Netflix Gener-a-thon Round-up: Emotional Movies Featuring a Strong Female Lead

And there you have it, I have come to the end of my sampling of Netflix’s Emotional Movies Featuring a Strong Female Lead. Based on the five films that I viewed, I found that Netflix’s categorization of these films is pretty accurate. While certain subjective aspects of the films should be accounted for – such as the degree to which one finds them ‘emotional’ – on the whole Netflix precisely characterized what a viewer can expect from these films.

The lack of female roles in contemporary cinema is a point that has been belabored plenty by film journalists and critics. If anything, this categorization of films is valuable for compiling a pretty decent selection of strong female characters across a range of time periods, genres and national cinemas. Of course this does not come without issue. I question the need to set aside a category specifically for films with female characters – does this really signal progress toward an even playing field for women in film? Additionally problematic is the association between ‘emotional movies’ and ‘female characters’.  Regardless of these issues, I commend Netflix for bringing together a broad array of films with (mostly) strong and dynamic female leads.

But saying that these films were accurately categorized isn’t to recommend them all. There was a pretty broad scale of quality among the films I viewed, some far more watchable than others. For your viewing convenience, here are the best and worst of “Emotional Movies Featuring a Strong Female Lead”.

Most emotional film: Imitation of Life

Strongest female lead: Shin-ae (Do-yeon Jeon) Secret Sunshine

Worst female lead: Dawn O’Neil (Charlotte Gainsbourg) The Tree

Least emotionally affecting film: Like Crazy

Most misplaced film: XXY

Best to Worst:

  1. Secret Sunshine
  2. Imitation of Life
  3. XXY
  4. Like Crazy
  5. The Tree

Next Netflix Gener-a-thon: Understated Independent Dramas

  1. Another Earth (Mike Cahill, 2011)
  2. After Fall, Winter (Eric Schaeffer, 2011)
  3. It’s Kind of a Funny Story (Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, 2010)
  4. Curling (Denis Côté, 2010)
  5. The Myth of the American Sleepover (David Robert Mitchell, 2010)
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