The Oscars are coming up this weekend (Sunday, February 28) and as I’m sure you’re well aware that there have been complaints about the lack of representation of people of color in the acting nominations and just in films period. There’s another group of people that are sorely lacking in positive film images … single women.
Hollywood would have you believe that being single is the most miserable existence on earth. Who can forget the scene in It’s a Wonderful Life when George Bailey finds out that Mary has become a spinster and a librarian no less! He’d just found out that his brother died because he wasn’t there to save him, but apparently being a spinster is a fate worse than death. And how about Fatal Attraction? Glenn Close’s character terrorizes Michael Douglas after he breaks off their relationship. Did you know being single makes you crazy?
Whether you call yourself single, a spinster, a singleton or a bachelorette, there are plenty of movies about women who are living their best life and who just happen to be unmarried. Here are a few of my favorites.
Sex and the City: The Movie (2008)
If you were like me you loved the series and couldn’t wait to be reunited with these four famously fashionable New Yorkers. The big screen version of the hit TV series neatly wraps up the lives of the women who dealt with the joys and challenges of their on and off again single status. It’s a fun film that explores the fact that happily ever afters don’t always include a knight on a white steed and that your friends often become your family. As the film’s heroine, Carrie Bradshaw says, “Life doesn’t always turn out to be your fantasy. That’s why you need friendships that are real to get you through it.” Amen, sister!
Waiting to Exhale (1995)
When this book came out all my girlfriends devoured it and discussed it ad nauseam. When the movie came out we all went to see it and discussed it again. Starring Angela Bassett, Whitney Houston, Loretta Devine and Lela Rochon, the movie depicts four African American friends, who are in various stages of love, one is ending a marriage while others are trying to get into a relationship. It shows the real life emotions that go along with the entry into and exit out of a relationship and more importantly shows the resilience of friendships throughout all the changes in a woman’s life.
Elizabeth and the Golden Age (2007)
Staring Cate Blanchett as The Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I, this movie earned Blanchett an Oscar nomination for Best Actress – and it’s easy to see why. Her portrayal of one of history’s most powerful women – and best-known spinsters, a woman who refused to marry for political expediency or just to bear an heir, is brilliantly dramatic and riveting. It is the thrilling sequel to Elizabeth (1998), the Golden Globe and BAFTA award-winning film that chronicled the early years of Elizabeth I’s reign.
Coco Before Chanel (2009)
This Academy Award-winning French film stars Audrey Tautou as the legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel before her rise to fame. Unconventionally feisty, Coco truly was a woman well ahead of her time. She defined convention to take control of everything in her life, from her fledgling business to the men wanting to court her, and she shrugged off tradition and society’s expectations of a woman, flaunting her independence and singlehood – and succeeding wildly in the process.
This hilarious and at times silly movie stars Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow as best friends who’ve accomplished very little since high school. As their high school reunion nears the women reinvent themselves to seem more impressive. What they learn is how important their friendship is and to value themselves. Their dreams are focused on a new business venture and not necessarily finding a man. Not a bad night at a reunion.
The African Queen (1951)
Starring Katherine Hepburn, one of the silver screen’s most fiercely independent women, and Humphrey Bogart (who picked up a Best Actor Oscar for this role), The African Queen truly is a cinematic classic. It is an endearing tale of a seemingly implausible love between two very different people, one a gin-drinking steamboat captain and the other, a rather straight-laced missionary, who are forced to travel together in Africa just as World War I is breaking out.
What movies about single women inspire you?