When I was a freshman in college, two of my best friends (one of them being my roommate) wouldn’t let me watch movies with them. One too many snide remarks got my privileges revoked, and any time I inquired after the title of their chosen film, they would tell me and then say, “You would hate it.”
Which was probably true. If I’m going to spend an hour and a half escaping from my world of womanly woes, I want to spend it watching a woman of Substance! Depth! Profundity! Who doesn’t need a man if she doesn’t want one! Who might be a little bit clumsy and socially awkward but doesn’t pander to her less sophisticated audience members with prat falls and wardrobe malfunctions!
I’m about to give you a list of five chick flicks I don’t hate. The following list is in no order and is by no means exclusive, and they might not even meet the snobby criteria I laid out above. I don’t hate them because I don’t hate them, okay?
. I have a big-time crush on Tom Hanks, and I’d bet most women do. He’s so husbandly. He’s attractive, but not unattainably so. He’s funny without being annoying, and he’s just sensitive enough to bring you daisies when you have a cold, but not so sensitive that he can’t quote The Godfather when times are tough. Also, it’s a movie about books. And who doesn’t love Meg Ryan and her shadow-boxing behind the counter of her independent children’s book store?
Pride & Prejudice. Obviously. It’s my favorite love story. I like the Keira Knightley version for its length, beautiful cinematography, and soundtrack. But I love the BBC miniseries—it’s an indulgence. When I read the book, I have a mix of the two casts of minor characters in my head, but Elizabeth and Darcy are always Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. Speaking of—Mr. Darcy Takes A Bath.
The Princess Diaries. Abby and I watched this a couple of weeks ago. What girl doesn’t feel ugly and unnoticed in high school? What girl didn’t wish her grandmother was secretly the queen of a microstate after watching this? Who didn’t want a head-transplant-type makeover? Who didn’t wish she could utter Because you saw me when I was invisible when the boy of her dreams comes through at the last minute? Incidentally, this is still the only thing Anne Hathaway has done that hasn’t annoyed me.
Little Women. I’ve identified with Jo March since I read the book at age 7, and I will never, ever forgive Louisa May Alcott for keeping Jo and Laurie apart. Especially when Laurie looks like Christian Bale. After watching this for the first time as a little girl, I went through a stage of making newspapers for our family and pining after a secret-message-mailbox of my very own. This was also probably the first movie I saw in which someone really nice dies, so that was, and still is, quite a shock to my delicate system.
While You Were Sleeping. The perennial favorite. Sandra Bullock in her early days. She has bad bangs and wears frumpy sweaters. She is kind to the creepy son of her landlord. She dreams about seeing the world while she sits in her token booth at the train station. Okay, so she goes along with the untruth that she’s the fiancée of comatose Peter Gallagher, but when she’s so lonely and his family is so exuberant, can you really blame her?