Creative women on the movie screen

You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.
Elizabeth Gilbert

Lately I have been thinking about this new category of films that are coming up in the cinemas. I would like to call them Empowering Female Films for Women of Today. They are the movies where we meet Strong Women, movies where Creativity and Girl Power intermingle into something that I want to see more of on the big screen. So many movies these days are about a woman character living an unreal fairy tale life where they still need a guy to be happy or to rescue them from themselves. The movies I am talking about are portraying creative women who start projects on their own and are successful in what they do. I will list a few new (and older) below, feel free to add your own favorite titles in the comments!

Creative women in movies


It was when I saw the movie about Coco Chanel’s life that I started to think about the need for these kinds of movies, showing real women who make something of their life. I love this movie and the story of how Coco invented herself as a brand and found success through persistence, ingenuity and creativity. Watching it made me wish I could have a whole library of movies just like it to watch when I need girl power infusion. I also came to think about another quite new movie…

Julie and Julia

A movie about a woman, Julie, who decides to cook her way through Julia Child’s famous cook book full of French recipes and do all of them in one year while blogging about her experience. In the movie we get to follow these two very different but also very determined and creative women through the ups and downs of their projects. One writing a cook book of thousands of pages, the other cooking her way through these pages many years later and sharing her experiences on the internet. I would not have thought I would like such a food filled movie much, but I loved it! It makes me think of my own definition of “projects” and creativity, and how important it all is in my life.


Frida is not a new movie, but still a favorite to me. It is not strange that so many artists use portraits of Frida Kahlo in their artwork; she is a modern icon worthy of our admiration. We can look up to Frida because she was an ordinary woman with many problems both in her marriage and her hurting body, still she is an icon of bravery, artistic skill and girl power. She expresses all her feelings and thoughts in her art. The movie about Frida Kahlo (played by beautiful Salma Hayeck) is a colorful and beautiful portrait of a very inspirational woman. Last summer I read (and browsed through) her published diaries, filled with ink stains, sketches and word collections. The movie is a must-see to every female artist.

More Creative Women

Every film on my list of Empowering Female Movies is based on true stories, did you notice? Scriptwriters tell us these stories of modern myths over and over again, and forget that real people have more perks, blood, passions and warmth than a simple made-up movie character can ever hold. Real people also have more than one goal in life. I think that should tell producers and directors where to look next for new manuscripts… In real life! The stories from life are more complex and interesting than most movie scrips. Read a few biographies and you’ll see. Do some historical digging. We are here and we are real, right? Creativity is such a huge part of our life, but not seen very often on the big screen… I hope that will change.

I hope that there will be more Empowering Women Films in the future. I am personally looking forward to see the French movie Séraphine [found via Zom], also based on a true story. Séraphine is “a simple and profoundly devout housekeeper whose brilliantly colorful canvases adorn some of the most famous galleries in the world“. And then of course Elizabet Gilbert’s book is made into a movie called Eat Pray Love. Julia Roberts is in lead role, and who can resist her? It is coming up in theaters here in Sweden soon. I loved the book and hope the movie is as good.

I would love to know what movies are on your list of favorites. What movies should I be looking out for next? What oldies have I missed? Feel free to write a post about Favorite Movies at your own blog and post the link below. Or chip right in now in the comments and give me your thought on movies that makes you inspired and happy! Thanks.

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15 Responses to Creative women on the movie screen

  1. Interesting article! I was coming here (as I come almost everyday) for something on journal and creation, but this is different, and not. A movie I adored when I was younger is “Little Princess” (I used to watch it in french “La Petite Princesse”. It may not fit your list, but still. It is the story of a young girl who’s father leave for WW2 and he puts her in a private school for wealthy young girls. Except one day, news come and her father is deceased. She then becomes a servant, with another little girl in a similar situation, and she has a wild imagination that helps her go through this rough time (sorry for the possible mistakes, English is my second language). It is a beautiful and inspiring story.
    I loved the movie on Julia Child, and never had the chance to watch the one on Frida Khalo, but I have her journal (complete scans and translation) and she is very inspiring. :)

  2. Silvia says:

    (Hanna… Chanel, with only one N)
    I loved Julie&Julia and Chanel. I’m going to see “Eat pray love” when it will be here in Italy (I read the book two years ago).
    For your list… uhm, I really appreciated a film about Maria Montessori, but I don’t know if you can find it in english or swedish (probably it is an italian “product”).
    Have you ever seen “Miss Potter”? It’s about the life of Beatrix Potter (I’m sure you know her books). There are some scenes about her creative process, images from her books and a focus on her being “a strange woman” for that period (you know, a woman who wanted to work…).

  3. iHanna says:

    Gabrielle, thanks for your comment! I write a lot about inspiration, and it can come in many forms: movies too right? I think your suggestion might fit, I agree that it is an inspiring movie (and a great great book if you ever get the chance to read it)!

    Silvia, thanks for correcting the mistake in Chanel, I will fix it! I hate when add spelling mistakes like that! Would love to see the movie about Montessori, I will look for it! And yes, I’ve seen Miss Potter – I forgot about that one. It is inspiring to see how passioned she is about her art and book writing, and how she strives to be taken serious. Very sweet movie! :-)

  4. how about “The Hours”? I was literally shaking after leaving the cinema the first time I saw it.

  5. Jane says:

    Hi Hanna,

    i love all of the movies you have listed. I saw Seraphine last year and I loved it. It was really mysterious and obsure, if those are the correct words to describe it. I haven’t seen Eat, Pray, Love yet. It’s out in theatres here but just not in my town yet. Thanks for reminding me of all of these great movies. I don’t know if it fits but Amelie was also creative and inspiring as was Penelope.

  6. iHanna says:

    Jane, Amelie is a very creative person with a great imagination. I love that movie, and now that you remind me I really enjoyed Penelope too, though that would be the modern twist on the epic fairy tale: girls need a man’s love to save her… though it has a unexpected (and maybe a bit feministi) twist if I remember it correctly?

    Druga, I think The hours was strong and strange, but I don’t remember being very empowered by it, rather the opposite… :-/
    I read the book The Hours before I saw the movie and I recommend that too, Michael Cunningham is a great writer!

  7. MissKoolAid says:

    Calendar Girls, I think, would be a good fit.
    Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya sisterhood always makes me happy.

  8. Marcia says:

    Couple of oldies:
    One Thousand Pieces of Gold
    Babette’s Feast (Babettes Gaestebud)

  9. Oh! A great one is Hocus Pocus – if you see it as “creative, empowering women who don’t need man”. And who doesn’t like witches? :)
    If I may twist this in another way, there is also Kill Bill volume 1 and 2 that clearly proves you can be creative, persevering and reach a goal without too much help (just think about the “toe” scene)…

  10. Marcia says:

    Oops, Also “The September Issue” – Creative women at Vogue magazine.

  11. spooky says:

    I watched Julie and Julia recently and was surprised at how much I liked it and even related to it. It made me happy to be a blogger!

  12. Carin says:

    Interesting post. I watched Julie and Julie recently and loved it. I can’t wait to see Eat, Pray, love. I got a lot from the book and if the film is done well, I’m sure I’ll get something from extra from that too.

  13. TJ says:

    I love this post Hanna, thank you for sharing. Many of the movies here in Germany get wacky new titles and I have no way of knowing what they were in English without lots of research because they’re often not even a close translation of the original… xoxo tj

  14. Hanna, I watched “Seraphine”, at last!
    Interesting movie! Thank you for your suggestion.
    I’ve even realized an etsy treasury dedicated to Seraphine :)

  15. Maggie says:

    The Book Thief is another great movie.

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