Best Empowering Female Lead Films that will Change Your Life

I am so excited to write this blog on the all-time best empowering female lead films that will make you want to get a hold of your life and change the world for the better! 

Okay, so I’m going to start with quite a controversial statement. Romcoms are actually pretty sexist towards women. I know, I said it. I’m sorry. And I LOVE a good romcom but after watching many, many romcoms, I realised that they are actually quite disempowering towards women.

Women are painted out to be desperate, needy, and basically completely useless until they complete their quest of finding the perfect man. Equally, men are portrayed as either sensitive and unattractive, or chauvinistic and charming. Yawn. 

Where are the empowering female characters we have been looking for to lift up our generation? And, even more importantly where are the incredible, strong women of colour?

Therefore, I have scoured the Netflix catalogue, Amazon Prime, and my own (may I say) extensive collection of DVDs, to find you the best empowering female lead films that will change your life. 

Let’s get started! Here are my favourite empowering female lead films:

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1. I Feel Pretty

I am going to start with a romcom. I know, very controversial but I feel that this is a modern take on the classic romcom. And is all about learning to love yourself rather than finding someone else to “fix you”. 

Love this film! It is very feel good with a catchy, uplifting soundtrack. Amy Schumer does an amazing job of taking a character and making her relatable and likeable without playing the victim. Love it! She is refreshingly honest and I think no matter what your size, we can all relate to that feeling of insecurity about the way we are perceived by others. 

Available on: Netflix

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2. Legally Blonde

Another romcom! What is going on?! Well, a romcom style but another storyline about learning to love yourself first. Especially the parts of you that are unique and others may not understand. This film, similar to 'I Feel Pretty', is all about being authentic to who you are.

I love the glamour of this film and of course Reese Witherspoon! Amazing actress at playing empowering women. Check out Wild too. Not as feel good but a true inspiration and based on a real story. Definitely a contender for my best empowering female lead films.

Legally Blonde also shows the strong bonds between women and how they can support each other rather than always competing.

Available on: Amazon Prime

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3. Moana

This is probably one of the few Disney films which don’t include a love interest for our main character. And it’s an amazing film about honouring the small voice inside your head and following your own path. 

I love this film and it definitely helped me have the courage to travel alone especially when I was also being told “No” by my father, and “Yes” by my grandmother. 

Available on: Disney Plus

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4. Eat Pray Love

Love this film! One of my favourite empowering female lead films. Watching this made me leave my old life behind and go travel around the world. Call me crazy, it was a bit crazy but so incredibly worth it.

Inspired by the true story of Elizabeth Gilbert, Feeling trapped in the life she had chosen, Liz makes the brave decision to leave everything behind to go on her own curious adventure to Italy, India and Bali.

Watch it at your own peril, this film definitely has the power to change your life. 

Available on: Netflix

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5. Miss Potter

Another film based on truth. The story behind Beatrix Potter. An incredible and uplifting tale about a female artist determined to write her own story in a time when women weren’t even meant to have a voice. 

Such an inspiring tale that will make you want to pursue your dreams, no matter what it takes. A really great empowering female lead film. 

Available on: Netflix

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6. On the Basis of Sex

I love this film so much! Starring Felicity Jones as the infamous lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg who helped women have equal rights with men under the eyes of the law. We owe so much of our freedom to this inspirational woman.

With many setbacks and alongside the help of a very supportive husband, Ruth manages to change the world which we now live in. Such an inspirational film and shows us how far we have come. Love the fact that this film shows the support of men as well. Another really great empowering female lead film. 

Available on: Amazon Prime

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7. Hidden Figures

One of the best empowering female lead films based on truth which speaks of equality among women and men, and women of colour. This film will make you want to realise your dreams no matter what you have been told about the way you look. 

This film follows the three African-American women who were the brains behind NASA launching the first American to orbit the Earth. A heartwarming tale about overcoming racial injustice to alter the course of history. 

Available on: Google Play

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8. The Help

Another inspirational film about equality among races. And an amazing empowering female lead film. This film is so touching and inspiring. Starring Viola Davis, Emma Stone and Octavia Spencer, three strong actresses who show the racial prejudice in certain states of America during the 1960s. 

A story about the power of women working together to help overcome racial injustice. A story about bravery, courage and standing up for what you believe in. This film will make you want to do something big with your life.

