20 Of The Best Biopics About Women

20 Of The Best Biopics About Women

Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn, The Weinstein Company, Everett, 031116

Though Hollywood loves a good biopic, it is not often that female-centered stories are given the big screen treatment. In honor of Women’s History Month, here are 20 of the best biopics about women. How many have you seen?

1
Selena
Jennifer Lopez, Selena, Warner Bros, Everett, 031116
Warner Bro./Everett
Jennifer Lopez's breakout role was her portrayal of the slain Mexican-American singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez in Selena. Prior to her untimely death, Selena was set to become an international superstar, but her English album was never complete. The film focused on the Queen of Tejano music's rise to fame, as well as her family-life prior to her death at the age of 23. For her performance, Lopez was nominated for a Golden Globe and won an ALMA award. Watch the trailer for the tearjerker here.
2
Elizabeth & Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth The Golden Age, Universal, Everett, 031116
Universal?Everett
Who besides the iconic Cate Blanchett could slay the same role in two different films, a decade apart? In Elizabeth, Blanchett portrayed the 16th century English Queen, Elizabeth Tudor who chose to remain unmarried, focusing instead on uniting her divided country. Elizabeth was Blanchett's breakout role, and she won a BAFTA and was nominated for an Oscar for her performance. 2007's followup, Elizabeth: The Golden Age picks up nearly 30 years after Queen Elizabeth I has taken the throne and follows her defense of England against Spain's King Philip II.  Blanchett was nominated for Best Actress once again for her stunning portrayal. Watch the trailer for Elizabeth here and The Golden Age here.
3
What's Love Got To Do With It?
Angela Bassett, What's Love Got To Do With It, Buena Vista, Everett, 031116
Buena Vista/Everett
The iconic and ageless Angela Bassett was nominated for an Academy Award for her breakout role and portryak of the musical legend Tina Turner in the biopic, What's Love Got to Do With It. The film follows Turner from her very humble beginnings in Tennessee as Anna Mae Bullock to her discovery by Ike Turner, and the couples tumultuous and violent relationship that coincided with Tina's rise to super stardom. In case you didn't know, Jay-Z 's lyrics "Eat the cake Anna Mae" from Beyoncé's song "Drunk In Love" is from this film. Watch the trailer here.
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4
Gia
Angelina Jolie, Gia, HBO, 031116
HBO
In one of HBO's epic biopics, Angelina Jolie starred as Gia Carangi in Gia. Carangi was widely regarded as the first supermodel. The film follows Carangi's rise to fame and ultimate demise and drug use after her mentor dies from lung cancer. Her addiction caused her career to rapidly decline and Carangi ultimately contracted HIV. She was 26-years-old when she died in 1986, and she was one of the first famous women to die from complications of AIDS. For her work in the 1998 film, Jolie took home both SAG and Golden Globe awards. See the trailer for the film here.
5
Coco Before Chanel
Audrey Tautou, Coco Before Chanel, Sony, Everett, 031116
Son/ Everett
French Actress Audrey Tautou starred as the legendary fashion icon Coco Chanel; a young seamstress and cabaret performer who turned early 20th century women's fashion on it's head, by liberating women from the constraints of corsets. Coco Before Chanel focuses on Chanel's early years before she became the legend. Watch the trailer here.
6
Funny Girl
Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl, Columbia,031116
Columbia
In 1968, Barbra Streisand won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Broadway and film star, Fanny Brice in Funny Girl. The film follows Fanny Brice's career, as well as her tumultuous marriage to her second husband Nicky Arnstein. While this film was a mega success, it's 1975 sequel Funny Lady was not as big. See the trailer for Funny Girl here.
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7
Frida
Salma Hayek, Frida, Miramax, Everett, 031116
Miramax/Everett
The stunning and sensational Salma Hayek starred as the Mexican self-taught artist Frida Pinto in 2002's Frida. The film opens with Pinto at the age of 18, after she is gravely injured from a trolley accident. In order to aid her in her long recovery, her father brings her a canvas and that became the start of the surrealist painter’s career. The film follows Pinto's career as well as her tumultuous relationship with fellow artist Diego Rivera. Hayek was nominated for an Academy Award for her work. See the trailer here.
