This IWD, we take a look at the online offerings celebrating womenhood in all its forms
Happy International Women's Day, folks. If you're up for smashing the patriarchy in a way that lets you lie on the couch and eat pizza at the same time, we've put together the best woman-focused films on Netflix for you. Grab your best pals and hunker up for a night of female-friendly films.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Phoebe Gloeckner's coming-of-age graphic novel, adapted by Marielle Heller, stars Bel Powley as 15-year-old Minnie, who begins a sexual relationship with her mother's boyfriend. Minnie goes after losing her virginity with determination and gusto, and, despite the obvious disturbing aspects to the fact, she escapes relatively unscathed. Heller wanted the film to allow for complexity, and it does, in a number of radical ways.
Journalist Lynn Barber's coming-of-age memoir, adapted for the screen by Lone Scherfig, tells of 16-year-old Jenny, the target of a long-winded and sophisticated seduction from conman David. He wines, dines, whisks her to Paris – and her parents consent. An Education is a cautionary tale for teens that when he seems too good to be true, he definitely is. (Also, stay away from men twice your age when you're a teenager).
Liz Garbus' documentary follows two teenagers, Shanae Owens and Megan Jensen, who are incarcerated for assault at the Waxter Juvenile Facility in Baltimore. Following them over a period of three years, we learn their upsetting back stories and explore elements of nature versus nurture and the importance of mother-daughter bonds to young women.
Growing up Coy
A 2016 documentary credited with sparking the interest in bathroom bills across the United States. Six-year-old Coy Mathis is the protagonist, and the film focuses on the decision of the Colorado Civil Rights Division to allow her to use girls' bathrooms at her elementary school. It's a remarkable story of a family who have nothing but love and respect for their young daughter.
Paris is Burning
Jennie Livingston's 1990 documentary is an essential portrayal of the ball culture of New York City, and the African American, Latino and LGBTQ+ communities that spearheaded it. Their world was mostly secret until vogueing became mainstream, but there's a saddening line between its success and the very real discrimination and violence faced by the people involved day to day. It's considered one of the most important cultural and historical documentaries of LGBTQ+ life, and was selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry in 2016.
2009 adaptation of the 1996 novel Push by Saphhire stars Gabourey Sidibe as Precious, a young woman facing obstacles at literally every point of her life. Raped by her stepfather, rejected by her mother, invisible at school, the only thing making the film bearable is the hope shining through in the form of one teacher and a social worker who are willing to fight for her when no-one else is.
Julianne Moore won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Alice Howland, a linguistics professor living with familial Alzheimer's disease. Based on Lisa Genova's novel of the same name, Still Alice explores the effects the disease has on a sharp, funny woman without bending to sentimentality.
Under the Shadow
The debut feature from Babak Anvari takes place in 1998 in Tehran, during the Iran-Iraq war. A mother and daughter are holed up in their apartment as combat rages outside, and soon the line between reality and fever dream becomes blurred. Viewers are drawn into the pair's nightmare as imagined possession from a djinn is juxtaposed against the very real horrors taking place outside their home.
Victoria's tagline is 'One Night. One City. One Take'. Director Sebastian Schipper filmed the entire thing in one go, focusing on the eponymous lead character, played by Laia Costa. Central to the whole story, the camera never leaves her as she finds herself, after a night out, caught up in an unexpected heist situation, but Victoria as a whole, is an exploration of one person rather than one situation.
Based on Cheryl Strayed's 2012 memoir, Wild stars Reece Witherspoon as a novice hiker out to find herself on a 1100-mile trek along the Pacific Crest Trail. Witherspoon picked up a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of a woman who makes her fair share of mistakes along the way, but who is never knocked from the path of refinding herself.
International Women's Day, 8 Mar.