This image released by A24 Films shows Alex Hibbert, left, and Mahershala Ali in a scene from the film, "Moonlight."  The film is  a poetic coming-of-age tale told across three chapters about a young gay black kid growing up in a poor, drug-ridden neighborhood of Miami. (David Bornfriend/A24 via AP)

Our Favorite Films of 2016

There were some stellar feminist films in 2016. Some of our favorites:

Senti: If feminism is for everybody, then “Moonlight” must be one of the most feminist films of the year. There isn’t much I can say about this gorgeous and haunting film that hasn’t already been said, but the tenderness with which it explores black masculinity, queerness, trauma, and relationships is nothing if not radical. People of color, especially poor people of color, so rarely get to be full and complex human beings deserving of love and understanding on screen. “Moonlight” is so many things, but I was struck most of all by its empathy — something we as feminists need to be thinking about more than ever in 2017.

Quita: I have to agree with Senti — Moonlight is my favorite feminist film of 2016. The film’s ability to portray Black people navigating intimacy, trauma, and queerness in such a nuanced way was nothing less than beautiful.

Sam: The Handmaiden was (mis)described to me by a friend as a horror film, so I was pleased to leave the theater feeling like it gave me more joy than anything else I’ve seen this year. There are some difficult scenes of sexual coercion and violence, but it’s also a thrillingly smart, gorgeously shot, and surprisingly funny story about women taking revenge and claiming their own happiness. And it’s responsible for one of my favorite pieces of criticism this year, by Marta Figlerowicz at LARB.

Ava: I second what Sam said. Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden is incredible. It’s subtle, sexy, and shot like an anime film. It feels like an excellent Shakespeare adaptation, full of mannered comedy, twists, and revenge. Drink some sake and go see the best movie of the year.

Reina: The jury’s still out on whether Pink was my favorite feminist film of 2016, but it did inspire a lot of feels. It’s a Hindi film starring three cool indie actresses and Amitabh Bachchan who mansplains consent for about 40 minutes in a courtroom scene. Think George Clooney giving your college orientation consent workshop. It’s kind of annoying, but it also spells out consent pretty clearly and features a lady hitting a creepy dude on the head with a beer bottle. And sometimes you just need that, you know? Screen it for your kid brother who just bought condoms. Or your boyfriend. Also I wrote a review of it for The Ladies Finger, so *self-promote*.

Barbara: Beyoncé’s Lemonade. It’s a film. A visual album. A womanist poem. And a love letter to Black women.

Header image from Moonlight (A24 via AP).

New Haven, CT

Dana Bolger is a senior editor at Feministing.com and the co-founder (and former ED) of Know Your IX, a national youth-led organization working to end gender violence in schools. She's testified before Congress on Title IX policy and legislative reform, and her writing has appeared in a number of outlets, including The New York Times, USA Today, and The Nation. She's a 1L at Yale Law School.

Dana Bolger is the co-founder of Know Your IX and a senior editor at Feministing.

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