Feminism is at the forefront of what we do here at FIENA, whether we’re championing one another creatively, hosting inspiring female-led events or simply offering other like-minded women a space to feel comfortable and free. This week we’re doing things a little differently and taking a look at some of the best films on Netflix centred around women, feminism and identity.
From poignant dramas highlighting distinctive moments in history to documentary films exploring feminism, these are the ten feminist films on our watch list.
Sarah Gavron’s 2015 film, Suffragette, looks at one of the biggest women’s rights movements in history. We’re casted back to 1912, where we see a young woman named Maud, played by Carey Mulligan, and her fight to help secure women the right to vote in Britain. Brilliantly captivated, the film displays the struggles, but most importantly the determination of these suffragettes as they rose above the pressure slammed upon them and changed the world as we know it today.
Based on Louisa May Alcott’s novel of the same name, Greta Gerwig’s 2019 adaptation of Little Women is the coming-of-age period drama you can’t help but fall in love with. If you aren’t familiar with the narrative, we follow the March sisters as they are cast into the depths of womanhood. We see the four sisters grasp adulthood wholeheartedly, from Jo going against the grain and striving to become a writer to Amy’s determination to follow the rules and adopt traits deemed ‘correct’ by society.
Feminists: What Were They Thinking?
Created and directed by Johanna Demetrakas, this Netflix original documentary takes a look at the 1970s women’s movement and examines its place in today’s culture. Explored through the collection of feminist portraiture photography from the time by Cynthia MacAdams, we see some of the biggest names in feminism come together to tell their stories, from Jane Fonda to Laurie Anderson.
Knock Down The House
This Netflix original documentary takes a look at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ rise in the political sector and what soon became known as one of the biggest political movements in recent American history. We explore AOC’s story, from her days as a Bronx bartender to her campaigning tactics, and how she came to challenge - and win - the 2018 congressional primary campaign.
One to watch with your teenage niece, Moxie! Follows a young adolescent girl on her path to self-discovery. Directed by Amy Poehler, we see Emma Cunningham (Josephine Langford) follow in her mum’s rebellious footsteps, publishing an anonymous zine challenging the sexism at the forefront of her school.
Starring Milly Bobby Brown, Netflix’s Enola Holmes is based on the mystery book series by Nancy Springer, and follows a young teen as she goes searching for her missing mother. Along the way we see this fierce, young character use her skills and wit to outsmart her older brother Sherlock and help a runaway lord…
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Never Rarely Sometimes Always, written and directed by Eliza Hittman, follows a young teenager who discovers she’s pregnant. Unable to get an abortion in her state, she travels with her cousin across the state border to New York to have one. With the topic so immediate right now, this feels like a very poignant and powerful story to be told.
Another Netflix documentary film, this time discussing cinematic and television depictions of trans people throughout history. From the first trans person shown on screen to more recent positive portrayals, as well as hard to watch truths about depictions in Hollywood, we see leading trans creatives discuss their thoughts.
Sarah Gavron’s Rocks sees us follow a young teenage girl from east London as she has to constantly navigate taking care of not only herself but her brother when her mother leaves. Through the ups and the downs, it’s a powerful narrative that looks at poverty in Britain as well as the power of friendship.