10 Best Movies About Sisterhood, Ranked

Movies


While the word “sisterhood” is mostly referred to as a relationship between sisters, it is far from limited to these specific bonds; at its core, sisterhood is a strong and pure feeling of friendship, love, and support among women, whether connected through blood or not. Fortunately, many great films have provided audiences with incredible depictions of female bonds. It was just last year that Barbie which some may argue offers a great portrayal of women standing up for each other — was released.



At the end of the day, some movies naturally stand out more than others, specifically in how they portray this without it feeling forced but rather natural and true. From The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants to the iconic Thelma & Louise, we look back at the best movies about sisterhood that celebrate the wonderful connection between women.



10 ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ (2005)

Director: Ken Kwapis

Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Starring Blake Lively, Gilmore Girls‘ fan favorite Alexis Bledel, Barbie‘s America Ferrera and Amber Tamblyn, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants centers on the relationship of four best friends who come up with a plan to stay connected to each other when their lives suddenly take off in different directions: they decide to pass around a pair of secondhand jeans that each of their bodies despite their differing sizes.

Ken Kwapis‘ 2005 American comedy-drama is a lightweight, fun watch that meditates on the power of relationships and human connection, with an obvious emphasis on female friendships. While not by any means a masterpiece, not having The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants on this list would be a huge omission considering its iconic status when it comes to movies about female bonds. Furthermore, Kwapis’ feature also tackles the struggles and anxieties of coming of age as a young girl.


The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Release Date
June 1, 2005

Runtime
113

Rent on Apple TV

9 ‘Girlhood’ (2014)

Director: Céline Sciamma

A promotional shot of Lindsay Karamoh, Karidja Touré, Mariétou Touré, and Assa Sylla in Girlhood.
Image via Pyramide Distribution

Directed by Portrait of a Lady on Fire‘s acclaimed director Céline Sciamma, Girlhood is an utterly intriguing character study that showcases what coming of age looks like for a black girl in a rough environment. The emotional French film follows Karidja Touré‘s Marieme, a teen girl who joins a girl gang and attempts to reinvent herself to boost her self-confidence along the way.


Girlhood‘s portrayal of Black girlhood is one of its strongest aspects, considering that most coming-of-age stories surrounding the topic illustrated on the big screen prominently feature white protagonists at their center. Sciamma’s movie’s strong message about class differences, independence, and relationships between women also adds to what makes the film so great. Girlhood is essentially a well-crafted coming-of-age tale that explores identity and finding one’s place in the world.

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8 ‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always’ (2020)

Director: Eliza Hittman

Two girls sitting next to each other in Never Rarely Sometimes Always.
Image via Focus Features


Eliza Hittman‘s thought-provoking and soul-shattering feature sees a pair of inseparable teenage best friends (Sidney Flanigan and Talia Ryder) from rural Pennsylvania travel to New York City to seek out medical help after one of them unexpectedly and unintentionally falls pregnant and is confronted by conservative legislation. When it was released in 2020, Never Rarely Sometimes Always received widespread attention from critics.

In addition to Flanigan’s incredible performance and the well-crafted screenplay it features, Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a great film because of the themes it tackles; not only does Hittman’s affecting feature shed light on abortion and the emotional toll it takes on women, but also highlights the bond that connects two young women. Essentially, it is a movie about sisterhood and womanhood, focusing on the comfort that comes from feeling understood — especially by other women.


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7 ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ (1953)

Director: Howard Hawks

Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes'
Image via 20th Century Studios

With the incredibly talented Marilyn Monroe and her dear friend Jane Russell at its center, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a comedy musical that follows showgirls Lorelai and Dorothy as they make their way to Paris while pursued by a private detective and an enamored old man (among other admirers).

Although its comedic elements and great musical numbers are iconic — Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, for one, endures a beloved song today — Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is much more than its cheeky social satire, which captures how the two protagonists subside male objectification (though, for various reasons, it is not to be labeled as a feminist film per se). The poignant messages that Gentlemen Prefer Blondes sends about sisterhood and female friendships elevate it to higher grounds, and Lorelai and Dorothy’s funny but tender bond is among the most iconic on-screen to this day.


Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Release Date
July 14, 1953

Cast
Jane Russell , Marilyn Monroe , Charles Coburn , Elliott Reid , Tommy Noonan , George Winslow

Runtime
91

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6 ‘The Virgin Suicides’ (1999)

Director: Sofia Coppola

Kirsten Dunst, A. J. Cook, Chelse Swain and Hanna R. Hall as the Lisbon sisters in The Virgin Suicides close-up shot.
Image via Paramount Vantage

Next up is Sofia Coppola‘s equal parts haunting and dreamy The Virgin Suicides, adapted from Jeffrey Eugenides‘ 1993 debut novel of the same name. Set in the mid-1970s, the movie narrates the lives of the mysterious Lisbon sisters, ages 13 to 17, played by Kirsten Dunst, A.J. Cook, Leslie Hayman, Hannah Hall, and Chelse Swain, who are sheltered by their religious parents and the subject of the desire of a group of male friends.


