16 of the Year's Biggest Films — All Led by F*cking Awesome Females
There's no shortage of movies with strong women leads in 2020, and we honestly could not be happier! We've got multiple superheroines hitting the big screen this year, of course, but the definition of a strong woman character goes way beyond women who wield swords and superpowers. A "strong" woman is an interesting one, a realistic one, one who's complicated and messy but has a strong heart or mind or sense of self. There's so much more to being a strong woman on screen than just punching baddies in the face, and the characters in these 16 movies prove that there's no one right way to be strong. How many of these movies are already on your radar for 2020?
Birds of Prey
Harley Quinn and her messy band of misfits are proof that "strong" doesn't have to mean putting women on a pedestal. She's a messy ex-supervillain, her allies include a vengeful vigilante and a teenage pickpocket, and yet they're some of the most well-rounded women characters and portrayals of women's experiences that we'll see this year.
Release date: Feb. 7
To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You
Who says that the only "strong" characters are the ones who kick butt and take names? Lara Jean Covey is every bit a strong woman character we can look up to. She faces her fears, learns to listen to her instincts, doesn't put up with bad behavior, and manages to always be fundamentally kind and optimistic. We could all stand to be a little more like Lara Jean!
Release date: Feb. 12
This under-the-radar romantic drama centers on Mae (Issa Rae), who goes on a quest of discovery after her estranged mother dies and leaves behind a mysterious photograph. It's a movie that centers a woman's discovery about her family and her relationship with her mother, but also gives her a chance at love without making her seem weak or cliched. More dramas like this, please!
Release date: Feb. 14
Emma Woodhouse is the closest Jane Austen ever came to writing an antiheroine: she's nosy, snobby, and manipulative. But she does it all out of a real desire to make life better for others, she's utterly confident in herself, and — most importantly of all — she learns how to accept change and growth to become a better person.
Release date: March 6
Promising Young Woman
Directed by Emerald Fennell and starring Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman has tons of buzz out of the festival circuit. The trailer depicts it as a revenge thriller, focusing on a young woman who feigns vulnerability to take down predatory guys, one at a time. It's a movie that takes on the conversations about consent and #MeToo, with a dark and complicated woman at the center.
Release date: April 17
Not much is known about this horror film, other than that it stars Janelle Monáe and has one of the same producers as the breakout horror flick Get Out. Monáe plays Veronica, an author who gets trapped in some sort of horrific scenario and can only rely on herself to get to safety. We can't imagine her character will be anything other than strong and compelling at the center of all the thrills!
Release date: April 24
The MCU's first woman superhero finally is getting her own movie, 10 years after her introduction in Iron Man 2. As we all know, Natasha Romanoff is a top-notch strong woman lead: a complex character with a morally murky backstory, a strong will, and some serious combat skills, as well as incredibly loyalty and a sense of self-sacrifice when the chips are down.
Release date: May 1
The High Note
Tracee Ellis Ross stars as a music megastar who, with the help of a young assistant, takes back control of her career and her creative output after years of doing what she's been told. It's a story about women helping other women, and there's nothing stronger than that!
Release date: May 8
Wonder Woman 1984
Sure, Wonder Woman is literally a strong woman lead: she takes out bad guys with ease, thanks to her demigod powers and years of Amazonian training. But it's not just her physical strength that makes her strong. Diana also has one of the biggest hearts of any movie character, and her ability to hope, love, and work for change even in dark circumstances makes her the kind of role model we all need right now.
Release date: June 5
In the Heights
Although the Washington Heights-set musical has a man narrator, the ensemble cast is packed with strong, interesting women, too! There's Vanessa, an ambitious dreamer who's saving to move downtown; Nina, an overachiever with a secret; Abuela Claudia, the neighborhood's wise matriarch; and more. No matter who you are, there's definitely a character you'll relate to!
Release date: June 26
Details about Disney's latest adaptation are scarce, but we do know that Emily Blunt will be playing Lily, a dedicated and brilliant scientist who's unafraid to venture into unknown territory to search for a legendary tree and its rumored cure. A tough adventurer who's also a scientific genius? Yes, please!
Release date: July 24
Roald Dahl's novel is getting a movie remake, starring Anne Hathaway as The Grand High Witch and Octavia Spencer as The Grandmother. It's a family-friendly movie that features two of our top-notch actresses in roles that are certainly familiar to generations of readers, even if they're not your straightforward "strong" characters.
Release date: Oct. 9
Gemma Chan reprises her role from Captain Marvel in The Eternals, a mysterious superhero ensemble that features several strong women characters. Along with Chan's Sersi, the movie will also feature Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, the MCU's first deaf superhero; Salma Hayek as the Eternals' leader Ajak; and Angelina Jolie as warrior Thena. It's a diverse and powerful ensemble, and we love that!
Release date: Nov. 6
West Side Story
Maybe you remember this musical's heroine, Maria, as a flighty teenager singing in a bridal shop, but if that's all you remember, you're missing out on one of the definitive teen girl characters in movie history. Maria (played by newcomer Rachel Zegler in the remake) is a romantic in love for the first time, but she's also brave, headstrong, and capable of seeing past prejudice to find common ground with someone she's been taught is an enemy.
Release date: Dec. 18
The toughest Disney heroine in the animated canon is now a live-action warrior woman. Mulan's courage, hard work, and loyalty — plus her serious battle skills — prove that she's truly a strong woman character whose strength and story transcend generations.
Release date: Currently unknown; the original March 27 release date was cancelled due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and an alternate date has not yet been set.
A Quiet Place Part II
With (spoiler!) John Krasinski's Lee not making it out of the first movie alive, the sequel is fully Evelyn's (Emily Blunt) movie, as she pushes herself as far as possible to keep herself and her surviving family safe from the sound-hunting monsters that still roam the earth. Don't mess with a mama.
Release date: Unknown; the original March release date was postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak.