It is fair to say that there are not as many female fronted movies on the big screen as we would like, but when they do come along, they are a true movie treat.

The Falling

The Falling

Slowly, we are being to see more studios and more directors tackling movies that boast powerful female lead characters and terrific female casts - not to mention they have been a big box office success in recent years.

Carol Morley is doing just that with her new feature The Falling, which sees her team up with Maisie Williams Florence Pugh, and Maxine Peake. We take a look at some of the best female-fronted films that have hit the big screen over the years.

- The Color Purple

Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Alice Walker, The Color Purple hit the big screen back in 1986 and saw Steven Spielberg back in the director's chair.

This heart-warming (and at times heartbreaking) period drama spans the years 1909 to 1949 and follows the trials and tribulations of Celie (Whoopi Goldberg), a young African American woman struggling with the difficulties of living in early 1900s USA. Through the friendship of two strong women, her bleak outlook is slowly turned around and she finds the strength she needs to make her situation better.

The movie tackles themes of poverty, racism, and sexism in a way that will break your heart and yet leaves you incredible inspired. Throw in a knockout performance from Goldberg and you have a truly unmissable movie. For me, The Color Purple remains Goldberg's greatest big screen performances.

The Color Purple is a raw, real, and honest movie that is both beautifully directed and acted. It was nominated for a massive 11 Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards, and Goldberg deservedly took home the gong for Best Actress (Drama).

The Color Purple

- Brave

Brave was an important movie moment back in 2012 as it was the first time that a female character had led a Pixar film. She was also unlike any other Disney princess that we had met before.

Merida was one of the strongest female characters to grace the big screen in 2012 - she was a young woman who knew who she was, what she wanted, and wouldn't be bullied into being someone she wasn't or doing something she didn't agree with.

She is a fiesty, powerful, and independent character that changed the animation heroine forever - she joined the parade of Disney princesses that we have been treated to over the years, however, she is my favourite.

Brave was also a movie about the mother/daughter relationship and how often it is put to the test. The men in the story very much - and rather refreshingly - taking a back seat in this film.

Brave is a movie about coming of age, mending a broken relationship and being ready to see things from another person's perspective. Once again, Pixar have waved their magic and created a truly delightful movie that is fun as well as incredibly moving - the animation is also truly stunning.

It became a great hit amongst fans and on the awards circuit, winning the Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA Award for Best Feature Film.

Brave

- The Hours

With three of Hollywood's biggest female stars fronting a film, there really is no need for anything else. Luckily though, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman were gifted with a host of flawless co-stars, a fantastic script, moving, powerful story (well, three actually) and an elite director (Stephen Daldry). The recipe was destined for complete success, and that's what it became.

The film tells how the story of three women, all of different generations, and how their lives interconnect through the story Mrs Dalloway. Streep plays a New Yorker in 2001, who is fraying at the edges as she puts together an award party for her friend who is suffering from AIDs. Moore plays a frustrated an unhappy pregnant housewife in 1950s California, and Kidman plays Virginia Woolf herself, as she battles mental illness and depression in 1920s England.

The Hours really did show off Kidman, Moore, and Streep at their best as this trio of Best Actress Oscar winning stars delivered incredibly real and emotional films. It is a totally engrossing movie as we are pulled into the lives of Virginia Woolf, Clarissa Vaughan, and Laura Brown - each story is powerful, poignant with the lead actresses on top form.

The film, which is based on Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name, earned widespread critical acclaim and was nominated for and won multiple awards, including nine Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director for Daldry, Best Actress for Kidman, and Best Supporting Actress for Moore.

However, The Hours would win just one Oscar on the night as Kidman waltzed away with her first Best Actress gong.

The Hours

- The Help

Tate Taylor returned to the director's chair back in 2011 with The Help, which was only the second feature film of his directing career.

The Help was a big screen adaptation of the novel of the same name by Kathryn Stockett and is set in Jackson, Mississippi, during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The Help tells the story of a young white journalist who bridges a gap between herself and two black maids by writing a book about the struggles they face from their own point of view.

The Help was one of the best movies that I saw in 2011, and it deals with some interesting themes, tells a fascinating story, and sees a great cast on fine form. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer deliver terrific performances as maids Aibileen and Milly, while Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain, and Bryce Dallas Howard are also terrific.

The Help is a movie that does justice to the book but also further highlights - even though it is a work of fiction - what the African American community endured during this period before going on to fight for their rights.

It is the women, their stories, their friendship, and their bravery that is the real heart and soul of The Help - the men are there as nothing more than a little bit of background noise - and there really should me more movies like this made.

The Help went on to be nominated for four Oscars - including Best Picture - and Spencer would triumph in the Best Supporting Actress category.

The Help

- The Hunger Games Franchise

We have seen a while host of young adult novels adapted for the big screen in recent years, but none has enjoyed more critical and commercial success than The Hunger Games.

While Jennifer Lawrence has already picked up an Oscar nomination in Winter's Bone, it was to be The Hunger Games series and the character of Katniss Everdeen that was to turn her into a global superstar. She took on the role of Katniss for the first time back in 2012, and she has gone on to be one of the most iconic female characters in recent years.

We've all watched with awe as our favourite heroine overcomes the absolute adversity in a dystopian post-apocalyptic future, where she finds herself battling for survival in an artificial battleground where there is only one winner.

Through the whole franchise, we have seen the strength as well as the vulnerability of Katniss, who had heroine status thrust upon her and never wanted to be the symbol of a revolution. And even though this is not the path she would have chosen for herself, Katniss is ready to fight for injustice and become the weapon of the rebels against the capital.

So far, The Hunger Games franchise has grossed in excess of $2.3 billion at the global box office so far, and the franchise will come to an epic conclusion this autumn with The Hunger Game: Mockingjay - Part 2.

The Hunger Games

- Steel Magnolias

Twenty-five years ago, Steel Magnolias captivated audiences with its heartbreaking yet laugh filled story about a group of women from Louisiana dealing with a tragedy.

Adapted from the Broadway play of the same name, the writer Robert Harding based the story on his own real life experience of his sister's death and has said the name is to suggest that the women are as delicate as a flower and as tough as steel.

The film demonstrates the strength of female friendships and is ultimately a warm and uplifting tale about how friends are there to share and laugh in the good times and bad.

The film earned widespread critical acclaim and many agree that it is one of the best film representations of female friendships.

Steel Magnolias

- The Falling

Set in 1969 in a rural British girls' school, The Falling explores what lies behind a mysterious fainting and twitching outbreak that rapidly spreads amongst the pupils.

At the centre of the epidemic are intense and clever Lydia Lamont (Maisie Williams) and admired and rebellious Abbie Mortimer (Florence Pugh), both sixteen years old.

They carve their initials into a majestic English oak tree, which leans over a magical pond, and vow never to lose touch. But Lydia already feels that Abbie is drifting away from her and soon her fears are confirmed.

The all girl's school pits strong females against each other as the hard-nosed faculty face off against pupils determined that an epidemic of fainting spells is real.

The Falling

Other terrific female led movies include Bridesmaids, The Heat, Lucy, Spirited Away, Frozen, and Black Swan.

The Falling is coming to UK cinemas 24 April


by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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