Female friendships are a complicated beast, full of politics, laughter, comfort and jealousy. We’ve collected together our favourite films about female relationships. From bitching to brunch, this selection covers the broad emotional range of female kinship.

The Group

Boasting no less than eight female leads and based on the novel by Mary McCarthy—this is a film undeniably concerned with the stories of women.

Set against the backdrop of Depression era America, a group of young friends graduate from college and set out on their separate lives. What follows is a delightful joint biography, unafraid of big issues such as sex, politics, marriage, careers, miscarriage, class, divorce and lesbianism.

The film was somewhat radical for its time, and yet we can recognise within it a glimpse into the spectrum of influences upon a young woman’s character in 1930s America. Starring Candice Bergman, Joan Hackett, Elizabeth Hartman, Lucille Bluth and Joanna Pettet in her film debut.
Read more about The Group here.

 

Calendar Girls

Based on an inspirational and hilarious true story, this heartwarming comedy reads as a who’s who of British cinema, starring Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, Linda Bassett, Annette Crosbie, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton and Geraldine James.

A branch of the Women’s Institute decide to create a nude calendar in order to raise funds for a leukemia charity, in honour of one of their member’s late husband.
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Sex and the City

A spin-off feature film from the wildly popular television series, which ran for six years between 1998 and 2004, the author of the novel upon which the franchise was based, Candance Bushnell, sites The Group as one of her inspirations!

Carrie Bradshaw and her friends Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte must deal with adoption, long distance friendship, engagements, a disappearing groomsman and fiftieth birthdays. Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon.

 

Thelma and Louise

Written, produced by and starring women with direction from the iconic Ridley Scott, Thelma and Louise was a huge critical success and nominated for six Oscars, with a win for screenwriter Callie Khouri. Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis star as Louise and Thelma, two friends out for a break from their dreary lives.

Thelma struggles with her marriage to a controlling man whilst Louise hates her job as a waitress. When Louise loses her temper and kills a rapist, the women go on the run.
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The original 'selfie' queens Thelma and Louise. 

 

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes tells the story of a Depression era friendship between Ruth (Mary-Louise Parker) and Idgie (Mary Stuart Masterson) and a 1980s friendship between housewife Evelyn (Kathy Bates) and Ninny (Jessica Tandy).

The murder of Ruth’s abusive husband, and the accusations that follow, provide the centerpiece for this touching drama.
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The Help

Winner of four Oscars, The Help follows a young white woman named Skeeter (Emma Stone) and her relationship with two black maids, Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) and Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer) during the Civil Rights era.

Skeeter is a journalist who decides to write a book from the perspective of the maids, exposing the racism they are subjected to. With an overwhelmingly female cast, the film offers a portrait of friendships across social prejudices, and the brave defiance of women who came together to demand equality.
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Steel Magnolias

Celebrating the bond of a group of women who come together in a beauty salon in northwestern Louisiana over several months. Coping with weddings, widowhood, illness, crime, pregnancy, deaths and more challenges along the way, their support and love for each other is what drives each woman forward.

Starring Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis and Julia Roberts, Steel Magnolias proves that the love of good friends is all you need!
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Beaches

Beaches follows the friendship between socialite Hillary Essex and aspiring singer CC Bloom over the span of a few decades.

From childhood pen pals to grown up gal pals, we see their relationship evolve through trust, honesty, jealousy and love to present a touching look at the dynamic of female relationships. Starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey, this is definitely one to watch with tissues to hand!

 

The Color Purple

Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Alice Walker and directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg, the movie is concerned with young Celie Harris (Whoopi Goldberg) and the challenges of poverty, racism, abuse and sexism she faces, but overcomes, with the help of two strong female companions.

Margaret Avery costars as the jazz singer Shug and Akosua Busia as Nettie Harris, with Danny Glover in the role of ‘Mister’. The film was nominated for 11 Oscars.

To hear more about The Group, tune into the Reader's Digest podcast

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