Good Biopic Movies for Women’s History Month

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 3:31 pm

This list of good biopic movies for Women’s History Month is in honor of the event currently running from March 1st to the 31st. Dedicated to recognizing the contributions of females in both the past and the present, Women’s History Month slowly came about after International Women’s Day was instituted in the United States in 1911. Plenty of films celebrate the contributions of the female gender, so I figured it was high time I recognized some of the better examples.

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Elizabeth (1998) – Nominated for both Best Picture and Best Actress, the film stars Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth I of England. As the story unfolds and Elizabeth ascends to the throne, she transforms from a gentle young woman into someone not afraid to order assassinations and executions. Blanchett gives a tour-de-force performance, and she’s assisted by Geoffrey Rush, Christopher Eccleston, Joseph Fiennes, Daniel Craig, Richard Attenborough, and Vincent Cassel. A number of historical events are changed for the sake of drama, but Elizabeth remains a compelling look at one of the most influential women who ever lived.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) – Cate Blanchett returns as Queen Elizabeth I and once again earns an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. More facts are changed around, and the film was accused of being anti-Catholic, but it features some great battle scenes and the addition of the hunky Clive Owen as Sir Walter Raleigh.

Becoming Jane (2007) – Put together from biographies and letters from the lady herself, Becoming Jane tells the story of the early years of author Jane Austen’s (Anne Hathaway) life and her romance with Thomas Lefroy (James McAvoy). While not a true biopic, it’s still close enough for fans of Austen or those wanting to known a bit more about the creator of such works as Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Pride and Prejudice. The cast is rounded out by Julie Walters, James Cromwell and Maggie Smith.

Lady Sings the Blues (1972) – Based on jazz singer Billie Holiday’s autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues tells the story of her rise from a rape victim and prostitute to one of the most celebrated singers of all time. Diana Ross stars in the lead role, and she’s joined on the screen by Billy Dee Williams and Richard Pryor. Nominated for five Academy Awards, including Ross for Best Actress.

Gorillas in the Mist (1988) – Sigourney Weaver stars as Dian Fossey, a famed naturalist who worked to study and save the mountain gorillas of the Rwandan jungle. Nominated for five Oscars, the film co-stars Bryan Brown and Julie Harris. It’s set in Rwanda, so don’t expect a happy ending.

Madame Curie (1943) – Nominated for seven Academy Awards, this biographical tale revolves around Marie Sklodowska, her romance with the shy Pierre Curie, and her long road to discovering the element known as radium. Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon star in the lead roles, reuniting after the previous year’s Mrs. Miniver.

The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999) – Milla Jovovich stars as the 15th century war leader and martyr. Luc Besson directs and leads the title character through a number of grueling and highly-stylized battles. The supporting cast is outstanding, including Dustin Hoffman, John Malkovich, Faye Dunaway, Vincent Cassel and Tcheky Karyo.

Sweet Dreams (1985) – Jessica Lange received an Oscar nomination for her role as country music legend Patsy Cline. Ed Harris co-stars as her husband, and the original Patsy Cline recordings are used for all her musical numbers. While the film does contain several factual inaccuracies, it remains an entertaining film about a massive talent whose life was cut tragically short.

The Young Victoria (2009) – Emil Blunt shines in this lavish costumed drama about the early life of Queen Victoria and her subsequent romance and marriage to Prince Albert. Paul Bettany, Mark Strong, Jim Broadbent, Ruper Friend and Miranda Richardson also star.

Riding in Cars with Boys (2001) – Based on the uplifting autobiography by Beverly Donofrio, this film stars Drew Barrymore as a woman who overcomes getting pregnant at 15 and marrying a heroin addict to eventually earn her master’s degree. The film is set in the ‘60s through the ‘80s, and it co-stars James Woods, Steve Zahn, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Logan Lerman and Brittany Murphy.

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When you‘re done reading these good biopic movies for Women‘s History Month, you may also want to check out the following:

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 at 3:31 pm and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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