Sometimes you just want to lose yourself in an amazing movie, wishing it was, in fact, a reality. On the days when you want a break from the patriarchy that’s crumbling the society, look no further than Netflix. The streaming service is truly a gift that keeps on giving.

Empowering Female Lead Movies on Netflix

The following movies are driven by strong, inspiring ladies. Nothing else will make you feel better.

1.  “Parched” (2015) 

Leading the charge: Director Leena Yadav and actors Radhika Apte, Surveen Chawla, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Lehar Khan

Plucked straight from real-life issues that plague villages in the Indian state of Rajasthan, “Parched” gives us four incredible women who struggle to rid themselves of traditions like the dowry system, mental and physical abuse, marital rape, child marriage.

2. “Neerja” (2016) 

Leading the charge: Actor Sonam Kapoor who pays tribute to slain air hostess/hero Neerja Bhanot and actor Shabana Azmi

This film is truly is a revelation and helped the audience understand the events that occurred when Pan Am Airways flight from Mumbai to JFK via Karachi was hijacked. Bhanot quickly alerted the pilots, who were able to escape so the flight remained on the ground. While 43 people lost their lives, she and her fellow crew members helped save the remaining passengers.  Bhanot died after helping the others escape as she shielded children from gunfire.

3. “Angry Indian Goddesses” (2015)

Leading the charge: Actors Tannishtha Chatterjee, Sandhya Mridul, Sarah Jane-Dias, Anushka Manchanda, Rajshri Deshpande

A group of friends, each successful in their career and living life on their terms, visit Goa for a bachelorette party. Amidst the celebrations, the ladies have an honest and open conversation about everything that matters to them including marriage, sex, their desires, their career. The actresses improvised during these conversations from their own experiences. The story takes a darker turn when one of them goes missing.

4. “Mona Lisa Smile” (2003)

Leading the charge: Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal

In this wonderful movie, an art professor at a conservative women’s college aims to bend the restricted ways in which her students are forced to lead their lives, facing some opposition and some support from them. There’s also a focus on three other students, each of whom forms a diverse bond with their professor.

5. “Sairat” (2016)

Leading the charge: Rinku Rajguru

In this beautifully made Marathi blockbuster, the power of love shines brightly against all odds but also attacks the age-old traditions in the country, especially honor killing and patriarchy. Poor boy Parshya and rich girl Archana fall in love and elope because her family opposes the wedding. As the build, a life for themselves, her father plots a way to bring shame to the couple for dishonoring him.

6. “10 Things I Hate About You” (1999) 

Leading the charge: Julia Stiles, Larisa Oleynik

This modern version of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” is great in all the right ways. Sisters Kat and Bianca Stratford couldn’t be more different but in their own way, they strive to be independent and successful, learning about relationships and love along the way. It’s a light, fun high school drama aiming to steer from stereotypes.

7. “Hush” (2016)

Leading the charge: Kate Siegel

It may seem weird to add a thriller in this list, but “Hush” breaks apart all norms. Siegel not only acts in the film but also wrote the script. She plays Maddie, a young deaf author who isolates herself in a private cabin in the woods to work on her writing when a crazy killer invades her home. She may not be able to hear him but she plays on her strengths to survive.spoi

8. “Dear Zindagi” (2016)

Leading the charge: Director Gauri Shinde and actor Alia Bhatt

What makes Bhatt’s character Kaira iconic is just how real she is. She isn’t a caricature of what an ideal woman is supposed to look like. She’s a woman with her bundle of problems; family, relationship, career.  She sets out on a path to try and fix them by going to therapy and confronts these emotions heads on.

9. “Akira” 

Leading the charge: Sonakshi Sinha, Konkona Sen Sharma

Portraying a strong female lead has been a long time coming for Sinha, who has mostly played the damsel in distress type rolls. Luckily, with “Akira,” she steered from that and played quite the hero. A fierce hero who kicks ass as she tries to rid corruption from the police force.


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