10 Awesome Feminist Films From the ’90s

The 1990s were a decade of witchy fashion, Tamagotchis, glitter pens and pop stars. Although many glorious (or terrible—you decide) trends came out of the ’90s, my all-time favorite was, hello, riot grrrl and other ’90s-era feminisms. During that decade, many artists used film as a tool to critically examine political and social issues using a feminist lens. Although some […]

Guillermo Goes Gothic in the Grrrl-Powered Crimson Peak

WARNING: SPOILERS Forget the phallic-tongued vampires populating The Strain and go for the sumptuously Gothic Crimson Peak. As with Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak is a woman-centered and driven narrative brimming with claustrophobic imagery and red-hued horror. While Pan’s Labyrinth incorporated fairytale structure and imagery to tell a political tale of post-civil war Spain, Crimson Peak draws on the gothic genre to meditate on the dangers of inherited class privilege. More […]

Freeheld Beautifully Captures the Notion that “Love Is Love”

Love is forged in small moments. Like ragged bits of bottles polished into sea glass, Freeheld‘s lead characters, Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) and Stacie Andree (Ellen Page), are rugged and tough, tumbled unwittingly by societal pressures and personal illness into gems fighting for LGBTQ equality. In one early scene in the film—which is based on the true […]

Muted Explores What Happens When Black Girls Go Missing

What happens when a young girl of color goes missing? Who searches for her? Who tries to bring her home safely? Not the police, as the short film Muted shows. Even though it’s only 18 minutes long, Muted packs a serious emotional gut punch as the viewer is taken into the terror-stricken world of single black […]

He Named Me Malala Shows the Making of an Activist Icon

Due to the actions of a young girl from the Swat Valley of Pakistan, the name Malala has become synonymous with bravery and strength. What most people may not know is that Malala Yousafzai’s namesake already had that meaning. Malalai of Maiwand was another teenage warrior who rose to prominence in the late 19th century. Her self-sacrifice on […]

Twitter Reacts to Matt Damon ‘Splaining Diversity to Black Filmmaker

Some of you may be familiar with the term mansplaining and its equally exasperating cousin, whitesplaining. But actor Matt Damon inadvertently created a whole new word last week on his HBO show, Project Greenlight, that the creative minds of Twitter have coined “Damonsplaining.” What’s Damonsplaining, one might ask? It’s when a black woman filmmaker is talking about how we need a more diverse […]

Straight Outta Compton and the Power of Black Women’s “Side Stories”

When director F. Gary Gray chose to cut the scene depicting rap producer Dr. Dre’s infamous assault on journalist Dee Barnes, then-TV host of Fox’s hip-hop show Pump it Up! back in January 1991, he dismissed the incident as one of many “side stories” that distracted from the main one concerning rap group N.W.A.’s rise to fame […]

Top Films Fail to Feature Women and Minorities

Surprise, surprise, women and minorities are grossly underrepresented in film. A new report by University of Southern California Annenberg’s Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative analyzed representations of gender, race and LGBT individuals in 700 top-grossing films from 2007 to 2014. Some of the statistics aren’t surprising, though it would be nice if they were. Here’s […]

How Paper Towns Falls Short

John Green once dubbed his 2009 novel Paper Towns an attempt to “disembowel the evil construction of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl.” So it’s more than a little disappointing that the sneakily sexist Manic Pixie Dream Girl archetype is alive and well in the Paper Towns film adaptation. Coined by A.V. Club writer Nathan Rabin in […]

Proof That Jane Austen and Amy Schumer Would Have Been Friends

[Spoilers ahead!] Jane Austen would have appreciated Amy Schumer’s blockbuster summer rom-com Trainwreck. With its flawed protagonist, who alternately feels superior to those around her and unworthy of love, the film draws on themes that could have come straight out of Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility. Like Austen, Schumer knows how to give the people what they want: girl meets boy, […]