsibility to recapture him.
- The Count of Monte Cristo
A young man, falsely imprisoned by his jealous “friends,” escapes and uses a hidden treasure to exact his revenge.
- The Preacher’s Wife
Reverend Henry Biggs finds that his marriage to choir mistress Julia is flagging, due to his constant absence caring for the deprived neighborhood they live in. In desperation, Rev. Biggs prays to God for help – and help arrives in the form of an angel.
- Soul Surfer
Teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton overcomes the odds and her own fears of returning to the water after losing her left arm in a shark attack.
- Stick It
After a run-in with the law, Haley is forced to return to the world from which she fled some years ago. Enrolled in an elite gymnastics program, Haley’s rebellious attitude gives way to team spirit.
- What Women Want
After an accident, a chauvinistic executive gains the ability to hear what women are really thinking.
A bike stuntman recalls his previous life as a warrior, and pursues his love’s reincarnation. A sinister figure from their shared past threatens to separate them forever.
- Enchanted April
Four women rent a chateau on a remote Italian island to try to come to grips with their lives and relationships. They explore the differences in their personalities, reassess their goals, and reexamine their relationships in a sisterly fashion.
A film of the early years of the reign of Elizabeth I of England and her difficult task of learning what is necessary to be a monarch.
- Ryan’s Daughter
Set in the wake of the 1916 Easter Rising, a married woman in a small Irish village has an affair with a troubled British officer.
- Gone with the Wind
A manipulative Southern belle carries on a turbulent affair with a blockade runner during the American Civil War.
- A Passage to India
Cultural mistrust and false accusations doom a friendship in British colonial India between an Indian doctor, an Englishwoman engaged to marry a city magistrate, and an English educator.
In this India-set drama, two disparate wives related by marriage and united at first by the oppressiveness of Indian tradition that relegates them to miserable unions, find solace and love in each other’s arms.
- Monsoon Wedding
A stressed father, a bride-to-be with a secret, a smitten event planner, and relatives from around the world create much ado about the preparations for an arranged marriage in India.
- Joan of Arc
In her youth in Northern France in the 1400’s, Joan often witnesses the horrors of war, but her spirit is kept high by the legend of the Maiden of Lorraine.
A young Arab-American girl struggles with her sexual obsession, a bigoted Army reservist and her strict father during the Gulf War.
- The Secret Life of Bees
Set in South Carolina in 1964, this is the tale of Lily Owens, a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother.
- Far from Heaven
In 1950s Connecticut, a housewife faces a marital crisis and mounting racial tensions in the outside world.
- Dead Man Walking
A nun, while comforting a convicted killer on death row, empathizes with both the killer and his victim’s families.
This film follows nobleman Orlando as he stays forever young, moving through several centuries of British history, experiencing a variety of lives and relationships along the way, and even changing sex.
After her death, a mother returns to her home town in order to fix the situations she couldn’t resolve during her life.
- My Brilliant Career
Sybylla Melvyn is an independent young woman who soon after arriving to live with her Grandmother Bossier and aunt Helen announces that she will never marry and plans on having a career instead.
- Something New
Kenya McQueen, an accountant finds love in the most unexpected place when she agrees to go on a blind date with Brian Kelly, a sexy and free-spirited landscaper.
- The Untouchables
This film follows the complex lives of 4 young people in rural India who, as the first generation of the ‘Untouchables’ caste to be educated from pre-school through college are caught between honoring their family traditions and expectations—and changing the course of history.
- Shirley Valentine
Shirley’s a middle-aged Liverpool housewife, who finds herself talking to the wall while she prepares her husband’s chip’n’egg, wondering what happened to her life.
- Harold and Maude
Young, rich, and obsessed with death, Harold finds himself changed forever when he meets lively septuagenarian Maude at a funeral.
- La Belle Histoire
The male gypsy Jesus and female thief and con-artist Odona share parallel experiences from lives 2000 years in the past.
- Emerald Forest
After the son of engineer Bill Markham is abducted by an aboriginal tribe on the edge of the rain forest, the engineer spends the next 10 years searching for him.
In a remote woodland cabin, a small town doctor discovers Nell – a beautiful young hermit woman with many secrets.
A film that captures the portraits and stories of extraordinary women around the world who are coming together to heal the injustices against the earth.
- The Keeper
When an apparently exemplary cop abducts and secretly imprisons a beautiful dancer, a deadly battle of wills between captor and captive ensues.
- Dead Man
On the run after murdering a man, accountant William Blake encounters a strange North American man named Nobody who prepares him for his journey into the spiritual world.
- How to Make an American Quilt
Bride-to-be Finn Dodd hears tales of romance and sorrow from her elders as they construct a quilt.
- Calendar Girls
A Women’s Institute chapter’s fundraising effort for a local hospital by posing nude for a calendar becomes a media sensation.
- Spirited Away
In the middle of her family’s move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and monsters; where humans are changed into animals; and a bathhouse for these creatures.
A romantic comedy centered on the daily lives of five Lebanese women living in Beirut.
Amelie, an innocent and naive girl in Paris, with her own sense of justice, decides to help those around her and along the way, discovers love.
- Like Water for Chocolate
Set in Mexico, Tita discovers that her cooking has magical effect. Bound by tradition to remain unmarried while caring for her aging mother, Tita nevertheless falls in love.
- My Life Without Me
A young woman conceals the fact of her terminal cancer to live her life with a passion she never had before.
- The Fall
In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastic story of five mythical heroes.
- Life, Above All
A touching mother-daughter relationship that reflects the modern South Africa.
- Beasts of the Southern Wild
Faced with both her hot-tempered father’s fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love.
- A Room With a View
When Lucy Honeychurch and chaperone Charlotte Bartlett find themselves in Florence with rooms without views, fellow guests Mr Emerson and son George step in to remedy the situation.
- Pane e Tulipani (Bread and Tulips)
After being forgotten in a highway café during a bus trip, a housewife decides to start a new life by herself in Venice.
- Foreign Letters
A bittersweet coming-of-age film, Foreign Letters is itself a love letter to the unshakeable bond between friends.
- Miss Representation
Explores the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America, and challenges the media’s limited portrayal of what it means to be a powerful woman.
- The Letter Writer
When a teenager receives a mysterious letter in the mail, she sets out to find the author. It’s a journey that will change her life forever.
For more inspiring movies, you can also go to: thegoddessproject.com/blog/inspiringmovies
Photo Credit: Sourced Online