All the crazy ladies (don't put a ring on it)
July 21, 2010 11:38 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for more movies of a specific crazy/independent lady vibe, and this vague vibe spans genre: I want movies about women folk, especially ones with a witty or dark streak. I'm thinking of films like Heathers, Secretary, The Piano, Portrait of a Lady, Virgin Suicides, All About Eve, Winter's Bone and Ghost World. What else should I see?

Question is spurred by my recent rewatching of The Piano! Off the top of my head, other examples include Closer, Bluebeard, Lost in Translation, Lovely & Amazing, Bright Star, and Frida.

The movie must pay close attention to the inner machinations of a female character, and less-than-mainstream is a plus since I've seen most of the movies that share the same directors or screenwriters as the films listed above.

For whatever reason, I really disliked Amélie, which seems to be the standard recommendation when I ask around for new movies.

Thank you in advance!
posted by zoomorphic to Media & Arts (111 answers total) 98 users marked this as a favorite
The Last Mistress.
Morvern Callar.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:41 AM on July 21, 2010

Muriel's Wedding, La Femme Nikita (original French version), Revolutionary Road, anything Miranda July.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:44 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Maybe Harold and Maude?
posted by jon1270 at 11:46 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: SWEETIE. Run, don't walk, to your Netflix queue. (If they even have it!) So terrific.

Also the greatest lady film of all time, Crush, NOT "The Crush," Crush, the 1992 film... with Marcia Gay Harden! Best movie EVER.

Pre-nthing Muriel's Wedding.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 11:47 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hmm, also maybe Bound? It's less "quirky" and more noir/crime but does star Gina Gershon as a hot lesbian plumber turned accomplice!
posted by RJ Reynolds at 11:50 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Perhaps Desperately Seeking Susan.
posted by Melismata at 11:51 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oh God, Heavenly Creatures! (Sorry I will be back up in this thread all day possibly--this is my favorite genre too.)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 11:51 AM on July 21, 2010

Best answer: Mrs. Henderson Presents
Maybe Notes on a Scandal?

Good golly I love Judi Dench.
posted by geekchic at 11:53 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Last Seduction
posted by rakish_yet_centered at 11:54 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Auntie Mame (1958) is fantastic.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:55 AM on July 21, 2010 [3 favorites]

Nthing Bound -- great movie. Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon are amazing, and it really stands the test of time.

Have you tried Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown? It's in Spanish, but most versions have subtitles. It's dated, but still great.
posted by shamash at 11:55 AM on July 21, 2010

Safe! How could I forget? The greatest, the flick that made Julianne Moore a star, rightly. Also maybe The Brave One, for something more recent.

If you want to delve over to horror, Ms. 45.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 11:55 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Margot at the Wedding would fit the bill very, very well.
posted by thisjax at 11:55 AM on July 21, 2010

Secret Society
The Secret Garden
Kiki's Delivery Service
Girl, Interrupted
Muriel's Wedding
Orlando (gender bending)
Party Girl
Whale Rider

A couple of these might be a little more ethereal than you like (given that Amelie wasn't your thing).
posted by kimdog at 11:57 AM on July 21, 2010

Best answer: Slums of Beverly Hills maybe?
posted by burnmp3s at 11:57 AM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: It's funny, because the first movie I thought of reading the beginning of your question was Mike Leigh's superb Happy Go Lucky from a few years ago. At the end, you mention that you really disliked Amélie; I actually despised it myself, and I tend to recommend Happy Go Lucky as a kind of 'Amélie done right,' featuring a slightly similar (although much more believable and real) character experiencing things that women, y'know, actually experience – weird, scary, creepy sexism that's totally unexpected and not easy to deal with, strange social pressures, etc. It is not precisely dark, although there are things in it that genuinely made me uncomfortable in the way I often feel uncomfortable watching Mike Leigh movies because a lot of stuff is just very real. I have a feeling you might like it. Leigh is a director who I believe is better at actually focusing on women than any other I know of, although Happy Go Lucky is his only film that I think focuses pretty much exclusively on one woman.
posted by koeselitz at 12:02 PM on July 21, 2010 [7 favorites]

I would recomend The Story of Women. It's a film about an abortionist in Vichy France, so(as I'm sure you've guessed) it's not exactly sunshine and happiness throughout. That said, it is just a wonderful film, easily ranking among my Top 20 of all time.
posted by Gin and Comics at 12:02 PM on July 21, 2010

