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2017 Recap: Our Favorite Feminist Films

As Hollywood slowly drained itself of white dudes who harass women, it was a good year for film and television centering the experiences of women, queer folks, and people of color. Without further ado, our favorites.

Jess: If you’re like me and only watch one movie a year, make it the James Baldwin documentary I Am Not Your Negro. [Ed's note: Check out Cassie's review on the site here.] The film is told in Baldwin’s voice, using quotes from his letters, books, interviews, and an unpublished manuscript to tell the story of his friendships with Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King. Baldwin’s words echo across time and space, giving an exploration of black queerness, American racism and resistance that is as essential today as it ever has been.

Sejal: I’m going to cheat and name the best TV show of 2017: Big Little Lies. I fully expected a limited series about the rich housewives of Monterrey to be a delightful hate watch. Instead, it left me reeling. Big Little Lies was the perfect show for 2017, dismantling myths of modern motherhood, quietly questioning #LeanIn feminism, and expertly unpacking the interior lives of flawed, complicated, fascinating women who seemed boring and perfect on the outside. The show was in turns bitchy and tender, brutal and compassionate. Emily Nussbaum called it a “reflection on trauma,” which in retrospect, is also a good way to think about the year that’s ending. Plus, you can’t miss that pitch-perfect soundtrack!

Senti: LISTEN, Girls Trip was the best movie of 2017 and exactly what I needed in this joyless trash fire of a year. I laughed until I cried I don’t know, twelve times? This movie gave us fucking Tiffany Haddish who is maybe the current funniest person alive. This movie is about four women of color navigating friendship and love and money and bullshit and having some wild ups and downs but always returning in the end to their sisterhood. This movie also taught a lot of people about grapefruiting — please try at your own risk.

Barbara: Dictionary.com named “complicit” the word of the year, and Get Out showed us white feminist complicity in all its horror. Jordan Peele said Get Out is a “documentary” and, if anything, what it documents are the dangers and deadliness of white feminism and the colorblind rhetoric of “post-racial” America. Hands down my favorite, and undoubtedly feminist, film of the year.

Mahroh: ^Literally, same. Get Out’s searing and damning indictment of white women and white liberals makes it the best film, feminist or otherwise, I have ever seen. I’ll also cheat and add another form of comedy: Aamer Rahman’s brilliant stand-up routine (“Is it really ok to punch Nazis?”) is probably the funniest thing I have ever watched. I watch this once a week because I don’t think I can actually tattoo it all over my body. His nasally imitation of white liberals asking “Does punching a nazi make you as bad as one?” is priceless.

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New Haven, CT

Dana Bolger is a Senior Editor at Feministing and the co-founder of Know Your IX, the 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, Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. She's also a student at Yale Law School, and you can find her on Twitter at @danabolger.

Dana Bolger is a Senior Editor at Feministing and a student at Yale Law School.

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