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Women on Film

Five women of note and the stories they've told through their work. 

I — Gwyneth Paltrow in Great Expectations (1998)

Taking a story from the page to the screen is a feat, particularly when it's a classic like Dickens. Alfonso Cuarón's adaptation of Great Expectations checks all the boxes and benefits from the brilliant casting of Gwyneth Paltrow as Estella opposite Ethan Hawke's Finn. It's a story of promise, unrealised desire and manipulation fueled by cruelty. Artworks of the actors created by Francesco Clemente are the cherry on top.


II — Angelina Jolie in By the Sea (2015)

Angelina by Angelina is something to behold. Not exactly plot driven, but far from boring, this meandering picture what shot in Malta during Jolie and Pitt's honeymoon (I have feelings about this relationship and its demise but at least we have this film to be thankful for!). It wasn't a box office hit but there are so many interesting themes explored that I keep going back to it for inspiration.


III — Maggie Gyllenhaal in Secretary (2002)

Originally based on a short story by Mary Gaitskill, this odd ball of a film from Steven Shainberg definitely holds your attention. Maggie's portrayal of Lee Holloway is a triumph and far more intriguing than anything to come out of E. L. James' oeuvre. 



IV — Anna Karina in Pierrot le Fou (1965)

Riding the French New Wave, Godard's masterpiece couldn't exist without the enigmatic Marianne, played by Anna Karina. Sure, Jean-Paul Belmondo's not bad to look at either, but it's Anna as the freewheeling anti-hero you'll be drawn to watch. There's a reason stills from this film are a constant fixture on Tumblr and Pinterest.

V — Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel  in Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

The most modern on the list, yet set firmly in the past. Set in late 18th century France, Noémie and Haenel's characters explore a burgeoning romance in a world that refutes the existence of their affections. Every scene is rendered as beautifully as a painting by writer and director Céline Sciamma. 




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