Full-on relaxation season is officially upon us.
Between all the family time, shopping, wrapping, baking, traveling and bubbly drinking, there’s no better time than the holidays for plopping oneself in front of a screen for an extended period of time.
And while it’s true that it’s all but impossible to watchElftoo many times, there’s no reason you can’t stray beyond holiday flicks and catch up on a bunch of female-led stunners, both new and classic.
Below, catch 14 movies you can catch for free so long as you have a Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime account.
Before Lady Bird,there was Frances Ha.The 2012 movie landed Greta Gerwig a Golden Globe nomination and scored a 92 percent “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s a black and white comedy for the modern age, all about a young dancer trying to make a career for herself, and shimmering with pop music hits from Paul McCartney to Bowie. Frances Ha is streaming on Hulu.
The thrice-Oscar-nominated film portraying the story of three black female mathematicians working for NASA in the 1960s was one of the standout films last year, starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe in the lead roles. Hidden Figures is available for streaming with a subscription to HBO.
Kill Bill (Volumes 1 and 2)
Uma Thurman stars in this iconic revenge action series directed by Quentin Tarantino, and it’s the perfect movie to stream when you’re feeling a little bit fiery. The movie won three MTV Movie Awards and Thurman was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role as the Bride. Catch Kill Bill on Hulu.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
First of all: Oprah. Second of all, this film is based on the remarkable true story of a black woman who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the 1950s, and whose cancer cells would forever change the trajectory of treatment. In the lead role, Oprah plays the role of Deborah Lacks, daughter of Henrietta Lacks, in her search for answers about what her mother went through. Stream Henrietta Lackswith an HBO subscription.
Girl Most Likely
Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening, and Natasha Lyonne come together in this beautiful, lighthearted film about family and oddballs. Christopher Schobert for Indie Wirecalled the film “a big-screen sitcom, elevated by Kristen Wiig and Annette Bening” Girl Most Likely is streaming on Amazon Prime.
Thelma & Louise
This iconic buddy film, starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, came out in 1991, but it’s as poignant was it ever was—perhaps even more so in the continued dialogue surrounding rape culture. This six-time Academy Award nominee is both heavy and heartening, and an excellent pick if you’re hanging out with your bestie or any other strong AF female in your life. Thelma & Louise is streaming on Hulu.
The Incredible Jessica James
The incredible Jessica Williams stars in this rom com about a struggling playwright who’s also majorly struggling with her love life. Williams is, as to be expected, hilarious and charming in her first feature role. Stream The Incredible Jessica James on Netflix.
Hello, My Name Is Doris
This sweet rom com stars Sally Field as a quirky and lovable 60-something who falls for her younger co-worker. Field is adorable in the role, naturally, and it’s an all-around charming film that touches on ageism—a subject that gets far too little airtime in cultural discussions. Catch Hello, My Name Is Doris on Amazon Prime.
Is there a more apt time to revisit the story of Anita Hill than right now? The impeccable Kerry Washington stars in this biopic about the infamous sexual harassment cases involving the attorney and Supreme Court nominee (and now Supreme Court judge) Clarence Thomas. This HBO film is available with a subscription.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
If you loved 30 Rock, there’s a very good chance you’ll love WTF, as it features two of the masterminds behind Liz Lemon’s shenanigans: Tina Fey stars as a television journalist that takes an assignment in Afghanistan, and writer Robert Carlock adapted the screenplay based on a memoir by Kim Barker. While the film is decidedly less of an outright comedy than 30 Rock, Fey and Carlock’s signature styles are still palpable. Stream WTF on Amazon Prime.
Looking for a tear-jerker? Based on the widely acclaimed novel of the same name by Emma Donoghue, Room tells the story of a woman and her young son who have been living in forced captivity under the boy’s father, but eventually escape. Brie Larson won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2015 for her stellar performance in the lead role. Catch Room on Amazon Prime.
While Winona Ryder stars in the lead role of this psychological drama about a young woman’s 18-month stay in a mental institution, it was Angelina Jolie who caught critics’ eyes, winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1999. Stream Girl, Interrupted on Amazon Prime.
20th Century Women
Following the success of Beginners, this Mike Mills film stars Annette Bening in the role of Dorthea, who runs a boarding house and has a young son (a plot that is largely based on Mills’ own childhood). Elle Fanning and Greta Gerwig also star in this superbly written and acted film. Find 20th Century Women on Amazon Prime.
When superstar singer Amy Winehouse passed away unexpectedly at the age of 27 in 2011, she’d already left an indelible impression on pop music. This documentary takes a gutting dive into her longtime struggle with drugs and alcohol, her relationship with her now-infamous boyfriend, and the people closest to her who tried (and often failed) to give her the help she needed. Watch Amy on Amazon Prime.
In A World…
This delightful comedy written by, directed by and starring Lake Bell follows the story of Carol Solomon, a vocal coach looking to eke out a career for herself as a voiceover actress. The small-budget indie made big waves, with a 92 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In A World…is available for streaming on Netflix.
This gorgeous period drama tells the story of a forbidden love affair between two women in the 1950s. With Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in the lead roles, this 2016 film picked up five Golden Globe nominations and six Academy Award nominations. Watch Carol on Netflix.
Blue Is The Warmest Color
This French coming-of-age film is remarkable for a number of reasons, chief among them the performances from leads Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos, who play two young women who fall into a fast-paced, deeply tumultuous love. Based on a graphic novel by the same name, this 180-minute film features some seriously intense sex scenes and stellar acting—particularly from newbie Exarchopoulos. Catch Blue Is The Warmest Color on Netflix.
Another noteworthy French coming-of-age film, Girlhoodstars Karidja Touré and follows a narrative of a young girl growing up in a banlieue—an economically depressed neighborhood that borders Paris and is home to a diverse population. Directed by Céline Sciamma, the film’s intent was to tell a story about young black girls growing up in this part of the world—a narrative that has largely been left out of French filmmaking traditions. Girlhoodis streaming on Netflix.
Words: Deena Drewis and Eva GrantPhoto: GIPHY