Margarita With a Straw
Margarita is about Laila (Kalki Koechlin), a girl with cerebral palsy who moves abroad, falls in love, and proves to her family that she can take care of herself. Koechlin, who was born and raised in India with French parents, acts in a range of Indian productions, including independent films like this one, as well as in theater and commercial Bollywood.
Free the Nipple
Lina Esco’s simple film about young women wanting to do something feels pretty relatable at the moment. Their chosen stand is #FreeTheNipple—a campaign to decriminalize female toplessness and allow women to reclaim their sexuality and their bodies.
A post-Devil Wears Prada Anne Hathaway plays Jane Austen and falls for a post-AtonementJames McAvoy in this quaint and poignant film. Austen’s own romance feels like something out of the pages of her books (where most of it would end up), and her uncompromising drive to write and be heard is fantastic.
History’s O.G. Head Bitch in Charge reigned in ancient Egypt, and was brought to life by the inimitable Elizabeth Taylor in a career-defining role.
Ties That Bind
Leila Djansi’s African drama about women who have lost children is heartbreaking from the start, but the characters find strength in each other and use their pain to lift up their community.
Judi Dench was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in this 2013 story based on real events. She stars as Philomena Lee, a woman who spent 50 years searching for the son she was forced to give up for adoption.
Greta Gerwig excels at portraying a particular type of woman in this film (and in Lola Versusand Mistress America). There’s that millennial sense of haven’t-quite-figured-it-out mixed with an almost beatnik embrace of taking life day by day in pursuit of one’s passions. Frances Ha does all that beautifully, and in black and white.
This whimsical 2001 film starring Audrey Tautou is about a woman trying to help the people around her, and yes, there is an adorable romantic subplot.
This movie pits two working women against each other, but it’s reminder of the perils of girl-on-girl crime and the merits of going with your gut and standing up for yourself. Melanie Griffith and Sigourney Weaver are delightful, Harrison Ford is at his physical peak and Joan Cusack’s hair deserves as many Oscars as she can fit in it.
Pink is a direct response to India’s disquieting history of sexual assault and victim-blaming, directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury. Amitabh Bachchan, India’s most famous actor, gets to play the hero as defending lawyer of three women who attack a rapist, but the stories of Meenal (Tapsee Pannu) and her friends are what truly stands out