Updated: Mar 21, 2021
With the recent classification of Covid-19 as a pandemic through the World Health Organization, the global recommendation is to avoid crowds and stay inside our homes. For relief and disconnection, we recommend to you a list of films starring women in the world of music: real stories, comedies, dramas, relatable scenarios for many of us, always revolving around the same core - the music.
Name: Almost Famous
Director: Cameron Crowe
Surely many of the teenage girls (rock fans) during the year 2000, at some point, longed to be Kate Hudson, or rather "Penny Lane". Set in the 1970s (thanks in large part to the costumes), and based on the director's teenage years as a music critic, Almost Famous follows a boy who, with a dream of becoming a music journalist, joins a rock band on a life-changing tour. Also on board are the group's muses, led by the heroine Penny "God's gift to rock 'n' roll".
Director: Bill Condon
Adapted from the Broadway musical (1981) of the same name, the film reviews the history and tells the story of the rise to fame of the legendary The Supremes, one of the most successful female ensembles of the 1960s in the United States and worldwide. The film marked the cinema debut of Jennifer Hudson, until then known as a finalist in the reality TV show "American Idol".
Director Bill Condon knows perfectly well how to bring musicals to the big screen. It comes as no surprise that it was also him who wrote the script of musical epos Chicago (2002), the film starring Renée Zellweger and Catherine ZetaJones.
Name: Ricki and the Flash
Director: Jonathan Demme
Co-starring with her daughter Mamie Gummer in real life and fiction, Meryl Streep plays the role of Ricki Rendazzo a guitar heroine who made countless mistakes in pursuing her dream of rock-and-roll stardom.
Name: Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Director: John Cameron Mitchell
Based on Mitchell's and Stephen Trask's stage musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The film tells the story of Hedwig (John Cameron Mitchell) a transsexual rocker from East Berlin who is on tour in the USA and tells her story to those who come to her performances, which coincide with the concerts of a rock star who was Hedwig's lover and stole her songs.
Name: Bessie Director: Dee Rees Year: 2015
Bessie is an HBO film based on the life of legendary blues singer Bessie Smith, who rose to fame during the 1920s and 30s. The film shows her turbulent life and transformation until she is considered the 'Empress of the Blues', a success she achieved thanks to her work with the other blues singer Ma Rainey, becoming a pioneer of jazz and mixed-activity performances.
Name: Empire Records
Director: Allan Moyle
What every indie and alternative rock lover of the 1990s dreams of The Cranberries, Better Than Ezra, The Gin Blossoms, that's just some of the great bands of the time that sound on Empire Records, a film that tells the story of a group of young employees of a small independent record store who do everything they can to prevent it from being bought by a big chain.
Name: Across the Universe
Director: Julie Taymor
An authentic rock musical that focuses on the songs of The Beatles, revolving around a young British woman from Liverpool (Land of the Fantastic Four) who moves to the United States in the turbulent 1960s, and becomes involved in protests, revolts, and of course, love.
Name: A Star is Born
Director: Bradley Cooper
Can we collectively say that we all saw this movie, yet we would see it a thousand times more? I think so. A Star is Born tells the story of Ally (Lady Gaga), a very talented artist, in search of success that will get her out of the restaurant where she works. On the verge of giving up on her dream of success as a singer, she meets Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), a famous musician, who encourages her to jump into the limelight. But as Ally's career takes off, personal relationships between them fall apart. The film is the fourth adaptation of William A. Wellman's 1937 play, starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March.
Name: The Runaways
Director: Floria Sigismondi
Los Angeles 1975. Based on the story of the band led by Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, The Runaways tells the story of a girl's rock group that achieved success not only because of their talent but also because of their courage to take on the world and confront all those who stood in their way, simply because they believed that rock "was for men". The film repeats all the topics of the cinema about rock, fame and its dark side, problems with drugs, etc. It was based on Cherie Currie's autobiographical book.
Name: Hilary and Jackie
Director: Anand Tucker
England, 50's. Two very close sisters, Hilary and Jackie, both love music and spend part of their time playing an instrument. One of them, Jackie, has a special gift. In time, she becomes the legendary cellist Jacqueline du Pré and marries the prestigious pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim. Hilary, on the other hand, is destined to lead a normal life: she marries and forms a family. The love of the two sisters remains, despite certain differences.
Name: Lady Sings the Blues
Director: Sidney J. Furie
Lady Sings the Blues is a biography of one of the great jazz singers "Billie Holiday". Also known as Lady Day, she had a difficult life when she was born female and black in the 1920s. She suffered rape, prostitution and had to endure the most extreme racism, at a time when lynchings were commonplace. The documentary is based on the biography of the same name, written by Billie Holiday herself with writer William Dufty. For this role, Diana Ross was nominated for an Oscar for best actress.
Name: Yo soy así, Tita de Buenos Aires
Director: Teresa Constantini
"Yo soy así", is a film that tells the life of Tita Merello, a great personality of Argentinean tango and cinema. She was born, lived, and died in Buenos Aires, a city she loved and hated but never wanted to leave. An icon has never forgotten. Curiosity: the tangos that sound in the film are some of those that Tita Merello popularized as a singer.
Director: Hugo Prata
Elis is a biographical film about Brazilian singer Elis Regina, considered one of the best Brazilian singers of all time. Of humble origin, she manages to make a name for herself in the Brazilian music scene thanks to her great talent. Through her songs, she manages to displace Bossa Nova and modernize the new Brazilian Popular Music. A career in search of change, reinventing himself and fighting his own personal fears and demons in the midst of the Brazilian military dictatorship.
Director: Alan Parker
From Alan Parker's best musicals (along with Pink Floyd: The Wall), Fame takes a look at young people who arrive at an art school ready to take on the world. The film became very famous, while the soundtrack won the Oscar, as well as the mythical song by Irene Cara that gives the film its title.
Director: Xavier Giannoli
Marguerite Dumont, a Parisian baroness, lives in her country chateau with her husband and servants. It is the years after the First World War and to help the victims of the conflict she often organizes musical evenings for friends and aristocrats. As every year, a number of music lovers gather around this great cause. No one knows much about this woman, except that she is rich and has devoted her whole life to her passion: music. Marguerite sings with all her heart, but she is terribly out of tune and the hypocritical audience, amidst laughter, acts as if she were the diva she thinks she is.
Name: La Vie en rose
Director: Olivier Dahan
Born into poverty and raised in a brothel, Édith Piaf (Marion Cotillard) manages to achieve worldwide fame. Though her extraordinary voice and charisma open many doors that lead to friendships and romances, she experiences great personal loss, drug addiction, and early death.
Name: Vi är bäst (We are the best)
Director: Lukas Moodysson
“We are the best” is the story of 3 teenagers who get together in a punk band - two of them with no knowledge of music at all. At this point, they integrate a third one, a Christian girl who is out of school and plays the guitar. What can come of it? The film was adapted from the graphic novel "Aldrig godnatt", written by the wife of the director of this film.
Name: Linda Linda Linda
Director: Nobuhiro Yamashita
A school music festival, a fight between the band leaders, an injured guitarist, a substitute singer who doesn't know the songs - those are some of the complications this group of Japanese girls goes through in Linda Linda Linda.
That‘s our selection of female-starring music films, for now, to get cozy and remain empowered to - even when you’re not leaving the house these days.