For as long as I’ve watched movies and TV shows, I’ve been on the lookout for media with women I could relate to, characters with complex lives and behaviours. So, for Women’s History Month, I’ve compiled a list of film and TV that portray women in the way we truly are — human.
This new show from the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a refreshing change to the typical style of a superhero show by referencing different decades in the history of TV. Wanda lives with Vision as newlyweds in this idealistic, suburban world but Wanda’s story slowly unravels with each hint and conflict, revealing a narrative of grief, loss and trauma. Also, there are superpowers.
Avatar: The Legend of Korra (2012–2014)
Korra is the new avatar, following after the first we all fell in love with, Aang. The show follows her as she trains and learns to combat her enemies in her own way. Korra is an emotionally complex character, and the show doesn’t shy away from exploring her flaws. This is a great show for anyone.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018–2020)
This show does reboots right. The 1980s show ‘returns’ in a fresh and daringly modern way. Adora, a young orphan living and training as a soldier in the Horde, discovers that she and all her friends have been manipulated and misinformed about their supposed enemy, Etheria and the Princess Alliance. The show focuses on Adora as she fights with the other princesses to end the Horde’s tyranny, and her best friend Catra who feels abandoned by Adora and stays with the Horde. The show explores themes of love, friendship, and being LGBT+.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a French film written and directed by Céline Sciamma. Marianne is commissioned to paint a portrait of Héloïse, who refuses to be painted. So, Marianne must paint her in secret. Set on an isolated island in Brittany at the end of the eighteenth century, the beautiful cinematography enhances the slowburn of Marianne and Héloïse’s love and will have you in tears by the end.
I May Destroy You (2020)
Arabella — a young novelist — is sexually assaulted on a night out with her friends. As she regains her memory of the event, Arabella begins to grapple with her life, career, and relationships as she tries to build herself back up.
This show is one of my personal favourites. Michaela Coel’s writing is masterful, as always.
Warning — sexual assault, rape.
The Handmaiden (2016)
This Korean psychological thriller is full of twists and turns. Set in Korea, under Japanese colonial rule, a con man — Count Fujiwara — plans to seduce a Japanese heiress — Lady Hideko. He does so by enlisting a pickpocket, Sook-hee to become Lady Hideko’s maid to convince her to marry him. However, things do not go to Count Fujiwara’s plans.