Oppositionist, pilot, singer, and explorer – these women are completely different. They lived in different eras and were engaged in activities in different areas. What unites them is that each has left its mark on history. We have compiled a selection of ten biographical films about strong women that are remembered by the world.
The Iron Lady (2011)
Margaret Thatcher was the first female Prime Minister of Great Britain. She held this post from 1979 to 1990, and her premiership was the longest in the twentieth century. For her decisiveness and inflexibility, Thatcher received the nickname “The Iron Lady.” Still, the authors of the biographical picture of the same name tried to show it from the other side.
At the beginning of the film, viewers see the elderly Thatcher played by Meryl Streep. She is retired, has memory problems, and is in contact with an imaginary husband who died a few years ago. The narrative then switches between today and Thatcher’s memories. From them, it becomes clear how the shopkeeper’s daughter believed in herself, and her ambitions were torn between family and career and earned her place in the male world of politics. For this role, Meryl Streep received a Golden Globe and an Oscar. The actress said that she worked a lot on her voice for the filming and, like Thatcher herself in her time, made it deeper.
Some British politicians criticized the film for portraying the former prime minister as an old, lonely, sick woman. Thatcher herself, who at the time of the release of the picture was 86 years old, at first vowed not to watch “The Iron Lady,” but later changed her mind and agreed to a private show. She did not express public criticism about the tape, but the creators did not hear any approving reviews from her either.
Maria Sklodowska-Curie is a researcher, the first Nobel laureate, the first woman to teach Sorbonne. The film about the life of a scientist was based on the graphic novel Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie. A story of love and consequences ”. Therefore, the tape primarily focuses on the history of the relationship between Marie and her husband.
We learn about Marie’s acquaintance with Pierre, their joint work, and his tragic death from the film. One of the most emotional scenes in the picture is when Pierre returns after receiving the Nobel Prize, and Marie lashes out at him for “stealing her genius.” However, this did not happen in real life. But all romantic plots are intertwined in a tape with images of events from the future, in which Curie’s discoveries will be used. There is both radiation therapy and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Rosamund Pike played the role of Marie Curie. To do this, before filming, the actress studied with a chemistry teacher four times a week. Pike said that she fell in love with her character primarily because she did not try to please anyone and did only what she was really interested in.
Judy Garland is a singer and actress, one of the stars of Hollywood’s “golden age.” She began performing at the age of two, and in her teens, she already acted in films. Grammy and Golden Globe laureate, two-time Oscar nominee Garland eventually lost her popularity and faced many difficulties.
The film takes place in the winter of 1968, a few months before Garland’s death from an overdose at 47. Renee Zellweger’s Judy has a lot of debts and health problems. To make a living for herself and her children, she gets a job as a singer in a trendy London club.
Zellweger performed all of Garland’s iconic songs in the film and won an Oscar for this role. However, the actress admitted that the task of playing Judy was the most difficult and frightening for her in her entire career. After the picture’s release, Garland’s daughter, singer Liza Minnelli, announced that she did not intend to watch a film about her late mother. “I hope Zellweger had a good time filming,” she answered shortly when asked about the film.
Young Victoria (2009)
For Queen Victoria, the image of a harsh elderly widow was entrenched – this is how she is mainly portrayed in paintings and cinematography. The film “Young Victoria” tries to dispel this image and shows a young, courageous and free girl who suddenly gained power over the country.
The story begins with Victoria’s childhood. The mother holds her in strictness, and the girl is forced to endure humiliation; she is forbidden to go up and down the stairs without a servant. But her uncle, the king, suddenly dies, leaving no heirs, and 18-year-old Victoria must ascend the throne. The film tells about the political intrigues around the young queen, the relationship with her future husband, and how Victoria gains confidence and independence.
Emily Blunt played the role of young Victoria. The actress said that she read biographies, diaries, and personal letters to understand the heroine better in preparation for filming. As a result, Blunt received a Golden Globe nomination for this role.
Amelia Earhart was an American pilot. She became the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo and the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the mainland. Earhart tried to improve the position of women in aviation and became an example for a whole generation of American women in the 20th century.
Earhart’s childhood, professional development, the first solo flight across the Atlantic, national fame, relationship with her husband – all this goes in flashbacks before preparing for a round-the-world flight in 1937. It will be the last in the life of a pilot: her plane will disappear from radar somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, and her disappearance will remain unsolved.
Hilary Swank played the main role in the film, and her partners were Richard Gere and Ewan McGregor. Swank did not fly during the film’s filming but only filmed at the helm on the ground. However, she still learned how to fly an airplane for the role. The actress believes that she would not have understood who Amelia Earhart was if she had not learned to fly.