Best answer: The recent movie Julia, starring Tilda Swinton.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:03 PM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Notes On a Scandal
Robert Altman's Three Women
Beloved (yes, THAT Beloved)
posted by hermitosis at 12:03 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You seem to share a lot of my taste in movies (including not liking Amelie). I recommend these:

Heavenly Creatures (a great movie and exactly what you're looking for)
Serial Mom
Run Lola Run
After Hours

* This underrated Martin Scorsese movie might not seem to fit your criteria since it's strongly driven by a lone male character, but the movie has several fascinating female characters that I imagine you'd like.

Bringing Up Baby

** You might think this suggestion is off-base for the first 30-60 minutes, but you'll be convinced by the end!
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:03 PM on July 21, 2010

Seconding Julia and Morvern Callar!
posted by hermitosis at 12:05 PM on July 21, 2010

Best answer: One more:
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:07 PM on July 21, 2010

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane [link gives spoilers ]
Jodie Foster, playing a 13 year-old who brings new meaning to the words independent living.
posted by girlpublisher at 12:08 PM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

Fucking Amal / Show Me Love - and bonus, it's available on Netflix streaming.
posted by valeries at 12:09 PM on July 21, 2010

And no-one has mentioned Tomb Raider!
posted by TheRaven at 12:11 PM on July 21, 2010

Chocolat ? As a corollary, most of Joanne Harris's books fit this as well.
posted by cobaltnine at 12:13 PM on July 21, 2010

Best answer: An Angel at My Table, another Jane Campion film about New Zealand author Janet Frame; and My Brilliant Career, a Gillian Armstrong film based on a book of the same name by Australian author Miles Franklin. Both are terrific films.
posted by hot soup girl at 12:17 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Dammit, I wanted to be the one to recommend Auntie Mame.
posted by Sara C. at 12:18 PM on July 21, 2010

Frozen River.
Mildred Pierce.
All About My Mother. (And really all of the Almodovar films that were made after that, too, except maybe Bad Education. Which is also a good movie that has a lot to say about sex and gender--it just isn't quite what you're asking for.)
posted by bcwinters at 12:18 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oh, and what about something from director François Ozon? Like Under the Sand or Swimming Pool, both with the amazing Charlotte Rampling.

Ooh and a little Tilda Swinton, maybe The Deep End or more recently I Am Love?
posted by bcwinters at 12:23 PM on July 21, 2010

I think I've recommended Volver at least a dozen times on AskMefi, but it's a fantastic movie, and above all, is about women taking care of themselves.
posted by Alison at 12:28 PM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

Krzysztof Kieslowśki's filmography is full of wonderful, female-centered, haunting, compassionate movies just like this. Try first The Double Life of Véronique, starring Irène Jacob; also, Blue and Red from the Three Colors trilogy, starring Juliette Binoche and Irène Jacob respectively.
posted by cirripede at 12:28 PM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

My first impulse was Auntie Mame


Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is one of my all time favorite movies. Beautiful and fun to watch, and includes all sorts of strong/damaged/independent women

It's a must see and if he's your flavor, includes a very young Antonio Banderas.
posted by newpotato at 12:29 PM on July 21, 2010


Sally Bowles isn't exactly the most sympathetic character. But then, who in this movie is?
posted by Sara C. at 12:29 PM on July 21, 2010

Run Lola Run
posted by mikepop at 12:29 PM on July 21, 2010

Best answer: Rachel Getting Married
posted by cushie at 12:30 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also, all the Nicole Holofcener movies (Walking and Talking, and Please Give, as well as Lovely and Amazing mentioned above).
posted by cushie at 12:31 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This is one of my favorite genres also. Rather than break it down by subject matter, it will probably be most helpful to break it down by woman. Each of these women is special to me in their own magical way. And each tends toward projects that probably fit your description.

Bette Davis
All About Eve
The Star
Now, Voyager
Dark Victory
Mr. Skeffington
Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane

Joan Crawford
The Women
Mildred Pierce
Queen Bee
(Whatever Happened to Baby Jane)

Julie Andrews
The Americanization of Emily
Thoroughly Modern Millie

Maggie Smith
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Ladies in Lavender

Judi Dench
Mrs. Henderson Presents
Notes on a Scandal
(Ladies in Lavender)

Helen Mirren
The Queen
Elizabeth I (2005)
The Prime Suspect series

Annette Bening
Being Julia
Mother & Child
American Beauty
Mrs. Harris

Meryl Streep
A Cry In the Dark

Tilda Swinton
I Am Love (in theaters now!)

