Top Movies for Women: The Reel Story

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Film just wouldn’t be the same without women’s stories, movies geared toward women, written by women – cinema that guys usually groan at. So after hours of internet research, expert polling and box office comparisons, we have complied an eclectic list of the Top 10 movies for women. We hope you like them, but want to know your favorites (if they’re not on the list), too. Here are the films we came up with:
The Notebook
A sweeping love story told by a man (James Garner) reading from his faded notebook to a woman in a nursing home (Gena Rowlands). The Notebook follows the lives of two North Carolina teens from very different worlds who spend one indelible summer together before they are separated, first by her parents and then by WWII.

The Color Purple

The film takes place in the early 1900′s, at a time when blacks were still considered the inferior race. If you were a man, things weren’t as difficult: you owned property, you grew crops, you married, and you had children. But for women things were very much the opposite. As seen through Celie’s (Whoopi Goldberg) experiences since childhood, even young girls were not safe from the sexual advances of their fathers; after becoming pregnant twice by her own father, Celie has lost the ability to have children, and knows not the whereabouts of her two children, whom she named Olivia and Adam.

Out of Africa

Out of Africa is drawn from the life and writings of Danish author Isak Dinesen, who during the time that the film’s events occurred was known by her married name, Karen Blixen-Flecke. For convenience’s sake, Karen (Meryl_Streep) has married Baron Bor Blixen-Flecke (Klaus_Maria_Brandauer). In 1914, the Baron moves himself and his wife to a plantation in Nairobi, then leaves Karen to her own devices as he returns to his womanizing and drinking. Soon, Karen has fallen in love with charming white hunter Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford), who prefers a no-strings relationship. A woman who prides herself on her independence, Blixen finds herself unhappily in thrall to an aloof man — and doubly unhappy for living out such a cliché situation.

When Harry Met Sally

The thing that When Harry Met Sally does best is to keep the focus firmly on the relationship between the two title characters, never wandering off on unwelcome tangents. There are subplots, to be sure, but even those are crucial to the evolution of Harry and Sally’s friendship. And the film is not hamstrung by a litany of familiar romantic comedy clichés. None of these are in evidence: bouts of jealousy caused by the return of an old flame, one character misunderstanding something the other does, or interference from manipulative friends who think the protagonists don’t belong together. When Harry Met Sally offers an often humorous, occasionally poignant view of men, women, sex, love, and friendship.

Breakfast at Tiffanys

Breakfast at Tiffany’s uses a simple story to good effect. The film starts by introducing us to Holly as she window shops her way through Manhattan. Paul, an author with a bad case of writer’s block, is the new tenant in her building. The two meet on the morning Paul moves in, when he drops by to use Holly’s phone. Soon after, they become friends. One night, when a drunk man is banging threateningly on Holly’s door, she climbs the fire escape and slips into Paul’s apartment. As thanks for “rescuing” her, she invites him to a party, which turns into a loud, rowdy affair.

Pride and Prejudice

The Bennets are a moderately well-off, if slightly uncouth family living in late 18th century England. Mr. Bennet (Donald Sutherland) is getting on in years and if he dies his estate will go entirely to a distant cousin, the weasly Mr. Collins (Tom Hollander). The only way to prevent this is if at least one of his daughters marries well. So, when the aristocratic Mr. Bingley (Simon Woods) arrives in the area with his equally well-bred friend Mr. Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen), the women go into romance overdrive. While shy eldest sister Jane (Rosamund Pike) falls for the bumbling Bingley, the more independent and head-strong Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) clashes with the seemingly aloof and inaccessible Mr. Darcy. Could the verbal fencing between Elizabeth and Darcy be hiding their true feelings, and if it is, can it and the other sisters’ relationships survive the rigid and snobbish class structure of the time?

Pretty Woman

Edward (Richard Gere) has bought and paid for virtually every relationship in his adult life; he treats everyone around him like an employee. While in LA for a week, he hires Vivian (Julia Roberts) to be his “date” for a series of business functions, including a fancy dinner and a polo match. Out of the bargain, she gets $3000 cash, a makeover, new clothes and a crash course in what fork to use. Unavoidably, they both get more than they bargained for because — surprise! — they fall in love. And that changes everything.

The English Patient

Adapted from Michael Ondaatje’s Booker Prize-winning poetic novel, The English Patient, a brooding, elliptical, mosaically structured love-and-war epic, shows us the most fervid stirrings of passion being ripped apart by disaster. Planes are shot out of the sky, a woman is blown to bits by a land mine, and a globe-trotting loner, having found the love of his life (they bond while getting buried in a sandstorm), loses not only that love but his face — he’s burned beyond recognition, turned into a scarred husk of a man who can only dream of what was.

Beauty and the Beast

A selfish prince (voiced by Robby Benson) lives under the curse of a righteous witch: that he be a beast, confined to his castle, until he can love and be loved. Pretty Belle (Paige O’Hara) will be his cure — if she can shake off her revulsion at being his prisoner and shiver out of the clutches of Gaston (Richard White), a way-too-handsome galoot. In effect, she is trapped between two wolf men. She can see through Gaston’s looking-glass ego, but it takes time for her to find the vulnerability within the Beast’s barbaric, heroic grief. He must be feared, then pitied, and finally loved.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Evelyn Couch (Kathy Bates), a dowdy, unhappily married woman with low self-esteem, who during a visit to a nursing home meets a sparkling old lady named Miz Threadgoode (Jessica Tandy). They start to talking, and before long Evelyn looks forward to her Wednesday visits, at which the old lady makes a continued story out of the sensational events of half a century ago in the town of Whistle Stop, Ga.

With so many great movies and so few spots, we might have missed some of your favorites. Let us know what film or films you would add to the list.

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