8
The Queen
Helen Mirren, The Queen, Pathe, 031116
Pathe
For her portrayal of the current head of the British monarchy, Queen Elizabeth II, actress Helen Mirren took home Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA, and SAG Award. The Queen follows the aftermath and fallout surrounding Princess Diana's untimely death in 1997, and the struggle between the Queen and the Prime Minister regarding how the royal family would handle the tragedy publicly. Mirren's portrayal was met so favorably that the Queen herself invited the actress to Buckingham Palace. Check out the trailer here.
9
Introducing Dorothy Dandridge
Halle Berry, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, HBO, 0311116
HBO
Halle Berry portrayed the iconic Dorothy Dandridge in HBO's Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. Dandridge was the first Black woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in 1954's Carmen Jones. Over the course of career, Dandridge became disillusioned by the treatment she received as a Black women, despite her fame. A hotel once drained their entire pool because she put her foot in. Dandridge died fairly young at the age of 42 as a result of an apparent drug overdose. Berry won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her portrayal of the legend in the 1999 HBO film. See the trailer here.
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10
Le Vie En Rose
Marion Cotillard, Le Vie En Rose, Picturehouse, Everett, 031116
Picturehouse/Everett
French actress Marion Cotillard won the Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe and Cesar for Best Actress for her portrayal of French singer Edith Piaf in 2007's Le Vie en Rose. The film follows Piaf's rise from deep impoverishment to world renowned fame, as well as her ultimate demise into alcoholism and drug abuse. Cotillard's portrayal is arresting, heartbreaking and astounding. See the trailer for the jarring film here.
11
Erin Brockovich
Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich, Universal, Everett, 031116
Universal/Everett
With the horrific atrocity that is currently happening to Flint, Michigan residents and their contaminated drinking water, the story of Erin Brockovich remains poignant. In the 2000 biopic, Julia Roberts played Brockovich, a single mother in the early '90s who helped bring Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to their knees for supplying her town's residents with poisonous water. Despite the fact that she had no formal law training, Brockovich was fundamental in forcing the company to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to plaintiffs. For her role, Roberts won an Academy Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors’ Guild Award and BAFTA for Best Actress. Watch the trailer here.
12
Julie & Julia
Meryl Streep, Julie and Julia, Columbia, Everett, 031116
Columbia/Everett
If you're obsessed with cooking shows like we are, then you have to thank the late great Julia Child for their popularity. In 2009's Julie & Julia the iconic Meryl Streep portrayed the copywriter-turned-chef, author and television personality. The film was director Nora Ephron's last work and intersected Child's life with young New Yorker Julie Powell (Amy Adams), who tried to cook all 524 recipes in Child's cookbook in 365 days. Her endeavor would make her a published author. For her portrayal, Streep was basically nominated for every award possible. Watch the trailer here.
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13
Lady Sings the Blues
Diana Ross, Lady Sings the Blues, Paramount, Everett, 031116
Paramount/Everett
Soul icon Diana Ross portrayed the legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday in the 1972 biopic Lady Sings the Blues. The film follows Holiday from her traumatic youth, to her ultimate rise to fame while she battled a life threatening drug addiction. Though Holiday died in 1955 at the age of 44 due to cirrhosis of the liver,  Lady Sings the Blues ends with her triumphant return to the stage at Carnegie Hall. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Actress for Diana Ross. Watch the trailer here.
14
Coal Miner's Daughter
Sissy Spacek, Coal Miners Daughter, Universal, Everett, 031116
Universal/Everett