See Also:

Julia [Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave] (1977)
Troop Beverly Hills [Shelly Long antics] (1989)
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont [an adorable dottering old Joan Plowright] (2005)
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day [Amy Adams and Frances McDormand!] (2008)
Friends With Money [ensemble, but fantastic characters] (2006)
posted by greekphilosophy at 12:33 PM on July 21, 2010 [3 favorites]

In the "classics" vein I'm also going to add The Women (the original) and His Girl Friday.

I'm also thinking about Chloe Sevigny & Kate Beckinsale in The Last Days of Disco for some reason. Although maybe that wouldn't pass the Bechdel Test.
posted by bcwinters at 12:35 PM on July 21, 2010

Best answer: omfg how can we all have forgotten Grey Gardens?!
posted by greekphilosophy at 12:36 PM on July 21, 2010 [3 favorites]

Not as 'crazy lady vibe' as Run Lola Run, but The Princess and the Warrior (Der Krieger und die Kaiserin), also with Franka Potente, is a good one.
posted by blake137 at 12:38 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Jennifers Body
posted by Artw at 12:43 PM on July 21, 2010

3 women was the first [wonderful] movie that popped into my head when reading your question.

And once I had Sissy Spacek on the brain, I thought of 'night, Mother.

Also, Tideland and The Color Purple .
posted by eunoia at 12:45 PM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

3 Women? HA! Try 8 Women if you want crazy French women singing and dancing while trying to solve a mystery and stay alive!
posted by greekphilosophy at 12:47 PM on July 21, 2010

Y tu Mama Tambien. La Vie en Rose.
posted by WeekendJen at 12:52 PM on July 21, 2010

Citizen Ruth.
The Opposite of Sex.
posted by 8dot3 at 12:54 PM on July 21, 2010

Maybe more like a crazy couple (Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor): Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
posted by blairsyprofane at 12:55 PM on July 21, 2010

Best answer: Three Women, some Bergman movies, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Catherine Breillat's stuff, Chantal Akerman's, L'ecole, maybe Mai Zetterling's, Spirit of the Beehive, Safe, Sense & Sensibility, My Name is Oona, La Femme Nikita (yes!), Kieslowski, some Rohmer...and I'd argue for A Woman Under the Influence. Oh, and The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant and the entire BRD trilogy, esp. Marriage of Maria Braun. Arguably Hiroshima mon amour too, but it's iffy depending on how much the inner life has to independent of men. Kiki's Delivery Service and Bound are great suggestions too.
posted by ifjuly at 12:56 PM on July 21, 2010

I can't believe no one thought of Candy.
posted by timsteil at 12:57 PM on July 21, 2010

The works of Agnès Varda: Cléo from 5 to 7, Happiness, and Vagabond, in particular--all three are in her recent Criterion box set. And The Gleaners & I is a fantastic documentary of hers that is really all about her own state of mind.
posted by bcwinters at 1:01 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thelma and Louise?
posted by Anitanola at 1:02 PM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

The Lonely Passions of Judith Hearne
Double Indemnity
The Lady Eve
Fanny and Alexander
I, Claudius
Hannah and Her Sisters
posted by grumblebee at 1:06 PM on July 21, 2010

Set It Off

A couple in the lesbian category that aren't Bound:
The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love
The Midwife's Tale
posted by 8dot3 at 1:08 PM on July 21, 2010

Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion
Rock and Roll High School
Firefly and Serenity have lots of strong (and a few crazy) female characters
Almost Famous
500 Days of Summer
Hard Candy
Pieces of April
Drop Dead Gorgeous

And The Kids Are Alright currently in theaters.
posted by cross_impact at 1:11 PM on July 21, 2010

Best answer: Antonia's Line - magic-realist Dutch matriarchy, with some really grim bits
posted by runincircles at 1:11 PM on July 21, 2010

If you're going to watch Hairspray, make it the real thing. Though I haven't seen the recent version, so maybe I'm being unfair. Still. Divine beats John Travolta any day of the week.

