As usual, our yearly Valentine’s pairing extravaganza will be showing up later today. To balance out that romance-filled spectacle, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite feminist movies that don’t have strong romantic messages for the not-so-romantically-inclined to curl up with on this fine Tuesday night.
Hit the jump to find out what we picked, in no particular order!
1. Mad Max: Fury Road
Saika: Kick back and ride historic on the Fury Road today with a movie that is certainly shiny and most definitely chrome. Yeah, there is a minor romance between Nux and Capable, but that is not what we’re here for. The fantastic two-hour car chase that is Mad Max: Fury Road is here to tell you that women are not things, and to underscore that message with as many explosions and fiery guitar solos as possible.
2. The Martian
Noodle: He’s a scientist stuck on Mars, alone. People are trying to save him. Meanwhile he uses science and potatoes to survive. One of the realest portrayals of a scientist you’ll see (and I am a scientist, so I know what I’m talking about), and I just love the potatoes, they’re great. This movie is perhaps lighter on feminist messages than most of the others on this list as it is about a man stuck on Mars alone, but the supporting cast includes some pretty cool female characters and at least there’s little possibility for any pesky romance.
3. Ghostbusters (2016)
Noodle: A movie about women who are friends, scientists, and who band together to fight ghosts—I mean, what more could you want? The main relationship in the movie is Erin and Abbey’s friendship, and it’s beautiful. Sure, there’s the running gag with Kevin and Erin’s crush on him, but it’s there mostly for comic relief and never amounts to anything. The most important focus of this movie falls on friendships between women and women persisting and succeeding against sexist trolls, disbelieving politicians, and most importantly, ghosts!
4. Les Misérables
Luce: It’s a nonromantic movies list, so it may seem weird to rec something that has star-crossed lovebirds Marius and Cosette in it, but Les Mis is about so much more than their hearts full of love. To put it plainly, Les Mis is about every kind of love—love for your child, love of country, love for your fellow man. It encapsulates the spirit of revolution in the face of terrible odds and it shows that caring for one another is not only moral, but redeeming. To me there couldn’t possibly be a more fitting movie for 2017. (Also, I am the sole reason we always end up watching this movie at the annual blog party.)
Syng: Moana is a straightforward adventure tale in which a hero sets out on a journey to return a stolen magical object and restore balance to the world, all the while overcoming obstacles, befriending a demigod, and growing as a person. Our hero Moana just so happens to be a girl, which is, sadly, still surprising in our media, but even more surprisingly, she is also a badass woman of color and her plot involves no romance whatsoever! Her relationship with Maui is a great example of how a male and female character can be co-protagonists and have a meaningful bond without an “obligatory” hetero romance between them. So enjoy this adventure on the high seas where nobody questions a girl’s right to be a hero and a leader!
6. Crypt of the Necrodancer
Dom: This isn’t a movie, but I’m not much of a movie-watcher, so I’m recommending a video game instead. Crypt of the Necrodancer is a great game (with some really awesome music) about a family of women fighting to rid their family of a curse. The protagonist Cadence is resilient and interesting and won’t be deterred by people who underestimate her. She’s not motivated by a romantic plot or direction from the men in her family, but rather her own drive to get answers and save her family. Her mother and grandmother share the same resilience in solving the mysteries of the curse and the crypt. Crypt is a great reminder that strong women can bring hope in times when we seem to be surrounded by monsters.
Rin: Listen, I’ve only touched the tip about how much I love this 1986 Jim Henson classic. Labyrinth shows the journey and struggles of a young woman trying to find herself through a world that doesn’t accept her as an adult, but also expects her to no longer be a child. For young teenage girls, Sarah is proof that you can grow up at your own pace, or that you can be both adult-like and childish at the same time while kicking the asses—metaphorically or not—of those who would try to shove you into a role. For older nerds, especially women, Sarah proves that growing up doesn’t mean you have to give up the nerdy things that made you happy in your youth. While a certain sect of people ship the heroine Sarah (when she’s older and in control of herself and her world) with the Goblin King himself, to assume that the movie focused on the blossoming of this romance would be to discredit its true message. So if you’re looking for a timeless romp in fantasy land this Valentine’s Day, definitely check out Labyrinth! (And join me in forever mourning the loss of David Bowie. Sob.)
8. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Ace: At a time when fascists are ruining the world, there’s nothing better than sitting back and getting lost in a story about a growing rebellion ready to kick some fascist ass. Rogue One is just that movie. The first live-action Star Wars film to not star any Jedi, the story follows normal people struggling to make the galaxy a better place against all odds. Armed with nothing but hope, our heroes steal the Death Star plans, and in the process, they give the rebellion a fighting chance against the oppressive Empire. Rogue One reminds us that while things may seem bleak right now, rebellions are built on hope.
Lady Geek Girl: When Brave came out I was so ready for a Disney princess story that didn’t have any romance. Not only did Brave give us Merida, a princess who has no desire to get married and who has more stereotypically masculine interests, but it also gave us a beautiful story about a mother and daughter’s relationship. Brave not only focused on female relationships, but it also showed us how gender roles are bullshit, as one of the main conflicts in the movie is Merida’s mother’s desire for her to stick to the typical ways a princess should act and Merida wanting to forge her own path. It is definitely one of my favorite Disney movies and certainly one of the most feminist.
10. Kamikaze Girls
Rin: What do you get when you cross a disenfranchised country girl in love with Baby the Stars Shine Bright (a lolita clothes brand) and a punk biker girl? Around 100 minutes of “fish-out-of-water” gal pal comedy-drama goodness! Novela Takemoto’s light novel—originally called Shimotsuma Monogatari—eventually grew into its own movie and manga, and with good reason. Kamikaze Girls is the perfect film of opposites attracting (platonically!) as Momoko and Ichigo get on each other’s nerves and learn about what makes the other tick. The movie is filled to the brim with strong women supporting each other and dunking the guys that would bring them down. Though there is a romance subplot, it’s barely noticeable and is only used to deepen the friendship between the two heroines. If you haven’t seen this film already, I highly recommend it. If you have, now’s as good a time as any to sit down and watch it again!
That’s it for our movie recommendations today, all! Curl up with one or more of these if you want to watch something that doesn’t focus on romance, and don’t forget to let us know your favorite nonromantic movies in the comments!