More DW Blogs DW.COM

Women Talk Online

A forum for women to talk to women

2013: the best movies

Since watching calories is the last thing you want when the holiday season sets in, it is the perfect time to turn that workhorse into a couch potato and watch all those movies you missed throughout the year. So get your popcorn ready as here is our verdict on few of the best women-centric motion pictures which you may have already watched but wouldn’t resist watching again.

As usual, Hollywood’s insatiable machismo dominated the the box office in 2013 too, with blockbusters like The Hobbit, Iron Man, Captain Philips, Fast and Furious, Thor and even Hunger Games 2: Catching Fire, that claims to have a feminist flare for having a female star in the lead. No surprise that it’s guys like Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), Robert Downey Junior, Steve Carell and Vin Diesel, who according to Forbes, topped the list of highest earning actors in 2013. Yet the force of Sandra Bullock’s Gravity and Jennifer Lawson’s fiery Hunger Games 2 put both women among the lot of top paid actors of 2013 which seems pretty good compared to last year’s ranking that comprised only men.

The Past (Le passé)

Directed by Iranian film maker Asghar Farhadi , the creator of Oscar winning “A Seperation,” this intense emotional drama entwines the complexities of human relationships, crude family ties and multiculturalism. This story features a French mother Marrie (Bérénice Bejo) who receives her Iranian ex- husband to finalise their divorce, only to invoke the ghosts of their past, thus overshadowing all hopes of future. “The Artist” star Bejo charms the audience with her brilliant acting as a mother and love-starved young woman which earned her the Best Actress Award at Cannes. However the plot is overstretched while the unnecessarily created mystery in the film breaks the magic cast by the powerful performances. If you are a fan of family drama you would like it.


Wadjda rides across the moral corruption of Saudi Arabia in a realistic fashion. Most striking feature of this film is that it makes a strong statement about the ingrained hypocrisy of a Muslim society without indulging in self-loathing. Wadjida is the first feature-length film, shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and Haifaa Al-Mansour is the first Saudi woman to write and direct a film in her country, something really exceptional. Waad Mohammad’s performance as Wadjda, a ten year old Saudi girl who desperately wants to ride a bike but is told it is an indecent and shameful act for women, is compelling and reveals the Saudi Muslim woman a global viewer has not seen before.

Al Mansour’s technique appears very simplistic, still she manages to capture the cultural aridity Saudi women experience quite successfully. It is sad that this extraordinary tale is left out of the the Academy Awards nomination for the Best Foreign Film of 2013.

Hannah Arendt

What makes German director Margretta Von Trotta’s intriguing biopic special is its portrayal of the fascinating ideas and intellectually illustrious life of a daring female philosopher. Based on the German-born Jewish-American political theorist, Hannah Arendt’s historic reporting on the Nazi Eric Eichmann Trial for New York Times, the film brushes aside the humdrum cinematic glamour and dazzles the audience by the ingenuity of a formidable female thinker.

Barbra Sukowa does complete justice to the fiercely assertive, headstrong and arrogant character of Professor Hannah Arendt. The screenplay, coauthored by Margretta Von Trotta and Pam Katz, attempts to present the German scholar with all her human fallibility and ideological dispositions for an open debate still haunting the European and American minds.

Winner of German Film Award and despite being dubbed a “radio play with pictures” by The Guardian, the film is a treat to watch. It peeks into the life of a forgotten female theorist and her relationship with philosopher Martin Heidegger and touches upon the intricacy of holocaust discourse and anti-Semitism in German thought.


If you are too tired of George Clooney’s GQ style grin and I-am-the-boss demeanour, Gravity is a great relief which drops Clooney into the ruthless void of irrelevance to keep Sandra Bullock afloat. After a long time moviegoers are offered a sci-fi which not only presents a female star in a lead role but lets her take over the screen as a central figure of this technically slick 3D thriller.

Director Alfonso Curoan deserves credit for picking Sandra Bullock for the role of astronaut Dr. Ryan Stone, who, stuck in the space amid an onslaught of satellite debris, starts off as an irresolute space explorer and transforms into a fighter and finally becomes the survivor of this spectacular flick.

A stupendous commercial success which redefines the significance of Hollywood women in the genre of action and sci-fi, Gravity, however, could not completely disregard the dominance of male characters and we see a lot of mentoring by Matt Kowalski (Clooney) even in his relatively small role.

Blue Jasmine

Who wouldn’t like to kill a drab winter holiday watching anything Woody Allen? With the leading lady Cate Blanchett, tipped for an Oscar along with a Golden Globe nomination, Woody Allen’s tragi-comedy Blue Jasmine, is set to cheer up Allen fans dismayed by the last year’s “To Rome With Love.”

Blue Jasmine is the story of a self-absorbed socialite Jasmine (Blanchett) unwilling to accept the reality of her failed marriage and lost affluence. Allen has succeeded entertaining his audience by creating an alluring ambience and carefully selected cast with the exception of his favourite Alec Baldwin. The movie and Blanchett’s polished acting skills, however could not beat its source of inspiration, Elia Kazan’s “A Street Car Named Desire” and the unforgettable portrayal of Du Bois by Jessica Tandy. While Tandy created a classy but dark Du Bois, Blanchett’s Jasmine is more aggressive and bohemian.

Author: Duriya Hashmi

Editor: Manasi Gopalakrishnan


30.12.2013 | 20:56