Films are a great way of raising issues

You want to inspire your daughter to be all that she can be, films can be a great catalyst.
You want to communicate something, find a film and use that as a springboard for talking.
When you can’t get a teen to talk – this can be a way in.

Here is a list of some of the films that you may like to check out with your daughter.  Please add to my brief descriptions, re-write them, comment, disagree, and add your suggestions:

Brave (U) – a girl and her mother don’t see eye to eye and a huge battle of wills ensues.  To save the day, and the kingdom, they have to learn what is meant by: “Fate be changed, look inside, mend the bond torn by pride”  Mother and daughter come to see each other’s point of view and realise that they’re on the same side.

Beauty and the Beast (G) – a story of transformation with Belle, a strong character, and the Beast whose inner transformation precedes his outer one.

Little Women (U) – a mother gives her four daughters the strength and permission to be themselves – to be active, physical, audacious, and individual – in 1860s America when girls were expected to be sedate and only to aspire for matrimony.  Dare to follow your heart in love, and your passions in work.

Anne of Green Gables (NR)- a story of 13 year old orphan, brimming with simple truths about love, friendship, and family.

National Velvet (G) – inspiring horse story with mighty heroine, Velvet Brown, a thin, sickly 14-year-old who beats the odds to become an internationally regarded horsewoman.

Mary Poppins (G) world’s coolest nanny celebrates family and fun.

My Fair Lady (G) explores what makes a lady, class and and accent or what’s inside.

Calamity Jane (G) based on true life of an American frontierswoman who gained fame for fighting Indians and her kindness to the sick and needy.

The Miracle Worker (NR) is the true story about the woman who taught Helen Keller to speak; two great women.

Rabbit Proof Fence (PG) a journey of epic fortitude made by three girls walking 1,500 miles with no food or water across Australia, based on a true story.

Hairspray (PG) a girl follows her dreams, despite not conforming to normal ideals, and ends up tackling racial integration.

Freaky Friday (PG) – a high-strung mom and her punky daughter learn what it’s like to walk in each other’s shoes.

Chocolat (PG) exploring the difference between being good and being pious.  A single mother takes on a village with intuition and chocolate as her weapons.

Sliding doors (PG) about the choices we make.

Miss Potter (PG) true story of a Victorian woman who got published rather than married.

Secret Life of Bees (PG) teen girl finds solace and herself when taken in by an odd bunch of bee-keeping women.

Bend it Like Beckham (PG) teen girl discovers the joys of football and stands up for her right to play.

Little Women (PG) four girl’s journeys into womanhood.

Whale Rider (PG) a Maori tribe is seeking their new leader, blind to the natural leadership ability and adventurous spirit of a girl who defies cultural norms in expression of her self.

Juno (PG) coming of age drama about a pregnant teenage girl

Spirited Away (PG) animated Japanese tale of loss and adventure.  Sullen 10 year old girl must overcome her whiny self in order to enter the spirit world and save her parents.

Terms of Endearment (PG) the story of a relationship between mother and daughter, a real tear-jerker.

Hoodwinked (PG) modern telling of Little Red Riding Hood.

Matilda (PG) youthful independence and personal identity.

Steel Magnolias (PG) with a compelling friendship theme, as a group of women begin to depend on friends’ support through their life crises.

Believe in Me (PG) a fact-based tale about a 1960s-era girl’s basketball coach who inspired his athletes to believe in themselves and always strive to reach their greatest potential.

Girl Rising (PG-13) is a documentary about the lives of impoverished girls living in countries where education for girls isn’t a priority.

Freedom Writers (PG -13) a true story about a young teacher making a difference working with challenging teens.

Titanic (PG-13) retelling of the historic event of the sinking of the Titanic, with a strong central female character.

First Wives Club (PG) Initially about revenge but ends with women learning to empower themselves without men.

Stepmom (PG – 13) focussing on the challenging issues of death and divorce.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (PG – 13) friendship, mother-daughter reconciliation, lessons learned.

Mean Girls (PG – 13) Queen Bees and Wannabes, life at high school.

Julie & Julia (PG – 13) two strong female protagonists grapple with their identity

The Color Purple (PG – 13) the life and trials of a young African American woman.

The Help (PG – 13) friendship, sisterhood, daring, standing up for yourself.

As Good As It Gets (PG – 13) an odyssey of self-realization for three characters, with Helen Hunt in a very strong female role.

In Her Shoes (PG – 13) two sisters, bonding, betrayal, discovery, reconciliation.

Not Without My Daughter (PG – 13)  based on true events, a mid-’80s Michigan housewife finds her life turned upside down when a vacation to Tehran with her Iranian husband turns into virtual imprisonment for her and her young daughter.

Riding in Cars with Boys (PG – 13) young woman who finds her life radically altered by an event from her teen years; teen pregnancy.

Coco Before Chanel (PG – 13) historical biopic about Coco Chanel, an incredibly strong woman, a pioneer in many ways.

Élisa (15) shows that parents are flawed, that girls can be wild, and the world’s often a mess. Not cozy viewing but Paradis’s character’s humanity, warmth, and flaws are oddly inspiring.

Made In Dagenham (R) – based on true events, how women in 1960s Britain brought in the Equal Pay Act.  Ordinary women following their principles find they have courage and strength they never knew, and change the world.

I Capture the Castle (R)  17-year-old begins to blossom into womanhood as she experiences aspects of life that were heretofore unknown to her, alongside her eccentric family struggling to survive in a decaying English castle.

Amelie (R) a woman decides to change the world by changing the lives of the people she knows.

Erin Brockovich (R) the true story of a single mother of three who helped win the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit.

The Lady (R) story of Aung San Suu Kyi and her peaceful quest at the core of Burma’s democracy movement.

Shirley Valentine (R) begins to see the world, and herself, in a different light when her best friend wins an all-expenses-paid vacation to Greece for two.


There are so many more.  Tell me what I’ve missed.

Posted on 12 December 2013
Musings: Parenting teenagers, Parenting girls
Tags: , , , ,

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