Seconding the Prime Suspect series. Also, if you're delving into TV, AbFab, sweetiedarling!
posted by Sara C. at 1:23 PM on July 21, 2010

Best answer: Highway 61--dark comedy road movie about a con artist who ropes a small town barber into helping transport her brother's corpse across the Canada/US border.
Pan's Labyrinth--about a young girl suffering through war and abuse who periodically escapes into a dark mythological world.
I've Loved You So Long--about a woman who goes to live with her sister after being released from prison.
The Tracey Fragments--about a young girl trying to find her brother; told in flashbacks and fragments.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo--main female character is a smart, eccentric, introverted loner who becomes involved in a cold case investigation (caveat: very graphic, but IMO non-gratuitous violence).
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:24 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by crickets at 1:26 PM on July 21, 2010

His Girl Friday
Rachel Getting Married
Tideland (warning: terry gilliam flick about a little girl in a very fucked up situation. super dark.)
Lady Vengeance (Korean. At times disturbing. At times violent. Part of a trilogy, though you can see it without seeing the other two.)
probably will reply again later when I think of more.
posted by shmegegge at 1:30 PM on July 21, 2010

The Dreamlife of Angels
posted by clavicle at 1:37 PM on July 21, 2010

Suggestions emailed by my brother:
Mulholland Drive
Cries & Whispers
Sunset Boulevard
Mommie Dearest
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:47 PM on July 21, 2010

I Am Dina. Dark, beautiful and bizarre but kind of wonderful.
posted by merocet at 1:47 PM on July 21, 2010

Maybe Dancer in the Dark (surprised to not see it recommended yet)
posted by General Malaise at 2:09 PM on July 21, 2010

whoopi goldberg's the telephone.
posted by nomisxid at 2:13 PM on July 21, 2010

Maybe Dancer in the Dark (surprised to not see it recommended yet)

Well if that counts I'm going to recommend Nicole Kidman in the last five minutes of Dogville.

I like to think of it as an origin story.
posted by Artw at 2:16 PM on July 21, 2010

Best answer: The Madwoman of Chaillot
The Lion in Winter
posted by pentagoet at 2:27 PM on July 21, 2010

I'll second Artw and Jennifer's Body. I had low expectations and was surprised that I actually liked it. It reminded me of Heathers in some ways.
posted by waitangi at 2:54 PM on July 21, 2010

Yeah, that's pretty much why it came to mind in the context of this question.
posted by Artw at 2:55 PM on July 21, 2010

Oh, I just thought of another that might or might not be what you want: The Player. Does June Gudmunsdottir count?
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:59 PM on July 21, 2010

Best answer: I also hate Amelie, and I strongly second All About My Mother. For extra fun, watch Cassavetes' Opening Night first, as it is also exactly what you're asking for, and Almodovar makes strong reference to it in his film. You can choose basically any Cassavetes film with Gena Rowlands in the lead and get what you're looking for.

Educating Rita. Gas Food Lodging. Ruby in Paradise. Passion Fish. Smilla's Sense of Snow. Eve's Bayou. The Glass Menagerie.
posted by heatvision at 3:00 PM on July 21, 2010

The Hours
posted by Miss Otis' Egrets at 3:11 PM on July 21, 2010

I've Heard The Mermaids Singing? Might be a little too much on the cute side for you, though.
posted by sculpin at 3:19 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

High Art.

I can't decide whether Little Voice is close enough to your criteria (particularly "independent") but maybe.

Girlfight is grittier/less polished than the films you list, but I think you might like it.
posted by EvaDestruction at 3:27 PM on July 21, 2010

Whip It
posted by Artw at 3:36 PM on July 21, 2010

Holy GOD, yes, "Citizen Ruth." That is a bonafide for-sure movie for you.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 3:49 PM on July 21, 2010

Baghdad Cafe

Nthing The Lion of Winter and Helen Mirren in Elizabeth I

Although in the end, they both require Hepburn to capitulate to rather sexist social norms, I would still recommend: The Philadelphia Story and Adam's Rib

Oh, and Desk Set also.
posted by marsha56 at 4:14 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Single White Female. That woman was crazy.
posted by patheral at 4:33 PM on July 21, 2010

Sin Noticias de Dios.
posted by elizardbits at 4:41 PM on July 21, 2010

Well, contrary to RJ Reynolds, above, I *do* think you should seek out The Crush. Alicia Silverstone's character's machinations are hilarious in all sorts of awful ways. And I second one of kimdog's suggestions, Election.
posted by jocelmeow at 4:59 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I haven't seen Pretty Persuasion, but it was recently recommended to me and sounds intriguing. Sort of Heathers meets Hard Candy in a teensploitation send-up judging by the IMDB quotations.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:55 PM on July 21, 2010

Pretty Persuasion definitely fits the bill.
posted by LittlePumpkin at 6:46 PM on July 21, 2010

Amelie was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life, so fuck you, haters.

