So, I don't think we should "kill the chick flick" as many people do. I like chick flicks sometimes, when I think they are well done and entertaining and to prove it, here's a list of my favourite ones and why I like them. The list is in no particular order, please note.
Sliding Doors - I love me some British comedies. John Hannah is adorable as a leading man with the cutest accent ever! But what's really great about this film is how Gwyneth's character goes through so much but survives. She's a strong woman who always manages to find happiness again. I'm also a sucker for stories that complicate what it means to be lucky, as Gwyneth Paltrow missing her train leads to her avoiding a car accident and death in the long-term despite the fact that it leads to her staying in a shite relationship in the short-term.
A League of Their Own - This movie made me a feminist. At six, I begged my parents to take me to see it and it showed me that, really, women could do anything and it didn't matter whether they were pretty or plain. They supported each other, too, which was really nice. When you see how these women organized and worked together on their baseball team, you can see how second wave feminism became such a huge movement not too long later. The potential for mass resistance was already there!
When Harry Met Sally - What's the message? When love is complicated fuck your friends? I'm not sure. That might be it, actually. But what I like about this movie is how the heroine doesn't really have to change to find love. The burden isn't on her to change to please a man - instead, he realizes he's an asshole instantaneously (if rather implausibly) one New Year's even and goes to find her. Kind of satisfying to see that love can find a women without forcing her to change drastically a la Miss Congeniality.
Waitress - Here, the protagonist finds happiness on her own terms and without a man. She flees both domestic abuse and an adulterous affair of her own accord and finds professional and familial happiness as an independent woman. Because most chick flicks end with marriage or at least the promise of one, this one is refreshing, because the happy ending is produced when the character doesn't HAVE to be married anymore. It's a nice change. Not that there's anything wrong with marriage, but why should every story end with it when not every real-life woman wants that?
Baby Mama - I love Tina Fey and I love female buddy movies. This one analyses the complications behind getting someone else to carry your child as a surrogate with humour and sympathy. The ending is a bit unrealistic, and might imply that all you need to do to overcome infertility is to find the right guy, but nonetheless, it's a comedy that centres entirely around humourous women, which you don't see too often and it really is entertaining.
The Joy Luck Club - I loved the Amy Tan novel, and I love this movie. It's a messy, complicated story of American women with Chinese ancestry negotiating their hybrid identities in 1990's society. It's not perfect, but it moves beyond many stereotypes of what Asian women are like in its portrayal of its protagonists. These women aren't all hot sex goddesses and they're not all good at math. Instead, they face real problems like racism, mothers traumatised by world war two, and husbands who don't even try to understand them.
Bridget Jones' Diary - No, you don't have to be stick skinny and perfectly together all the time to find a better job or a decent romantic relationship. That's pretty much the only message of this movie, but it's a good one and I like it. Plus, Bridget is a funny protagonist, and women so rarely get to be the central source of comedy in any movie because Christopher Hitchen's doesn't think we're funny. Bridget is also a survivor. She learns to stop loving shit men like Daniel Cleaver who don't appreciate her. By the end, she doesn't want just any man, she wants a man who wants her. And while she's still fixated on her heterosexual romantic ending, at least Bridget feels she deserves a happy one....
Imagine Me and You - a romantic comedy with a difference! This British flick is about a woman who falls in love with another woman on her wedding day to a man! It's hilarious and sensitive and adorably sweet. I don't want to give TOO much away, as many of you have probably not seen it, but really, you MUST watch it. It's about love, the resilience of the human heart and so much more. I laugh, I cried, I had a great night!