International Women’s Day 2021: What To Watch On Netflix
From the first female self-made millionaire to the true story of one of India’s first female combat pilots, there’s plenty to watch, learn, and explore from these pioneering women.
Historical Female Firsts
1/10 Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker
Starring: Octavia Spencer, Blair Underwood, Tiffany Haddish, Carmen Ejogo, Garrett Morris, Kevin Carroll, Bill Bellamy.
Directed by: Kasi Lemmons and DeMane Davis.
Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer stars as Madam C.J. Walker, the trailblazing African American haircare entrepreneur who was America’s first female self-made millionaire. Inspired by the book, On Her Own Ground written by Walker’s great-great-granddaughter A’Lelia Bundles, the Netflix original series, Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker brings the uplifting story of this cultural icon to the screen for the first time.
Against all odds, Walker overcame post-slavery racial and gender biases, personal betrayals, and business rivalries to build a ground-breaking brand that revolutionised black haircare, as she simultaneously fought for social change.
2/10 Roxanne Roxanne
Starring: Chanté Adams, Mahershala Ali, Nia Long, Elvis Nolasco, Kevin Phillips, Shenell Edmonds.
Directed by: Michael Larnell.
In the early 1980s, the most feared battle MC in Queens, New York, was a fierce teenage girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders. At the age of 14, Lolita 'Roxanne Shanté' Gooden was well on her way to becoming a hip-hop legend as she hustled to provide for her family while defending herself from the dangers of the streets of the Queensbridge Projects in NYC.
3/10 Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl
Starring: Janhvi Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, Angad Bedi, Viineet Kumar, Manav Vij, Ayesha Raza Mishra.
Directed by: Sharan Sharma.
The film is inspired by the life of a fearless young officer who made history by becoming the first Indian female Air Force officer to fly in a combat zone during the 1999 Kargil War.
4/10 Ladies First
Directed by: Uraaz Bahl and Shaana Levy Bahl
Ladies First tells the inspirational story of Deepika Kumari who, as a girl born on the roadside to abject poverty in rural India, went in search of food, stumbled upon archery, and within four years became the number one archer in the world.
Films and Series by Female Directors
5/10 Mukhsin, directed by Yasmin Ahmad
Starring: Mohd Syafie Naswip, Sharifah Aryana, Sharifah Aleya, Adibah Noor, Irwan Iskandar, Sallehuddin Abu Bakar.
Mukhsin examines the most common and uncomfortable human experience. Orked is 10 and her best friend, Mukhsin is 12. The movie explores what happens when your best friend - someone with whom you've been learning to do cool things like climbing trees, flying kites and riding bicycles - starts to develop romantic feelings for you?
6/10 Moxie, directed by Amy Poehler
Starring: Hadley Robinson, Amy Poehler, Alycia Pascual-Peña, Lauren Tsai, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Nico Hiraga, Sydney Park, Josephine Langford, Clark Gregg, Josie Totah, Anjelika Washington, Charlie Hall, Sabrina Haskett, Ike Barinholtz, Marcia Gay Harden.
Based on the novel by Jennifer Mathieu, Moxie follows Vivian (Hadley Robinson), a seemingly shy 16-year-old who has always preferred to keep her head down and fly under the radar. But when the arrival of a new student forces her to examine the unchecked behaviour of her fellow students running rampant at her high school, Vivian realizes she’s fed up.
Inspired by her mother’s rebellious past, Vivian anonymously publishes an underground zine called Moxie to expose bias and wrongdoing in her high school and unexpectedly sparks a movement. Now at the centre of a revolution, Vivian begins to forge new friendships with other young women and allies, reaching across the divide of cliques and clubs as they learn to navigate the highs and lows of high school together.
7/10 Always Be My Maybe, directed by Nahnatchka Khan
Starring: Ali Wong, Randall Park, James Saito, Michelle Buteau, Vivian Bang, Daniel Dae Kim, Keanu Reeves.
Childhood friends Sasha and Marcus have a falling out and don’t speak for 15 years. But when Sasha, now a celebrity chef in Los Angeles, returns to her hometown of San Francisco to open a new restaurant, she runs into her old pal—a happily complacent musician still living at home and working for his dad. Though the two are reluctant to reconnect, they soon find the old sparks—and maybe some new ones—are there.
8/10 Finding ‘Ohana, directed by Jude Weng
Starring: Kea Peahu, Alex Aiono, Lindsay Watson, Owen Vaccaro, Kelly Hu, Branscombe Richmond, Chris Parnell, Marc Evan Jackson, Ricky Garcia.
Geocache champion Pilialoha 'Pili' Kawena, age 12, is abruptly lifted from her busy New York life and dropped into rural O‘ahu to help care for her grandfather. Initially sceptical about her new surroundings, Pili finds a cryptic pirate’s journal in her Papa’s studio hinting at a 200-year-old shipwrecked treasure hidden away in the island's caves and mountains.
With her older brother and new friends in tow, she uses her clue solving skills to lead them on an adventure of a lifetime through the natural wonders of Hawaiʻi. As she learns to respect and love her native culture she also discovers not all secrets should be shared and that the real treasure in life is ‘ohana - her family.
9/10 Unicorn Store, directed by Brie Larson
Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Joan Cusack, Bradley Whitford, Karan Soni, Mamoudou Athie, Mary Holland, Hamish Linklater.
Kit (Brie Larson) is a lonely twenty‑something dreamer who’s reluctant to leave the comforts of childhood and fully embrace adulthood. But when art school sends her packing, Kit is forced to move back home with her parents and take a temp job in a boring office. Just when she’s resolved to finally put her Care Bears aside and grow up, a mysterious salesman (Samuel L. Jackson) enters Kit’s life and offers to give her childlike heart its greatest desire.
Larson’s directorial debut, with a script by Samantha McIntyre, is a love letter to everyone's inner child, and a reminder that no dream is impossible.
10/10 Lionheart, directed by Genevieve Nnaji
Starring: Genevieve Nnaji, Nkem Owoh, Pete Edochie, Onyeka Onwenu, Kanayo O. Kanayo.
Running a company can be challenging, especially if you are a female in a male-dominated industry. Looking to prove her worth, Adaeze steps up to the challenge when her father, Chief Ernest Obiagu is forced to take a step back due to health issues. Ironically, he appoints his crude and eccentric brother, Godswill, instead to run the company with his young daughter.
Complications arise when they discover that the family business is in dire financial straits and both Adaeze and Godswill try to save the company in their own way to crazy and often hilarious results.