Last week, Alexandra MacAaron wrote about the empowering Wonder Women coming this Fall to network TV’s list of shows. In this iteration of The Wednesday Five, we are following suit and heading to the big screen. For the The Netflix Five, we share with you five  films featuring compelling women (and girls) characters—all newly streaming on Netflix this month.

 

1.

Miss Julie (Directed by Liv Ullmann, 2014)

Miss Julie is based on the play of the same title by August Strindberg and stars Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton. It had its world premiere in the Special Presentations section of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. The story is set in 1890, in Fermanagh, during the course of a midsummer night. Julie (Jessica Chastain), the daughter of the Count, an Anglo-Irish aristocrat, attempts to seduce her father’s valet, John (Colin Farrell). The affair quickly goes to some dark places, with power and class playing a key role.

 

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2.

About Elly (Directed by Asghar Farhadi, 2009)

About Elly is a gripping mystery set among a group of old friends, including Elly, on a holiday retreat. With the return of their close friend Ahmad from Germany, a group of former college pals decide to reunite for a weekend outing by the Caspian Sea. But seemingly trivial lies, which start accumulating from the moment the group arrives at the seashore, suddenly swing round and come back full force when one afternoon Elly suddenly vanishes. Her mysterious disappearance sets in motion a series of deceptions and revelations that threaten to shatter everything they hold dear.

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3.

Madame Bovary (Directed by Sophie Barthes, 2014)

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Gustave Flaubert. This “Madame Bovary” begins as teenage Emma who is packing up her belongings and preparing to leave the convent to marry the man her farmer father has arranged as her husband: country doctor Charles Bovary. But life in the small, provincial town soon makes her miserable. An  affair emboldens her and gives her glimpse of another kind of  life.

 

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4.

Philomena (Directed by Stephen Frears, 2013)

Philomena is based on The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, a 2009 book by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith. Lee was just a teenager when she met a boy at a fair. Motherless from a young age, she had been raised by nuns and knew nothing of sex or birth control. When she became pregnant, her father sent her to the convent at Roscrea, where she was forced to give her baby up for adoption (the babies were actually given to wealthy U.S. families, presumably because of large donations) and work for four years in a laundry to repay their keep. Eventually building a life and family for herself, she never forgot her child. Fifty years later, with the help of Sixsmith, she uncovered where he was taken and who he had grown up to be. But it was too late. Her son, Michael Hess, a closeted gay man who had risen to be chief counsel to President Bush, had already died of AIDS. (Read the full Women’s Voices review). Released on Netflix on September 22.

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5.

Moonrise Kingdom (Directed by Wes Anderson, 2012)

The year is 1965, and the residents of New Penzance, an island off the coast of New England, inhabit a community that seems untouched by some of the bad things going on in the rest of the world. Twelve-year-olds Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) have fallen in love and decide to run away. But a violent storm is approaching the island, forcing a group of quirky adults to mobilize a search party and find the youths before calamity strikes.

 

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