The conventional movie with a female lead centers around her pursuit to find a man and features a budding love story. They also tend to portray women as one-dimensional or stereotypical archetypes. Chick flicks, as they’re often labeled, are movies that appeal mainly to women. Most people think of rom-coms and love stories when they think of chick flicks. However, there is another type of chick flick on the rise that adds refreshing depth to female characters and their relationships with one another: movies about female friendships.
Female friendship films celebrate the powerful relationships women can have with one another. They explore the bonds of friendship that can be created and tested in life but ultimately endure through a powerful attachment to each other. Here are the 24 best movies about the importance of female friendships and the heartwarming lessons we can learn from them.
If you’re in the mood for an absurd comedy that doesn’t pull any of its punches, then Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is the movie for you. The film is about two lifelong friends, Barb and Star, who embark on the adventure of a lifetime when they decide to leave their small Midwestern town for the first time – ever. Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is a bizarre screwball comedy that is unashamed of its silliness.
In the vein of Bridesmaids or The Hangover, Girls Trip is a wild comedy that focuses on the friendships between four women. Starring Tiffany Haddish, Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, and Jada Pinkett Smith, the film is about four lifelong friends who travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival. Girls Trip is an explicit and hilarious ride that is worth taking.
Hustlers is an unorthodox movie about female friendship. The film is visually dazzling and manages to tell a high-end crime story. Inspired by the viral New York Magazine article, Hustlers follows a crew of savvy former strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients. Jennifer Lopez gives a career-defining performance as Ramona Vega and Constance Wu is also excellent as Destiny.
This film takes a lighthearted approach to its tale about friendship and young adulthood. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is about four best girlfriends who hatch a plan to stay connected with one another as their lives start off in different directions: to pass around a pair of secondhand jeans that fits each of their bodies perfectly. The dramedy will inspire you by its portrayal of long-lasting friendship.
Sofia Coppola is mostly known for her role in The Godfather Part III but after that movie, she directed a film that is now considered a cult classic. The Virgin Suicides is about a group of male friends who become obsessed with five mysterious sisters who are sheltered by their strict, religious parents in suburban Detroit in the mid-1970s. The film’s emotional struggle is surprisingly complex, with absence, sorrow, and memory as its backdrop.
Plan B is another entry in a surprisingly emerging subgenre: the abortion road trip. The film is a comedy that tells the story of a straight-laced high school student and her slacker best friend who, after a regrettable first sexual encounter, have 24 hours to hunt down a Plan B pill in America’s heartland. Plan B is a hilarious journey with actresses that give authentic performances as best friends.
Bridesmaids proved that a comedy with a female-led cast can be just as successful as a male-led one. SNL stars Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph star in the film along with Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson. Bridesmaids centers around a competition between a maid of honor and a bridesmaid over who is the bride’s best friend, which spirals out of control and threatens to upend the life of an out-of-work pastry chef. The comedy became an instant classic that launched the careers of many current comedic actresses.
Girl, Interrupted tells the real story of Susanna Kaysen and her 18-month stay in a mental hospital in the late 1960s. The film taps into the female friendship genre as Susanna makes friends with Lisa (Angelina Jolie) and others in the hospital. Winona Ryder won Best Actress in 2000 for the film. The actresses in the mental hospital deliver realistic performances and will make you feel as if you are in the mental hospital with them.
It’s an unfortunate reality that many notable women have been overlooked in history. Only recently we have begun to examine history a little closer to see what accomplishments by women have been erased or minimized. Hidden Figures is a film that tells the story of three brilliant African-American women who played an integral role in NASA during the early days of the space program. Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe deliver powerful performances in the stirring true story. Hidden Figures is a representation of the outstanding achievements of not only women but also African-American women throughout history.
Booksmart is a coming-of-age comedy similar to Superbad. The film is reflective of the current young generations and the rising culture of acceptance of any and all types of people. The movie is about two academic superstar best friends who realize they should have played more in high school and decide to cram four years of fun into one night. Booksmart is fast-paced, humorous, and a whole lot of fun.
Frances Ha provides a quirky look at the late 20’s angst and also depicts the relationships of two female best friends who despite both being heterosexual consider themselves to be like an old, married, lesbian couple who don’t have sex with each other. The movie is about a New York woman who apprentices for a dance company (though she’s not really a dancer) and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as the possibility of realizing them dwindles. Greta Gerwig writes and stars in the film as the bizarre main character.
