Until recently, movies in the adventure genre that would feature women as the main leads were quite uncommon and sometimes difficult to find. Only in the last decade and a half has the push for more diversification and inclusion in Hollywood finally led to a sizeable selection of adventure films that star a woman as the main character of the story.
Previously, women would more often just be shafted to a side role as damsels in distress or potential love interests for the main character. But now, if you’re planning to spend a day with your daughter for quality bonding time and want to put on a movie about a woman that has a grand adventure, you have plenty of options to choose from. We narrowed down the selection to a handful of some of the most entertaining movies and made a list. These can range anywhere from fantastical fictious worlds to slow paced and lengthy movies about a girl exploring the great outdoors.
Women Outward Bound (2016)
Challenging the belief that was held until so recently and is one of the reasons this post was written, Women Outward Bound attacks the issues of sexism and inequality between the treatments of women at its core. The just over an hour-long documentary follows the story of 28 brave women who, in the year 1965, took it upon themselves to break societal norms and challenge the sexism they faced head on.
The documentary is centered on a certain Outward Bound Wilderness School and its refusal to allow women to participate in its programs. The 28 women take it upon themselves to survive out in the woods for almost a month with no one to rely on but themselves and each other. In doing so, these women put to rest once and for all the question of whether one sex is less qualified to handle itself in the wild compared to the other sex. The documentary can be purchased or rented for viewing on DVD.
Wildlike is a very engaging film about sexual assault and the following trauma, while also focusing on how women can take initiative to help themselves start to heal. Wildlike follows a 14-year-old girl that is sent to live with her uncle in the state of Alaska due to the death of her father and her mother’s hospitalization. While there, she faces sexual harassment from her uncle and, after things become unbearable, escapes the house and starts to try to make her way back home.
The movie sees her befriend a much older backpacker along the way who eventually helps her get back home to Seattle after a journey that slowly heals her as time goes on. The movie has been very well received by critics and audience alike, and has won over a hundred festival awards while having been played at over 150 film festivals. Wildlike is a pretty good introduction to the issues young girls often have to face at the hands of society, and how they recover from it over time.
Truly an awe-inspiring film, and one that shows the whole journey as it was filmed, Maidentrip is a film about the youngest person ever to have sailed around the globe. Laura Dekker, an ambitious and extremely daring girl, was born on a boat and spent her earliest years in shipyards. These circumstances likely played in to her dreams of one day becoming the youngest person to have sailed the seven seas.
When she was only 13, she floated this idea to the public and was met with strong criticism from the authorities as well as her family. However, she refused to relent and within a year had secured the legal rights to set sail. The whole documentary borrows heavily from the raw footage Laura filmed herself as she went around the whole world on her tiny boat, and is without a doubt one of the strongest truth-based piece of media out there. Laura Dekker now resides in New Zealand, her country of origin, and continues to work in shipyards while occasionally giving presentations about her iconic journey.
Captain Marvel (2019)
There is absolutely no way you are unaware of this film unless you’ve literally been living under a rock. Released just last year, Captain Marvel was a movie that had had people on their toes ever since it had been announced. With how great MARVEL movies have been doing this whole decade, people had extremely high hopes for the film, and Captain Marvel delivered.
A superhero film with MARVEL’s wit and epic storytelling combined with a super confident and excellent female role, the whole movie is an adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The film, though also heavily focused on fast-paced action scenes, has a pretty good story driving the whole thing. Without spoiling too much in case you still haven’t watched it, the story follows Captain Marvel as she tries to make sense of recurring visions from a supposedly real past life, and has lots of thrilling twists and turns that will keep your eyes glued to the screen as this one woman powerhouse almost singlehandedly saves the entire galaxy.
Arrival is one of those films. You know the one; the kind of film that leaves your eyes wide open, your body covered in goosebumps, and you excitedly debating the plot with everyone else as you already begin to plan a re-watch. It’s that kind of movie. Arrival follows a female scientist who is assigned on a team sent out to a remote area to observe and try to communicate with a gigantic alien ship of sorts that has just materialized out of the fourth dimension of Spacetime and is now hovering eerily a few hundred feet above the ground.
The whole film is an absolute masterpiece when it comes to cinematography and storytelling, and the whole adventure of our lead character slowly figuring out the answers and putting the pieces together is so well told and so deeply planned that you will only ever get the full story if you watch the film twice or even more times. Without spoiling much, the film centers around focusing on the perception of space and time and how it might differ from how we perceive it to be.
Those are but a handful of great adventure movies starring female roles as the main characters. There are so many more out there nowadays that you won’t run out of stuff to watch any time soon. If instead of movies you’re racking your brains to figure out what type of songs you can use in slideshows of special occasions like your children’s birthdays, this post might help you make a decision. Want to read a longer list of some good movies to watch with your daughter? We’ve got 20 movie ideas right here.