The nights are getting longer and the temperatures are dropping, which makes it the perfect season to cozy up with a good movie.
Luckily, my 13-year-old daughter enjoys mother-daughter movie night as much as I do. For years, we have delighted in donning our most comfortable pajamas, snuggling under blankets on the couch, and munching on the biggest bowl of popcorn possible while we watch flicks on the small screen.
Now that she’s a teenager, we like to choose movies that feature female leads and storylines. From recent releases to classics from my younger days, there are plenty of movies just perfect for mother-daughter bonding time at home. Here are the movies I’m sharing with my teenage daughter this season:
7 Movies to Watch with Your Daughter
This 2020 Netflix mystery presents a unique twist on the legacy of Sherlock Holmes by introducing us to his younger sister, Enola, played by Millie Bobby Brown. In 19th century England, the teenage Enola has been raised by her mother to be an independent, spirited young lady. When her mother disappears, Enola strikes out on her own to find her. She goes undercover as a boy, fights off bad guys, and solves a related mystery faster than her famous older brother. Girl power indeed.
Crazy Rich Asians
This 2018 romantic comedy stars Constance Wu as Rachel, an economics professor in New York who travels to Singapore with her boyfriend, Nick, to attend his best friend’s wedding. She is surprised to learn that Nick belongs to one of the richest and most prominent families in the country. She is also surprised when his family disapproves of her. As she faces rejection and adversity, she perseveres with support from her college friend (the hilarious Awkwafina), digs deep to believe in herself and her love for Nick, and gets her happy ending.
Way before it became trendy to encourage women to pursue careers in STEM, Helen Hunt played a brilliant but flawed scientist chasing tornados in this 1996 box office hit. Besides inspiring future female scientists, Twister sparks conversations about technology and special effects. After all, the movie’s whirling tornados and flying cow were considered cutting-edge when the movie debuted. This is a fast-paced, fun action movie for those nights when you just want to be swept away (pun intended).
Based on a true story, 2016’s Hidden Figures tells the tale of a trio of Black female scientists working at NASA in the 1960s. Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe are inspiring as the scientists facing gender bias and racial injustice. With intelligence and grit, the women help the United States win the space race, propelling astronaut John Glenn into space. This feel-good drama encourages young women to reach for the stars—or calculate how to get there.
Miss Congeniality and Miss Congeniality 2
These comedies starring Sandra Bullock as Gracie Hart, a top-notch FBI agent turned bumbling beauty pageant contestant, are perfect when you need a laugh. In the first film, released in 2000, Gracie goes undercover as a Miss United States contestant in order to foil a plot to blow up the pageant. In the 2005 sequel, she struggles with her newfound popularity while proving herself to her FBI partner (Regina King) and saving her pageant bestie from a kidnapping. Both films include plenty of physical comedy and an emphasis on female friendships.
Fried Green Tomatoes
This 1991 classic shares the story of two meaningful friendships set decades apart. In 1920s Alabama, Ruth and Idgie bond over their love for Ruth’s fiancé and Idgie’s brother, Buddy. Their relationship buoys them through heartbreak, domestic violence, racism, and a health crisis. Meanwhile in the 1990s, a bored middle-aged housewife, Evelyn, befriends Ninny during visits to a nursing home. Ninny tells Evelyn about Ruth and Idgie’s adventures, inspiring Evelyn to make changes in her own life. Evelyn’s infamous scene of female empowerment leaves me shouting “Tawanda!” for days after watching.
I hope these movies will set the scene for several entertaining—and inspiring—mother-daughter movie nights in your home this season!