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Impressing your peers at a high school reunion is something that most people can relate to and Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion is about exactly that. The film is about two dim-witted, inseparable friends who hit the road for their ten-year high school reunion and concoct an elaborate lie about their lives in order to impress their classmates. The movie demonstrates how a friendship bond can last a lifetime.
Starring Steve Buscemi, Thora Birch, and a young Scarlett Johansson, Ghost World puts an emphasis on how friends come together and drift apart. The film is about two unusually devious friends who seek direction in life and respond to a man’s newspaper ad for a date, only to find it will greatly complicate their lives. Ghost World reveals how complicated friendships can be and does it with humor and intelligence.
Thoroughbreds manages to combine comedy with thrilling twists that are dark. At the core of the film are the relationships between two teenage girls who rekindle their friendships after years. The film is about two upper-class teenage girls in suburban Connecticut who rekindle their unlikely friendship after years of growing apart and hatch a plan to solve both of their problems-no matter what the cost. Thoroughbreds may seem fun but actually turns out to be a chilling thriller.
This musical’s strength is not in the story but in the performed music and the group chemistry within the all-female singing team. Pitch Perfect is about a freshman who joins The Bellas, the school’s all-girl singing group, and injects some much needed energy into their repertoire, which helps them take on their male rivals in a campus competition. The film is full of witty banter and great energy that makes it a joy to watch.
The Help was based on the book of the same name written by Gute Geister. The film demonstrates the hardships African American women had to endure in the 1960s and the friendships made that sometimes crossed racial lines. The movie is about an aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s who decides to write a book detailing the African American maids’ point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis. The Help is an emotional rollercoaster that highlights the racial discrimination and prejudices that makes up America’s history.
Female friendship is at the core of Heavenly Creatures. Starring a young Kate Winslet, the film is a mystery thriller about two teenage girls who share a unique bond; their parents, concerned that the friendship is too intense, separate them, and the girls take revenge. Heavenly Creatures is dark, stylish, and one of Peter Jackson’s best films.
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Marilyn Monroe’s performance in Gentlemen Prefer Blonde is one of her most recognized performances. The film was not only comedic and had catchy tunes but it also centered on the friendship between two showgirls, Lorelei and Dorothy. The film is about showgirls Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw who travel to Paris and are pursued by a private detective hired by the suspicious father of Lorelei’s fiancé as well as a rich, enamored old man and many other doting admirers.
Set It Off has engaging and compelling characters that also manage to give a voice to the working black female in America. The movie is about four inner-city women whose desperation drives them to rob a bank in Los Angeles, then they start mistrusting each other. Set It Off has an amazing cast and a socially conscious message that you don’t see everyday.
The Color Purple is an adaptation of the book of the same name written by Alice Walker. Steven Spielberg directed the film which was his first huge departure from the blockbuster films he was used to. The movie is about a black Southern woman who struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her father and others over four decades. The Color Purple is not a joyful story but it does communicate the power of female friendships in the face of oppression.
Steel Magnolias is a film that is centered around the friendship of six middle-aged women. The film is light-hearted, full of comedy, and balances the melodrama well. The movie is about a young beautician, newly arrived in a small Louisiana town, who finds work at the local salon, where a small group of women share a close bond of friendship, and welcome her into the fold. The characters of Steel Magnolias will find their way into your heart and deliver memorable one-liners.
Lady Bird may mostly be about a teenage girl’s relationship with her mother but there is also a strong female friendship that entertains throughout the film. The movie follows a teenager who navigates a loving but turbulent relationship with her strong-willed mother over the course of an eventful and poignant senior year of high school. Coming of age movies may seem like a genre that has no more cards to show but Lady Bird proves that there are still plenty of unique movies that can be made in the genre.
Beaches is a film about enduring friendship. It’s about the highs, the lows, and the stresses that a good friendship can withstand and grow stronger from. The movie is about a privileged rich debutante and a cynical struggling entertainer that share a turbulent, but strong childhood friendship over the years. At the core of the film, Beaches is celebrating the joy an unlikely friendship brings.
Girlhood is a coming-of-age story that is told from a completely fresh perspective. The film is french and gives a voice to the black women living in the projects in Paris. The movie is about a girl with a few real prospects who joins a gang, reinventing herself and gaining a sense of self-confidence in the process. However, she soon finds that this new life does not necessarily make her any happier. Girlhood manages to capture how it feels to even briefly belong somewhere.
Society tends to focus on romantic relationships but friendships have an equal importance in our lives. These 24 movies may have some romance in them but they also often portray female friendships as being just as rich and valuable as any other relationship. We hope these 24 movies about female friendship bring you happiness, laughter, and maybe a few tears.
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