Directed by Albert Maysles of “Grey Gardens” fame, “Iris” follows another utterly idiosyncratic woman with legendary style. Iris Apfel, now 96 years old, is a former textile mogul and interior designer who took part in restoration work at the White House for nine presidents including Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Clinton. Throughout her life, she’s been recognized for her unique style that mixes artisanal, non-Western garments she’s collected during her travels with piled-high statement jewelry and her signature oversized glasses. We should all take note of Apfel’s mantra: “I don’t have any rules, I dress the way I please and I do what I please and I do everything for my good.”
A feminist mainstay, “Miss Representation” explores how the mainstream media under-represents women and relegates existing representations to disparaging, hyper-sexualized and exploitative imagery. Directed and written by Jennifer Siebel Newson, the film features appearances by Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Gloria Steinem, and Katie Couric.
A satirical Netflix series expanding on the Justin Simien-directed film of the same name, “Dear White People” follows a group of black students attending a predominantly white, Ivy League university. It stars Logan Browning as Samantha, the host of controversial campus radio show Dear White People, and her struggle to navigate backlash from both fellow black and white students. The show provides pertinent commentary on racial injustice, as well as black femininity.
This off-color 2014 comedy centers on Alice Kleig (played by the always-hilarious Kristen Wiig), a woman with borderline personality disorder who wins the lottery and uses her jackpot winnings ($86 million!) to write and star in an autobiographical talk show. Joan Cusack, James Marsden, and Linda Cardellini bring their comedic skills to the table alongside Wiig. Unlike other films featuring borderline characters, “Welcome To Me” garnered praise for its realistic portrayal of the personality disorder, which women are diagnosed with around three times as often as men.
Netflix original series “Love” stars Gillian Jacobs as Mickey Dobbs, a chain-smoking alcoholic and love addict navigating romance. Created by Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin, and Paul Rust, the show doesn’t romanticize, coddle, or villainize Mickey. Instead, we get an unflinchingly realistic look at the myriad ways in which good people can do bad things, especially when it comes to romance.
Based on the Marvel character of the same name, “Jessica Jones” follows the adventures of a former super-heroine attempting to rebuild her life after years of abuse by opening her own detective agency. The show, directed by Melissa Rosenberg and starring Krysten Ritter as Jones, deals honestly yet sensitively with topics including sexual assault, PTSD, and alcoholism. It was renewed for a second season slated for release in 2018, so catch up on the first now!
Set in the suburbs of Paris, “Girlhood” is a French drama that explores female solidarity, racism, and abuse. Directed by Céline Sciamma and starring Karidja Touré, the film follows a gang of girls who dabble in crime but ultimately provide each other with the love and support they can’t find at home.