On the Basis of Sex (2018)
Ruth Ginsburg is a US Supreme Court Justice known for her legal work and her fight against discrimination, racism, and homophobia. The film about the beginning of her career was released on the 25th anniversary of Ginzburg’s tenure at the Supreme Court.
In 1956, Ruth entered the law school at Harvard; she is one of nine students and is forced to explain why she is worthy of studying in this place. Then she transfers to Columbia University, graduates with honors but faces sexism when applying for a job. The only place where gender stereotypes do not affect her is home and family, which is completely atypical for American society. Although the film covers over ten years, it is mainly about a young lawyer court case’s first case. It concerned discrimination against men in tax law.
It is only worth noting that in reality, this case was not the first in the practice of Ginzburg, but it was this that made her famous. Ruth Ginsburg watched the film with her children and appreciated it. The only thing in which the tape is seriously mistaken, according to Ginzburg, is the scene where she got confused during her appeal to the court. “I would never have stumbled, ” the judge emphasized.
The painting is dedicated to the life of former US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy after the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy, in 1963. The film revolves around an interview given by Jacqueline shortly after her husband’s death. Episodes from life in the White House, the moment of the murder, preparations for the funeral, farewell, time with the children are interspersed with Jacqueline’s answers to the journalist’s questions.
Actress Natalie Portman played Jacqueline. She said that she was terrified to take on such a famous figure because even today, people know too well how Jacqueline looked, moved, and spoke. Portman plunged into countless articles and biographies about her heroine in preparation for filming and watched hundreds of hours of newsreels and several documentaries.
The main difficulty in creating the image of Zhalkin was the accent – he represented a mixture of New York with British and created a unique sound. As a result, Portman received a Golden Globe for Best Actress for this work.
Elizabeth I is one of the most frequently portrayed queens in cinema. For the first time, her image appeared on the screen in a silent film of 1912. In the 1998 film, she was played by Cate Blanchett, who received her first Oscar nomination for her role. The story begins in 1554, a few years before the coronation of Elizabeth, and ends in 1572 when she firmly took the throne and destroyed the enemies who wanted to overthrow her.
A young and insecure girl gets the throne and has many problems: an empty treasury, a weak army, the need to get married to preserve the pedigree. However, she manages to cope with political intrigue and economic and military difficulties, and she decides that she will never marry. That is why in history, she remained as a “virgin queen.” Over the next 45 years, Elizabeth established herself as one of the most popular and successful monarchs to ever rule England.
As Cate Blanchett prepared for the role, she watched a 1993 BBC documentary about former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. This was necessary for the actress to understand how she behaves and what does a woman endowed with enormous political power.
La Vie en rose (2007)
The songs of the French singer Edith Piaf are known all over the world. The picture, which refers to one of Piaf’s hits, tells how she came to popularity.
The narrative is built nonlinearly and is assembled from the main events in Piaf’s life: childhood in poverty, life with the mistress of a brothel, her first job as a singer, a dizzying romance, and the death of a beloved man, career blossoming, marriage, morphine addiction. And now, in front of the audience is an already held star, who is overcome by memories and worries about health. The picture ends with her last performance.
French actress Marion Cotillard played the role of Edith Piaf and received an Oscar for this work. However, she admitted that she literally lived the role of a tortured, brilliant performer. Cotillard shaved off her eyebrows and forehead hair, lost weight, and constantly did makeup; even in everyday life, she used a hoarse voice, imitating the performer. After filming, the actress could not get out of character for several months. She even went to Peru to Machu Picchu, where she performed an ancient shamanic ritual of purification.
The Lady (2011)
Luc Besson’s historical film tells the story of the life of Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the opposition in Myanmar. Her father led the country’s independence movement and was assassinated in the middle of the 20th century.
Suu Kyi left her country and built a happy life in London: she married a professor and has two children. But she needs to go home to visit her sick mother. A woman arrives and finds the country in chaos. The military junta that has seized power is killing protesters right on the streets. The return of the daughter of the great oppositionist becomes a hope for the people. Yi Suu Kyi chooses between the country and his family and decides to stay to fight for democracy.
The military did not kill Suu Kyi because they were afraid of international resonance and did not want to create another martyr image like her father. But the woman spent several decades under arrest. Only part of Suu Kyi’s story was told in the film. In reality, she was released in 2010, and in the month when the tape was released, Aung San Suu Kyi was elected to the parliament of Myanmar. This proved that after half a century of dictatorship, the country is moving in a democratic direction.