10 Local and International Films with Strong and Empowered Female Leads

It's Women's Month this March, and it's only right that we celebrate it in one of the ways that we know how - with good films. And if you're needing a list of films to see, we're giving you a rundown of flicks that are led by strong and empowered female characters to inspire us even more! 

1. Liway
Directed by: Kip Oebanda
Starring: Glaiza De Castro, Dominic Roco, and Kenken Nuyad

Set during Martial Law, Liway follows a family who lives in a makeshift prison inside a military camp for rebels and criminals. Wanting to raise their children sheltered from the harsh realities of life then, Day uses songs and imagination to tell stories about an enchantress named Liway. The film, based on a true story, did not only highlight the struggles of a mother who's trying to give their children a normal life despite their situation, but also that of someone who's fighting for what's right during one of history's darkest time. 

Cinema 76 will be holding screenings for the film, along with other Filipino female-led films this month. You may check out the schedule here

2. BuyBust
Directed by: Erik Matti
Starring: Anne Curtis, Brandon Vera, Victor Neri, Arjo Atayde 

BuyBust stars Anne Curtis as Nina Manigan - an anti-narcotics special operative - who heads to a drug cartel as a part of their operation. When the operation goes south, Manigan and her squad have no choice but to fight their way out and against the drug gangs and the angry citizens who are out to attack them. 

To prepare for her role, Anne Curtis had to train for 6 months where she learned martial arts, as well as gun and knife handling. 

Just like LiwayBuyBust will be screened in Cinema 76 this month. You may check out the schedule here

3. Wonder Woman
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, David Thewlis

The first superhero film with a female lead, Wonder Woman is the origin story of the titular character. It follows Diana, who leaves the Amazons with an American pilot after hearing about the conflict in the outside world. As she goes to fight the men in a war to end all wars, she then discovers her powers and destiny. 

4. Legally Blonde 
Directed by: Robert Luketic 
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blaire, and Matthew Davis 

A film based on a novel of the same name, Legally Blonde is about Elle Woods who goal is to be nothing but Mrs. Warner Huntington III. However, when he breaks up with her for being "too blonde", she does everything she can to follow him and get into Harvard Law School to win him back. She eventually learns to study law seriously, winning cases, and proving that she's not just another blonde. 

5. Mad Max: Fury Road
Directed by: George Miller 
Starring: Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

Mad Max: Fury Road does not really revolve so much on the titular character, but on the warrior Imperator Furiosa who decides that she's tired of the idea that women are mere things and breeders for the men in the Citadel. She then works with Max, and leads the escape of the wives of Immortan Joe to the Green Place aboard a truck called the War Rig. 

6. Brave
Directed by: Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters

Brave is a Disney film set in medieval Scotland, and centers on the princess Merida, a skilled archer who wants to defy old traditions and lead a path of her own without getting betrothed. After she competes for her own hand in a game of archery, she seeks help from a witch who grants her an ill-fated wish. She then discovers the true meaning of courage and reverses a beastly curse. 

7. A Quiet Place
Directed by: John Krasinski
Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe

Set in a post-apocalyptic world with creatures that can only hear but not see, A Quiet Place centers on a family who are forced to live in silence to protect their children and not trigger the creatures. In the end, it was Emily Blunt's Evelyn and Millicent Simmonds' Regan who figure out a way to prevent the creatures from attacking them. 

8. Mamma Mia! 
Directed by: 
Phyllida Lloyd
Starring: Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Christine Baranski

In Mamma Mia!, Meryl Streep plays Donna, a hotelier in the Greek islands preparing for her daughter Sophie's wedding. Meanwhile, the bride, with a plan to find out who her real father is so he could escort her down the aisle, invites three men from her past just before the big day. The film is filled with strong and empowered women - from Donna who's a single mother raising her daughter while also running a hotel, Sophie who makes her choices which would greatly affect her future, and the girlfriends who are amazing support systems for each other. 

9. Crazy Rich Asians
Directed by: John M. Chu
Starring: Constance Wu, Gemma Chan, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh

Crazy Rich Asians is the first film in 25 years to have an all Asian cast and follows Asian-American Rachel Chu who accompanies her boyfriend in Singapore for his best friend's wedding. Upon visiting and meeting his family, she realizes that her boyfriend is "crazy rich" and is one of the most sought-after bachelors. She then has to deal with the socialites, and Nick's disapproving mother. Aside from telling about the lives of the Asian socialites, the film also broke the stereotypes some people have on Asian women, and portrayed characters like Rachel, Astrid, and even Eleanor as women who are independent and can stand on their own. 

10. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, and Donnie Yen

Rogue Wars: A Star Wars Story is about the outcast Jyn Erso who joins the Rebel Alliance and finds herself in the middle of a conflict between the Rebels and the Empire. She then joins forces with a spy and other resistance fighters to steal the space station's plans for the Rebel Alliance. 


Editor's Picks