movies & entertainment

12 Must Watch Women-Centric Hollywood Films Released In 2019

Karthika S Nair | Dec 28 2019
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Hollywood has come a long way in terms of representation and inclusive. Inclusion rider began along with TimesUp initiative tin 2017-2018 to encourage more women and people of colour to come on screen and behind the scenes.

With more stories written for women and people of colour, there are plenty of films with proper representation. This year saw the release of several compelling women-centric films in different genres, many of them made it big at the box office and commercial acclaim. 

With 2019 coming to an end, let's take a look back at the 13 women-led films that you must watch:


1. Captain Marvel

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'Captain Marvel' is the first women-centric film to be released as a part of the decade long-running Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is written and directed by the duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck who brought to life Carol Danvers, who becomes Captain Marvel after her exposure to tesseract energy. Captain Marvel is regarded as one of the most powerful superheroes in the Marvel Universe along with Thor and Scarlet Witch. Brie Larson flawlessly portrayed the title character who is charismatic, stylish and determined. She fights for what is right and just. She refuses to get corrupted by the aliens who wanted her due to the superpowers. 

U.S. Air Force's first female fighter pilot Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt was a consultant on 'Captain Marvel' production. 

The movie broke the glass ceiling by earning over a billion at the box office. 


2. Us

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Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong'o plays the lead role in 'Us' directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Jordan Peele. The film is a horror satire of the xenophobic nature of elitist people or USA in general. 

Nyong'o plays Adelaide Wilson who, along with her family, encounters a group of their doppelgangers. The doppelgangers try to take control of their lives and kill them. Under Adelaide's guidance and determination, the family manage to make it out of danger. What follows is their struggle to make it out alive while there is a massive attack by the US population's doppelgangers. 

The movie was a massive success commercially and made ten times more than its budget, thus, busting notions that African-American led films can't generate revenue at the box office. 

It is also one of the highest-grossing films led by an African American actress. The movie's success is backed by Peele's critical success with 2017 film 'Get Out' and 2018 superhero film 'Black Panther', also starring Lupita Nyong'o.

3. Annabelle: Comes Home

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'Annabelle: Comes Home' is the third instalment in the 'Annabelle' series which is part of the highly successful 'Conjuring' universe. The film narrates the story of the infamous Warren museum of ghostly artefacts through the point of view of their daughter Judy. 

'Annabelle: Comes Home' stars Mckenna Grace as Judy Warren, along with Madison Iseman and Katie Sarife in lead roles. Judy has inherited her mother Lorraine's gift of clairvoyance and she can sense the presence of supernatural beings. 

The movie deals with what happens inside the Warren house after Daniela takes out the Annabelle doll from the glass case. 

Three girls are forced to confront all the supernatural beings conjured by the powerful demon that has latched itself to Annabelle. Judy keeps a brave face amidst the crisis and guides both Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman) and Daniela on how to solve the crisis. 

The movie was a big success at the box office and Mckenna Grace's performance was well received. 


4. Bombshell

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'Bombshell', directed by Jay Roach, is one of the major tributes to the MeToo movement that rocked the media industry in 2017. Before Harvey Weinstein, there was 'Fox News' founder and chairman Roger Ailes who misused his power and position to sexually harass women who worked with him. 

The movie follows the story of journalist and Fox news anchor Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) who accuses Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) of sexual misconduct and the support she gets from various women including anchor Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron).

Margot Robbie plays a fictional character named Kayla who is based on several accounts made by women against Ailes. The movie throws light on sexism faced by women in media, notably on how their looks are highlighted. Women were asked to wear short skirts and show off their toned legs during the broadcast. They also faced sexist jibes like "we let women play golf and tennis."

Both Robbie and Theron received critical acclaim for their performances including Golden Globe nominations. 


5. Frozen 2

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'Frozen 2' is the sequel to the Oscar-winning musical 'Frozen' which is one of the highest-grossing animated films of all time. 'Frozen II' picked up where it left off both in terms of the storyline and commercial acclaim. Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel return as Anna and Elsa respectively. The film follows Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven, who are on a journey beyond the kingdom of Arendelle to discover the origins of Elsa's powers. 