Sissy Spacek's portrayal of country sensation Loretta Lynn in 1980's Coal Miner's Daughter won her the Academy Award for Best Actress. The film follows Lynn's early life in the mountains of Kentucky and marriage at age 15, to her burgeoning career in Nashville, Tennessee. The film is an endearing look at the country singer's life, and sheds much of the faux realism that often encases Hollywood biopics. Watch the trailer for the film here.
15
My Week With Marilyn
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn, The Weinstein Company, Everett, 031116
The Weinstein Company/ Everett
In many ways, the iconic blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe is still an enigma. However, Michelle Williams' portrayal of the legend in My Week With Marilyn gives us a bit more insight into the troubled starlet. Told though the eyes of a young man named Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne), who was hired to escort the actress around London, the film follows the making of 1957's The Prince and the Showgirl. Williams perfectly captured Monroe's sultry walk and outwardly bubbly personality which earned her a Golden Globe. Watch the trailer for the film here.
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16
Bessie
Queen Latifah, Bessie, HBO, 031116
HBO
Queen Latifah stunned last year in HBO's bipoic Bessie which follows the rise of Blues singer Bessie Smith during the 1920s. The film follows Smith from her days struggling on the vaudeville circuit, to her shows with performer Ma Rainey, and her ultimate mega-success despite the racial tensions of the times and her volatile relationships with her husband, family and girlfriend. The film was nominated for twelve Emmys and took home four. Watch Latifah stunning transformation in the film's trailer here.
17
The Iron Lady
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady, Weinstein, Everett, 031116
The Weinsteim Company/ Everett
Meryl Streep is obviously a legend and can play anyone, but her 2011 portrayal of British politician Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady will go down in history as one of her best. Thatcher was the British Prime Minister for 11 years, and though her time in office was riddled with high unemployment and social unrest which ultimately led to her resignation, Thatcher shattered the glass ceiling when it came to both gender and class. The film follows Thatcher at the end of her days as she reflects on her life, marriage and career. Streep won an Oscar, BAFTA, and Golden Globe for her portrayal. See the trailer for the film here.
18
Lovelace
Amanda Seyfried, Lovelace, Mellinium, 031116
Mellinium
Back in 2013, actress Amanda Seyfried snagged the role of Linda Lovelace in Lovelace. Seyfried portrayed the former porn star who starred in the now infamous Deep Throat film. Seyfried plays the impressionable young women from age 20 to 32 years old, who was ultimately led into the porn industry because of abuse and intimidation. Though Deep Throat made $600 million worldwide, Linda only earned $1,250 for her performance. Linda, whose real name was Linda Boreman, ultimately left the industry and became an anti-pornography spokesperson before her untimely death in 2002. Seyfried's performance earned rave reviews at 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Check out the films trailer here.
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19
The Josephine Baker Story
Lynn Whitfield, The Joesphine Baker Story, HBO, 031116
HBO
Known as "The Black Pearl", Josephine Baker became a world renowned icon after she left America for France because she refused to preform in front of segregated crowds between the 1920s and 1940s. She was also the first Black woman to star in a major motion picture film, 1934's Zouzou. Known for her famous banana dance, Baker would perform topless with a skirt of bananas covering her bottom half. In 1991, actress Lynn Whitfield portrayed Baker in the HBO biopic, The Josephine Baker Story. Whitfield won both an Emmy and a NAACP award for her performance. See the trailer for the film here.
20
Wild
Reese Witherspoon, Wild, Fox Searchlight, Everett, 031116
Fox Searchlight/Everett
Based on Cheryl Strayed's 2012 memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Reese Witherspoon starred in Wild. The film follows Strayed's 1,100-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in 1995. Staryed was a recent divorcee and struggling addict at the time, who was still reeling from her mother's death several years before. She set off on the hike as last stick effort of self-discovery and healing. Both Witherspoon and actress Laura Dern were nominated for Academy Awards for their work in the movie. Watch the trailer for Wild here.

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