According to Urban Dictionary a chick flick is “A film that indulges in the hopes and dreams of women and/or girls. A film that has a happy, fuzzy, ridiculously unrealistic ending.” I agree with the first sentence and couldn’t disagree more with the second. That last part limits women’s movies to films with fairytale endings like the Disney version of “Cinderella” and vapid stories associated with most teenage girl coming-of-age films.
To me, chick flicks have substance and lack blatant sexism. I don’t think I’m alone in this. Ask most women and they’ll tell you that not all women-oriented movies have a feel-good, storybook quality, and that while some end in ambiguity, most often these finales are a far cry from “fuzzy.”
Last week I saw three movies that fit my definition: “The Age of Adeline,” “The Woman in Gold,” and “Far From the Madding Crowd.” On doing some on-line sleuthing I find all three listed on several other folks’ lists of best chick flicks of 2015.
So, what makes these films fit my definition? They’re based on strong women characters. Though flawed, each protagonist makes a tough decision that forces her to push outside of her comfort zone, knowing that in so doing her life will be dramatically different from that time on. Such turning points are common in all women’s lives, which brings me to the next point. These films are based on women’s themes being told from a woman’s point of view—vastly different from movies which take a man’s perspective of women’s dilemmas. In Hollywood this is the exception rather than the rule. Finally, each of the characters makes up her own mind regarding a major decision. Certainly, other characters, including men, have input. But when the final decision is made, it is hers. Here again, we depart from the usual Tinsel Town ending where it takes a strong man to step in and lead the heroine to a decision.
If you haven’t yet seen the movies, I urge you to. As a trio they offer insight into how to cope with life. Yet, each is unique and should be viewed as such. The women are of different ages and times, and their situations are dissimilar enough to keep you entertained.