The movie is directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee based on a script by Jennifer Lee. 'Frozen II' grossed over a billion at the box office and is the fifth highest-grossing animated movie of all time.

Read: Women In Lead Hollywood Films That Grossed Over Billion Dollar At Box Office 

6. Charlie’s Angels

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Actress Kristen Stewart plays a different avatar as an action heroine in the third instalment to the 'Charlie's Angels' series. 'Charlie's Angels' is written and directed by Elizabeth Banks. Along with Stewart, the movie co-stars Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska as the Angels. 

The movie featured the song 'Don't Call Me Angel', performed by popular pop stars Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and Lana Del Rey.

Though the film's didn't the expectation at the box office, it is regarded as a notable and honest attempt to pay tribute to the original 'Charlie's Angels'.


7. Isn’t It Romantic?

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Indian fans were thrilled over the release of the rom-com 'Isn't It Romantic' on Netflix due to the presence of Desi-girl Priyanka Chopra.  The movie is a satirical take on the old-school romantic comedy films featuring women in the lead roles and all the stereotypes in it. Such as larger than life settings, the vibrancy of the lead heroine, stereotypical girl fight and enmity, gay best friend and “hot” male lead. The movie stars Rebel Wilson and it was lauded for the inclusion and proto-feminist take on love and self-esteem. 


8. Alita: Battle Angel

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'Alita: Battle Angel' is a superhit sci-fi/action flick produced by maestro James Cameron and directed by Robert Rodriguez. The film is about Alita, a cyborg who is suffering from amnesia and sets out to uncover her past. Rosa Salazar plays Alita and her performance was well-received followed by massive acclaim for the action scenes and visual effects. 

The movie has a big fan base who are looking forward to more sequels featuring Alita. James Cameron himself is a fan of strong women, who play important roles in his films. 


9. Maleficent 2

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'Maleficent 2' is the sequel to the 2014 blockbuster film 'Maleficent'. The movie stars Hollywood star Angelina Jolie in the lead role as the famous Disney villain who is responsible for the curse that has befallen princess Aurora, who is famously known as sleeping beauty. Elle Fanning plays Princess Aurora and the film is narrated from the point of view of Maleficent who is depicted as an anti-hero instead of a villain. Veteran actress Michelle Pfeiffer plays Queen Ingrith who is depicted as a Queen hungry for power and adversary of Maleficent. 

The movie was received well for Jolie's performance and settings. This is a must-watch for girls who are into Disney films. 


10. Harriet

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Harriet Tubman is a very important and iconic character in the history of the American war against slavery. Harriet Tubman was a slave who became a hero who freed many slaves. Cynthia Erivo received a golden globe nomination for her performance as Harriet Tubman in 'Harriet'. 

The film is directed by Kasi Lemmons based on a script by Gregory Allen Howard and herself. 


11. Stars Wars: Rise Of Skywalker

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'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' is the ninth instalment in the 'Star Wars' saga and the third instalment in the sequel storyline involving Rey. J.J Abrams returns to direct the finale that also sees actress Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa for the final time. Daisy Ridley plays Rey and John Boyega and Oscar Issac nail their respective roles as Finn and Roe respectively. 

The film sees Rey having massive combat with Kyle Ren (Adam Driver) and the return of iconic characters Lando (Billy Dee Williams) and Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). 


12. Little Women 

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Oscar-nominated director Greta Gerwig wrote and directed the adaptation of the acclaimed novel 'Little Women' by  Louisa May Alcott. Saoirse Ronan received a golden globe nomination for her role as Jo, in a storyline that shows the aftermath of American civil war. 

The movie co-stars Emma Watson, Meryl Streep, Florence Pugh, Laura Dern and Timothy Chalamet. The movie focuses more on the lives of three sisters Jo, Amy (Florence Pugh) and Meg (Emma Watson) after they left their family home. The movie was listed in several top ten lists such as Hollywood reporter, USA today, collider and the associated press.