2015 in Movies: Our Favorite Films of the Year

This year we’ve been blessed, blessed for the scandals that rocked the web, blessed with the weddings that made us rethink love being dead, and blessed for the many cinematic wonders that have come out this year.

From the romantic drama Carol, based off of Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara; to Amy Schumer’s genius, laugh out loud comedy Trainwreck; to Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy’s gritty epic Mad Max: Fury Road; to Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche’s psychological and intimate drama Clouds of Sils Maria; to Furious 7, in which Michelle Rodriguez makes her return to kick (more) ass; to the culmination of The Hunger Games series, starring Jennifer Lawrence as the symbol of rebellion and civilization’s hero; to Brie Larson’s amazing performance as a mother held captive in a room by her rapist in Room; and many more. The best films of 2015 are those not only with female leads but feminist messages.

carol cate blanchett
CREDIT: Wilson Webb/IMDb

Women write and make jokes, fall in love with other women, protect themselves and others, and ultimately, are not objects. Society has, admittedly, come a long way in making these beliefs universally hailed and supported, saving for those unacceptable aberrations here and there. Women are actors in every sense of the word, not just the boxed in, gender-specified actresses. These roles demonstrate that gender rests on a spectrum. In the words of Emma Watson, “Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong…It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, not as two opposing sets of ideals.”

These ladies aren’t playing the roles of doting wives or mothers, there to simply fulfill the need for a supporting actress to the movie’s leading actor. Nor are they damsels in distresses; dare I even say you probably already knew that term was coming before it was even written, due to the popularity of the “character” that women in Hollywood have historically played. In other words, all of these great films pass the Bechdel test.

michelle rodrigues furious 7

That’s not to say the fight against inequality is over–the numbers clearly indicate that Hollywood’s status quo is still dominated by those who are both white and male, and that the shift for more female representation (diverse female representation, at that) behind the camera and in production chairs as well is slow-going. For example, none of these films were directed by women (however TrainwreckCarol, and Room, were written by women). Not to mention the fact that Hollywood has a huge wage gap problem, spelled out by Lawrence in an empowering essay earlier this year, as well as a race problem, highlighted by Viola Davis at this year’s Emmy Awards.

Our favorite movies of the year, such as CarolRoom, and Clouds of Sils Maria, are superb masterpieces in every respect, are (excitingly) garnering a lot of awards season buzz with most grabbing nominations for next year’s Golden Globes, and leading us into 2016 with positive, creative momentum. So while we celebrate the best films of 2015 and their incredible pro-women stories, let us not forget that the gender gap is not yet closed, that less than 10% of movies are directed by female directors, that the latest Women in Media report is, like last years’ report, as depressing as ever, and that Hollywood is still in need for greater representation of all stories.

Check out the gallery above to see our favorite movies of 2015!