Thursday, 14 July 2016

Thursday Movie Picks 105: Female ensamble movies

With a female led Ghostbusters out in cinemas it can't be a coincidence that this week's theme is female ensemble movies. To join this weekly blogging event please visit -

Sadly, it's going to be a short one this week. I've been swamped at work

The first first is Paul Feig's best film and that is Bridesmaids, it's been billed as a female Hangover and whilst that's a little condescending (as it's a very good film in it's own right) the similarities are obvious. It's a funny film with effortlessly funny performances

The second film is The Help. Yes, it may have a hint of 'white saviour' about it, it's still a very fun and engaging film with delightful performances from its mostly female cast


The third film is Pitch Perfect (1 and 2) about a female Acapella group trying to win the National Champions (and, later, the World championships).


  1. Great picks! I've seen them all, the only one I'm not crazy about was Bridesmaids, but I know I'm in the minority there.

  2. Great picks! I love both Bridesmaids and The Help. I didn't like Pitch Perfect but it fits well.

  3. Loved Bridesmaids! There are so many male driven comedies, so it's nice to see a female cast nail a comedy.

  4. These all fit the theme very well but I absolutely loathed Bridesmaids. I thought it was a vile piece of garbage.

    I liked Pitch Perfect well enough without any desire to watch it again by the time it was over. But I really enjoyed The Help, a lot of good acting in that movie.

    Movies with female ensembles are some of my favorites so I'm doing two entries-three classics & three more contemporary, I had so many I just couldn't cut.

    Cry “Havoc” (1943)-As WWII rages in the Philippines a group of women volunteer to help the army nurses in a hospital unit on Bataan. Set mostly in their protective bunker and the switchboard that brings increasingly more dire war news this focuses on the struggles and hardships endured by the women as the front moves ever closer. The cast is comprised almost exclusively of great actresses, Margaret Sullavan, Ann Sothern, Joan Blondell and Fay Bainter among them, with only very brief glimpses of men, including a young Robert Mitchum. A compelling heavy drama leavened by doses of gallows humor.

    Westward the Women (1951)-Unvarnished look at the hard road faced by a group of women settlers on a wagon train to California. Robert Taylor, weathered and hard is the rough but fair wagon master and has the only significant male role. Hope Emerson stands out as a plain speaking, no nonsense traveler but all the performances are very good. The cost of the trip is honestly depicted as heavy with human lives. Written by Frank Capra and directed with an unflinching eye by Wild Bill Wellman, an involving, unusual picture.

    The Doughgirls (1944)-Frenzied comedy with a dated situation, the housing shortage in DC during WWII, and an amazing cast of brilliant actresses. Ann Sheridan, skillful with a quip or a withering look, Jane Wyman, sweet and endearing but a borderline idiot, and an ultra-glamorous Alexis Smith. They’re former chorus girls who all camp out in one of the few available rooms when they find their recent marriages called into question as many colorful characters pass through. They’re delightful but don't stand a chance when Eve Arden swoops in as a Russian commando stealing scenes with undisguised glee tearing into her character with abandon and wiping everybody out of the picture.

  5. Those are the classic and now three contemporaries (more or less):

    8 Women (2002)-As a wealthy French family, comprised it seems entirely of women, gathers for the holiday the patriarch is murdered off stage and they are trapped by a snowstorm to figure out which of the eight has committed the crime, occasionally bursting into song along the way. Unique, wacky and bizarre semi-musical comic murder mystery set during Christmas is jam packed with great French actresses including Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, Fanny Ardant and Isabelle Huppert. They make the often preposterous goings on plausible.

    Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)-In a dusty Texas town near the location the movie Giant was filmed a devoted group of female James Dean fans reunite 20 years after the film wrapped at the Five & Dime that is was the center of their world. They laugh, argue and reminisce while wondering whether their sole male club member will return. Ultimately long buried secrets are revealed. Highly eclectic cast, Cher, Sandy Dennis, Karen Black and a just starting out Kathy Bates all give excellent idiosyncratic performances. Robert Altman’s filmization of the play he directed on Broadway with the entire cast returning is entertaining and unique.

    Tea with Mussolini (1999)-In 30’s Florence young Luca, motherless and ignored by his father due to his illegitimacy, is taken under the wing of the father’s secretary (Joan Plowright), her group of women friends, somewhat affectionately known as The Scorpioni (including Maggie Smith and Judi Dench), as well as old friends of his mother, Georgie and Elsa (Lily Tomlin and Cher). As Mussolini moves the country progressively towards Hitler’s ideology all their lives are affected but the strength of their spirit and devotion to each other never waver.

  6. I love Bridesmaids because it is raunchy but people either like it or hate it. I also like The Help and don't get all the negative crap about the film. The African American women were very strong in this film but it showed the times when it was difficult for them to find a voice. That a lone white woman did, in real life, I thought was great.

  7. I've seen all three of these. Solid flicks with The Help being the best.

  8. Great choices all around! I did enjoy Spy and The Heat more than Bridesmaids but that one is great too and I consider McCarthy Oscar nomination for it to be super awesome and inspired

  9. I think BRIDESMAIDS and PITCH PERFECT are great, and THE HELP and PITCH PERFECT 2 are just OK.

  10. Great picks all round - can't go wrong with any of them. I can't watch The Help again - it was good but too sad for me. Bridesmaids will be a classic in a few years - opening the door for more female led comedies. And I just love Pitch Perfect - the finale performance is so good - I was watching it on youtube on repeat after I saw the film

  11. LOVE all three of these! All just endlessly enjoyable and very rewatchable.

  12. Haven't seen Pitch Perfect 2, but the rest I've seen and enjoyed.