8 Hollywood Movies That Are Unapologetic About Having Women In Charge Of Their Sexuality & Agency

Posted: January 19, 2018

Here’s a list of Hollywood movies with women in charge of their sexuality and more, that you MUST explore in 2018.

Movies have been the gift of twentieth century, becoming the modern form of art we all love. Their contribution in not just depicting society but also in creating stories that shape new thoughts is unmatched.

The turn of the century brought with it innumerable changes that also affected the cinema we see. Women who were kept next to the hero as objects of beauty are being shown as the perfectly imperfect humans that they are. Women who were straitjacketed into a man’s idea of sexuality are now able to explore what that word means to them. Women who were considered damsels in distress are now in charge of their own body, and their own life.

So here is a curated list of Hollywood movies about women in charge of their own sexuality, female protagonists who rule their own world. Some may use their freedom to explore themselves, and others while some use their agency to bring about a difference in their own lives. What matters is that these films unapologetically portray their women characters taking pride in their decisions, creating an example for all who watch them.

Carol

Based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel Carol, the movie takes us diving deep into the world of two women discovering each other through friendship and love.

The Cate Blanchett-starrer Carol depicts Theresa and Carol in the gentle pace of the 1950s New York, involved in a slow romance on one hand, and then participating in a steamy sex scene on the other. The best part is that the movie rejects using the lens of the male gaze, creating a very female space for its characters to gently hold hands, to eye each other from a distance and to listen to their heart beat for each other.

Watch the trailer here.

Trainwreck

Trainwreck is a very rare rom-com that stays true to the conventions of its genre and yet, makes a shift from clichés regarding its characters.

Amy is a journalist in New York who believes that monogamy is a sham, and therefore, she is committed to never sleep with the same guy. Although the movie ends with her finding her one true love, it is her dirty humour, her love for her flawed self, her trust in female friendship, and her belief in the decisions she makes, that makes this movie an unconventional rom-com film, allowing its female protagonist to embark on a journey of discovering love for another through loving herself.

Watch the trailer here.

Mamma Mia!

The film adaptation of the extremely popular musical is a multiverse of all things female. It has a younger-man-chasing-an-older-woman dynamic, it has a mother raising her daughter singlehandedly into an independent and strong young lady, and it subverts the idea of a traditional family.

From Donna who has had three lovers (out of whom, anyone could be her daughter Sophie’s father) to Sophie who chooses her mother to walk her down the aisle, the movie depicts female bonds in all their glory, and portrays women who take up the mantle in their own life – be it about love, marriage or more.

Watch the trailer here.

Blue Is The Warmest Colour

Based on a French graphic novel of the same name, this coming-of-age movie traces the lesbian relationship between Adele and Emma, and the complexities they discover.

The movie is about a 15-year-old girl coming to terms with her sexuality on one hand, and it is about a young blue-haired artist who falls in love with her muse on the other. The portrayal of companionship as well as shortcomings in a non-heterosexual relationship is what makes this film so unique. A Palme D’Or winner, this film discusses as much about the complications of the heart as it is about the body.

Watch the trailer here.

Chocolat

Vianne is a chocolatier and a single mother, traveling to distant places to sell her scrumptious treats and keeping the tradition of her ancestors alive. She reaches a conservative French village of Catholics where indulging in pleasures of eating chocolate is a deadly sin. Chocolate is the object as well as the metaphor that earns Vianne her ‘outsider’ status.

The film portrays an independent woman at a time when it was considered not just rare but dangerous for a woman to earn for herself. She is a free spirit with an open mind and heart, one who can decide where she wants to travel or settle and also decide whom she wants to sleep with. Her agency in every aspect of her life – as a businesswoman, a mother and a woman – make her story a must watch.

Watch the trailer here.

Sex And The City

A journalist in New York with her girlfriends makes up for a seemingly typical rom-com. But this film takes a plunge into the complexities of these women’s lives and turns it into an adventure.

Four women in their 40s refuse to let their sexual desires be dictated by someone else. These women are not afraid to show that they are sexual beings too, and that they work, dress, live for themselves.

Watch the movie’s trailer here.

The Diary Of A Teenage Girl

A young cartoonist Minnie sleeps with her mother’s boyfriend, and things head into a complicated direction. Her journey of sexual awakening in the America of ‘70s takes her through casual sex, dating both men and women, drugs, and finally brings her to the realisation that loving herself and living for herself is enough.

Based on the graphic novel of the same name, The Diary Of A Teenage Girl depicts a young girl embarking on a path to discovery of her agency in her own life and decisions.

Watch the trailer here.

Brooklyn

Saoirse Ronan as Eilis living in a small town in Ireland gains the opportunity to work in New York, USA in the 1950s, and thus treads on a path of self-discovery and growth.

The film vividly explores Eilis’ character from being a shy, naïve young woman in a cosmopolitan Brooklyn to a confident, independent woman who discovers love and desire for an Italian man in her creaking room in the boarding house. Her outgrowing the shackles of her conservative roots and creating a happy space for herself in a ‘foreign land’ that became her home is what makes this movie a must-watch.

Watch the trailer here.

Header image is a still from the movie Sex and the City

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