Available on: Google Play

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9. I, Tonya

Personally, I think this is one of the most powerful empowering female lead films.

However, this is quite a difficult film to watch as it includes a lot of scenes of domestic violence. But unlike traditional scenes of domestic violence, where the female victim is left helpless and alone. These scenes show Tonya fighting back.

Margot Robbie does an amazing job of making her character feisty, strong and persevering. I found this film liberating and empowering to see a woman defend herself against the violence in her life.

Based on the true allegations that the ice skater Tonya Harding attacked fellow competitor Nancy Kerrigan. This film follows the life of Tonya and her difficult relationship with her mother and husband.

Despite this, this film is not a story of woe, quite the opposite! It is a story about passion and following your dreams even when you do not fit in with the crowd. A tale about persevering even when it feels like people are against you.   

Available on: Google Play

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10. Julie & Julia

Onto a more upbeat film which I discovered recently and absolutely LOVE! Definitely one of the best empowering female lead films.

This story follows the lives of Julia Child, a cooking teacher who is known for bringing French cuisine to America. And Julie Powell, American writer who famously wrote a blog in her bid to create all of the 524 Julia Child recipes in a year. 

This remarkable film shows the lives of both characters intertwined as they battle with self-doubt and others’ negative expectations. Starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, this is such an inspirational, heartwarming story that will make you want to pursue your passion no matter what.

Available on: Netflix

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11. Erin Brockovich

Another film based on truth and an ultimate empowering female lead film. This film tells the tale of Erin Brockovich, a young woman struggling to pay rent and put food on the table for her children.

After eventually getting a job as a legal clerk, Erin discovers a case that intrigues her. Being told this is above her paycheque, Erin continues regardless. Realising that this case is far bigger than the firm realises and is damaging the health of innocent families. Erin investigates on her own, creating a million-dollar case.

A story about overcoming adversity to follow your instincts. Being brave enough to take action even when everybody is telling you “No”.

A story of how life can be turned around completely by being true to yourself and moving away from the crowd. 

Available on: Google Play

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12. La La Land

Absolutely love this film! Now I know this film got a lot of love when it was first released but shortly after there was a wave of, “What was the fuss all about?” But I for one adore this film. 

I watched it in the cinema on my own solo date on one of the last evenings it was being aired. I think there were three of us in the cinema. And the next day I handed my notice in at my corporate job. That’s how powerful this film is.

A story about following your passion no matter what it takes. Even when you are broke and everybody is telling you that you are crazy.

A story about artists and the cut-throat industry which most artists need to operate in. About dreaming and the heartache you feel when your dream dies.

A story about having the courage and perseverance to keep showing up, keep giving to the world and following your own path. 

Available on: Netflix

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13. Mona Lisa Smile

With an almost all-female cast, this is a heartwarming empowering female lead film. All about going your own path no matter what others say about you.

Mona Lisa Smile portrays America in the 1950s when women were mostly expected to be good housewives, looking after their homes and husbands. 

An arty film about going against the grain and challenging society’s beliefs. It’s about choosing your own path even if it doesn’t fit with the views of others around you.

It’s also about women supporting each other and being empowered to make their own decisions in a world where it was expected to lead a traditional life.

Available on: Google Play

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14. Their Finest

A heartwarming and beautiful tale. And definitely a great empowering female lead film.

The story follows a young female writer who is asked to help out during the World War on a film set. 

With some rather difficult colleagues, Catrin manages to write an inspiring script which captures the hearts of a nation deep in war.

It is funny, sweet, and all about moving forward even when you’re not sure if you have the strength to. Gemma Arterton is excellent at portraying the soft yet powerful strength within every woman. 

Available on: Netflix

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15. Zootropolis

A random film to finish but I found it a surprising contender as an empowering female lead film. Plus not many people seem to talk about it so I wanted to give it some love!

The story follows young, ambitious Judy Hopps, a little rabbit, who despite her small size has always dreamed of being a policewoman to help better the world. 

It shows the struggle and disillusionment of turning dreams into reality when nobody believes in you. But it also shows the power and strength of following your dreams no matter what others think.

An inspiring and uplifting tale that will make you want to climb any mountain no matter what your size. 

Available on: Disney Plus

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Hope you enjoyed my blog on the Best Empowering Female Lead Films that will Change Your Life.

I would love to hear from you! What’s your favourite empowering female lead films? Let me know in the comments below. 

Happy watching my friends! 

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