Coppola has always been renowned for the accurate way she portrays girlhood in film, and this 1999 film is no exception. Although not everyone’s cup of tea given the sensitive topics it deals with — including the almost inevitable loneliness that comes with being a girl at such an age — The Virgin Suicides would not exist if it weren’t for its depiction of sisterhood and the bond that connects its central characters.

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5 ‘Little Women’ (2019)

Director: Greta Gerwig

The March sisters embrace each other in Little Women.
Image via Sony Pictures


Before the extraordinary summer hit Barbie, Greta Gerwig‘s highest-grossing film was 2019’s Little Women, a charming book-to-screen adaptation of the beloved classic by Louisa May Alcott. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Timothée Chalamet, Emma Watson, Eliza Scanlen, and even Meryl Streep and Laura Dern, Little Women goes back and forth in time to tell the story of the March sisters, four women determined to live their lives on their own terms.

To many viewers — particularly young women — the joyous Little Women feels like a warm hug and a careful pat on the back, providing solace to the girls who feel lost, misunderstood, and overwhelmed in the face of hardship. With a touching, heartwarming story that touches on girlhood, gender roles, sacrifice, and the power of family, this Gerwig feature, which features sisterhood at its center, ranks high as the best movie adaptation of the classic tale.


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4 ‘Mustang’ (2015)

Director: Deniz Gamze Ergüven

The sisters in Mustang sitting and lying beside their bed cuddling each other.
Image via TIFF

Despite its critical acclaim (which includes nine nominations at the César Awards, where it took home for First Feature Film, Original Screenplay, Editing, and Original Music), Mustang is perhaps the most underrated feature on this list — but also one of the most fitting picks regarding sisterhood. Deniz Gamze Ergüven‘s film illustrates the tale of five orphan sisters who are innocently seen playing with boys on the beach. This results in their conservative guardians confining them in while forced marriages are arranged.


If audiences are on the lookout for beautifully shot movies with moving storylines, the Turkish-language Mustang is the right pick. The immaculate and at times even innocent way Mustang tackles suppressed womanhood and the powerful connection between female siblings keeps audiences intrigued, making for the right pick for anyone who enjoyed Coppola’s equally melancholic The Virgin Suicides.

The Mustang

Release Date
March 15, 2019

Runtime
96

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3 ‘One Sings, the Other Doesn’t’ (1977)

Director: Agnès Varda

Thérèse Liotard and Valérie Mairesse holding each other on the street and smiling in One Sings, the Other Doesn't.

Image by Ciné-tamaris

Agnès Varda‘s work cemented the skillful filmmaker as one of the most iconic female directors of all time; she paved the way for many women in the male-dominated industry and is even regarded as the grandmother of the French New Wave. Among Varda’s most impressive accomplishments is One Sings, the Other Doesn’t, a 1977 feature about the lives of an aspiring singer (Valérie Mairesse) and a struggling mother (Thérèse Liotard) who embark on a self-discovery journey in 1970s France.


One Sings, the Other Doesn’t is a must-see story about women directed by women, with stunning cinematography to match its incredible screenplay. Like other Varda works, it tackles what it is like to be a woman, shedding light on abortion, women’s bodies and agencies, and social rebellion. Among these themes is, of course, the heartwarming sisterhood between the two main characters, who clearly care for each other deeply.

Watch on Criterion

2 ‘The Young Girls of Rochefort’ (1967)

Director: Jacques Demy

Françoise Dorléac and Catherine Deneuve sitting side by side and singing in Young Girls of Rochefort.
Image via Comacico


Speaking of French New Wave filmmakers, Varda’s spouse, Jacques Demy, also deserves a nod on this list. His pastel-colored work in The Young Girls of Rochefort is understandably among France’s most memorable and even earned the filmmaker an Academy Award nomination for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture. Starring the legendary French actress Catherine Deneuve alongside Françoise Dorléac, Demy’s movie follows two sisters who leave their small town in search of romance.

The Young Girls of Rochefort serves as both a romance film and an intriguing self-discovery drama, as identity and the pursuit of one’s dreams are two very poignant themes in the movie. However, The Young Girls of Rochefort‘s unique story, as the title suggests, thrives upon Solange and Delphine’s beautiful relationship — the realistic connection the two share successfully cemented them as one of the most iconic cinematic sister duos.


Watch on Criterion

1 ‘Thelma & Louise’ (1991)

Director: Ridley Scott

Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis as Louise and Thelma posing for a selfie and smiling in 'Thelma & Louise' (1991)
Image via MGM-Pathé Communications

One of the films that immediately pops to mind when the subject is unforgettable female bonds in cinema is Ridley Scott‘s timeless Thelma & Louise, an adventure crime drama following two best friends (Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon) who set out on an adventure that takes a wild turn, with the two escaping from the crimes they committed while being chased by the police.

There are many reasons why Scott’s film endures so beloved after all these years. In a way, Thelma & Louise was a trailblazing feature, subverting expectations and stereotypes while propelling its female protagonists with an inspiring sense of freedom. A significant portion of its charm, however, lies in how authentic the bond between the titular characters feels. Scott’s movie is the ultimate sisterhood watch with two fierce women at its center.


Thelma & Louise

Release Date
May 24, 1991

Runtime
130 minutes

Watch on Roku

NEXT: 10 Must-See Classic Movies Directed by Women, Ranked



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