We’ve come a long way since Hollywood portrayed women as victims being forced to choose between finding love or having a career. While there’s still the odd Netflix rom-com that will play up that stereotype, the better movies capture the multi-faceted reality of working women in this day and age. 

Mother, daughter, sister, wife – women have to wear multiple hats all while juggling the demands of work that is built to oppress them. Here’s four movies that showcase the rich and unique experience of working women. 

The Devil Wears Prada

 

Watch it for: a throwback to the learning curve at your very first job

 

Are you starting a new job or feel like reliving the adrenaline rush of your first working role? Whether it’s the vicious boss, backstabbing colleague, kind soul who takes you under their wing, or the oh-so-many menial tasks, this classic film is a reminder of how first entries into the workforce are never easy. 

There’s how much you have to learn, and then how much you are ready to sacrifice. As seen through Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) who goes from wide-eyed ignorance to skilled charmer, the depths of what we give to attain success is something we all must face and decide for ourselves. 

The Intern 

 

Watch it for: a dose of faith when you feel you’re failing at “having it all”

 

If The Devil Wears Prada captures the anxiety of someone entering the workforce, The Intern instead encapsulates the stress of being a #Girlboss. Nancy Meyers writes great films about women. In this drama-comedy about working women, she showcases with great empathy how hard it is for women in power to juggle multiple balls in the air. 

Jules Ostin (also played by Anne Hathaway) is every woman who has tried to balance her family, personal, and work life and found herself lacking. As CEO of an e-commerce startup, she faces pressure from investors who question her experience. And as a wife and mother, she struggles with being a present partner and parent. 

It’s a modern day dilemma in finding balance. Through a friendship with her senior intern, a very poignant Robert De Niro, she gains a sense of perspective about life, death, ageing and finds peace with her life choices.

Long Shot 

 

Watch it for: a laugh/cry emotional rollercoaster that women in power are always held to different standards 

 

Wear the right shade of lipstick, exude polish but have a casual air, be firm but not aggressive. Encapsulated in this feel-good but honest rom-com is a reminder that the best woman for the job often earned it all the more because of the hidden politics she had to surmount. 

The intense and highly unfair scrutiny that female leaders like Germany’s Angela Merkel, America’s Hillary Clinton and New Zealand’s Jacinta Ardern have had to face is reflected in Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) who is running for president in this movie. Watching her walk the tightrope of managing her personal and public life while navigating the patriarchal systems that attempt to box her in might ring a little too true to real life. But if awareness is the first step to breaking down the patriarchy, let’s never stop talking about it!

The Heat

 

Watch it for: a reminder that women are stronger together

 

While Miss Congeniality is a decent contender for this list, The Heat, which also features Sandra Bullock as an FBI agent, is a far superior watch for its more nuanced portrayal of women in a male-dominated workforce. Shenanigans and hilarity happens when FBI agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is forced to partner up with cop Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) to take down a drug lord. 

The wariness-at-first-sight relationship reflects how women who are the minority at work often overcompensate to deal with “the boy’s club”. But watching them thaw and learn to trust each other is a good reminder that when women stop seeing each other as enemies, the strength they build together is an unstoppable force.

If you’re in the mood for more films about women, check out this list of movies every woman should watch at least once. It includes Hidden Figures, which is another can’t miss film about women at work!