Getting REALLY dark:

Alexandra's Project
posted by ethnomethodologist at 7:01 PM on July 21, 2010

Best answer: Dolores Clayborn
The House of Yes
posted by greekphilosophy at 7:48 PM on July 21, 2010

Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus
posted by greekphilosophy at 7:50 PM on July 21, 2010

Response by poster: Holy crap, everyone, these are great suggestions. Thank you, thank you! I'm marking many best answers tomorrow and beyond, but because some of these are swimming inside longer lists, I'm tallying up my green lights so far:

Tilda Swinton's Julia
I am Love
Happy Go Lucky
Heavenly Creatures
Vicky Christy Barcelona
Three Women
Slums of Beverly Hills
Pretty Persuasion
Auntie Mame
Margot at the Wedding
The Double Life of Veronique
The Women
Jennifer's Body (I'm skeptical, but so were you guys, apparently!)
Citizen Ruth
Antonia's Line
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I've Loved You So Long
Lion in Winter

Suggested movies that I've already seen and really liked: Notes on a Scandal, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, Orlando, the Miyazaki canon, Elizabeth I, Run Lola Run, The Three Colors Trilogy, The Color Purple, Beloved, Smilla's Sense of Snow, Y Tu Mama, many others that I missed. Good taste, everyone.
posted by zoomorphic at 8:54 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Leon (The Professional)
posted by Soliloquy at 9:04 PM on July 21, 2010

Steel Magnolias
In the Company of Strangers
In Her Shoes
posted by mausburger at 9:37 PM on July 21, 2010

Nthing Muriel's Wedding, Safe, Citizen Ruth, and ESPECIALLY the wonderful wonderful The Last Seduction. Linda Fiorentino killed me in that movie.

So much that I also want to say watch Kevin Smith's Dogma, just for her.

You might also try Junebug, with Amy Adams, but I think you want something darker.

Also, for The Virgin Suicides and The Handmaid's Tale I can't recommend the books over the movies highly enough.
posted by kostia at 10:11 PM on July 21, 2010


That's a great little horror film that seemed to get no visibility whatsoever.

In a similar vein, but with more hair and teeth, Ginger Snaps.

Avoid the sequel.
posted by Artw at 10:36 PM on July 21, 2010

Best answer: There is a really excellent Michelangelo Antonioni trilogy: L'Avventura, La Notte, and L'Eclisse. Monica Vitti and Jeanne Moreau play the leads, and each story feels like it portrays the women's experiences particularly intimately. I love all three films, but L'Eclisse is my favorite.
posted by so_gracefully at 10:50 PM on July 21, 2010

Baby Face, Ball of Fire and the Lady Eve with Barbara Stanwyck
posted by brujita at 11:22 PM on July 21, 2010

Seconding the House of Yes. I was surprised to see it was only mentioned once. Maybe White Oleander.
posted by wending my way at 12:28 AM on July 22, 2010

Seconding, Thirding, Nthing:

Leon (The Professional)
Hard Candy
Pan's Labyrinth

And in the Heathers sorta vibe, I'd say Jawbreaker and Psycho Beach Party seem to fit the bill. In fact, I cannot recommend Psycho Beach Party enough. Lauren Ambrose is fantastic.
posted by SputnikSweetheart at 12:35 AM on July 22, 2010

Making Mr. Right for Ann Magnuson, especially; Friends with Money because watching Jennifer Aniston steal the cold cream from her clients' houses is totally worth the price of admission; High Fidelity because although ostensibly the main character is male, the female characters are unique, hilarious and Iben Hjejle steals it; Rich and Famous because of the interplay between Candice Bergen and Jacqueline Bisset's characters.
posted by Lynsey at 12:52 AM on July 22, 2010

My Summer of Love. Welcome To The Dollhouse. Billy Liar - not centred around a female character, but Liz is pretty independent. An Education.

Oh, and Wish You Were Here. An AMAZING film set in the '50s.
posted by mippy at 5:33 AM on July 22, 2010

Rich and Famous is a remake of Old Acquaintance (Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins)
posted by brujita at 9:24 AM on July 22, 2010

Probably this will sound crazy, but how about Gone With The Wind? Which you have probably seen, or semi-seen at some point anyway, but it's worth giving it a watch as a movie and trying to leave Gone With The Wind as cultural icon out of it.
posted by Artw at 9:36 AM on July 22, 2010

The Bad Seed
posted by greekphilosophy at 10:05 AM on July 22, 2010

It's television, not a movie, but may I suggest Veronica Mars? I've been watching this show recently and having a blast with it; the show has its issues, but lacking an independent/crazy-ish female lead isn't one of them.
posted by ashirys at 10:28 AM on July 22, 2010

Antonia and Jane!!
Synopsis: This quirky character-driven drama was produced for British television and released theatrically. Antonia (Saskia Reeves) and Jane (Imelda Staunton) are long-time best friends who gear up for their yearly reunion and encounter an identity crisis along the way. Each yearns for what the other one has and each has similarly disastrous man problems. An examination of quirky female friendship and the jealousies, eccentricities and mysteries of seemingly 'normal' human interactions. Directed by reknown British photographer Beeban Kidron (TOO WONG FOO, THANKS FOR EVERYTHING, JULIE NEWMAR). [Less]
posted by girlpublisher at 8:04 PM on July 22, 2010

My day will be made if you see this movie. I can't recommend it highly enough: Little Voice.
posted by Knowyournuts at 9:38 AM on July 23, 2010

Maya Deren's experimental films came to mind later, how could I forget them. Netflix has them. Les Diaboliques is problematic in just the sort of fun way where you spend the rest of your week deciding if it was feminist enough or not like some difficulty 19th century piece of literature--it sticks out like an odd thumb, it takes the trouble to be subversive and seemingly empowering, and then it betrays that trust. And yet...
posted by ifjuly at 11:17 AM on July 25, 2010

Response by poster: I'm belatedly posting in my own thread, but I forgot to mention another, often overlooked film that fits this genre: The New World by Terrence Malick. Highly recommended if anyone else reads this thread looking for suggestions.
posted by zoomorphic at 12:07 PM on July 25, 2010

Seconding Veronica Mars. You could basically clone ashirys' comment for me. It's not a perfect show, but it has a very strong, independent female lead who, most importantly for you, is a real live character with lots to like but still has flaws. It's available to watch instantly on Netflix.

Also, I've watched two and a half seasons of the show in about two weeks. So there's that.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 11:26 AM on July 27, 2010

Sunshine Cleaning in case you missed it.
An Education
posted by mochapickle at 7:01 PM on July 27, 2010

Abbie Cornish's first film, Somersault is fabulous...
Once Were Warriors is another good one from Down Under (and kudos to the commenter who recommended Angel at My Table!)
Babette's Feast is a classic
Story of Qui Ju or really pretty much anything with Gong Li...
And I get why you didn't like Amelie but Audrey Tatu's turn as Coco Chanel in Coco Before Chanelis really strong...

And The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie with Maggie Smith...

Funny, off the top of my head they're mostly foreign movies but hey-- Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind ain't no slouch either!
posted by delilablu at 8:14 PM on July 27, 2010

I can't believe no one has suggested Shirley Valentine, maybe 1990 English movie, lots of fun, STRONG female lead ...

All the others I thought to bring in here already picked of course -- Blue, Double Life of Veronique, Babettes Feast, I've Heard The Mermaids Singing is fun, etc and etc ...
posted by dancestoblue at 8:45 AM on August 13, 2010

Shortbus (2006) Er, X-rated.
The Gift (2000) Directed by Sam Raimi. Written by Billy Bob Thornton. Amazing cast, starring Cate Blanchette. Props to Ambrosia Voyeur, my film goddess.
posted by carsonb at 10:54 PM on November 10, 2010

The Piano Teacher (2001) Dark, dark.
posted by carsonb at 10:56 PM on November 10, 2010

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