Thanksgiving is still a week away, but there’s a lot to feast on in the next few days, especially if you’re looking for female-centric entertainment. Everywhere you look — the multiplex, the arthouse theater, the small screen, the bookstore, the record store (do those still exist anymore?) — there’s a creative woman taking over the entertainment world. Here are our five pop-culture essentials for this weekend:
1. “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.” The final installment of “The Hunger Games” is set to open on over 33,000 screens worldwide, with an estimated take of $300 million over the weekend. The franchise’s star, Jennifer Lawrence, was just named Hollywood’s most valuable star. Whether you’re a fan or not, there’s no denying that the adaptations of Suzanne Collins’ dystopian trilogy have transformed the film industry. Katniss’ domination of the box office has led to the greenlighting of a number of other action heroines and emboldened Lawrence to speak out on behalf of other women. So grab your bow and arrows, and let’s celebrate the Girl on Fire.
2. “Carol.” What’s so extraordinary about this Patricia Highsmith adaptation starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as a nascent lesbian couple is that it is not a film about shame. It is a film about love. And what’s so special about “Carol” is that it puts women’s lives on display in a way we have not experienced before. This is the type of movie we have been desperate to see: Real women struggling and living real lives, with women who make us question the role of society in multiple ways. “Carol” is the grown-up romance we’ve been longing for ages to see. (Listen to Women and Hollywood’s podcast interview with producers Liz Karlsen and Christine Vachon.)
3. “Jessica Jones.” The great first season of Melissa Rosenberg’s Netflix series, now available to stream in its entirety, will cure you of your superhero fatigue. An “irresistible feminist noir,” as our TV critic Sara Stewart calls it, it stars Krysten Ritter as a “hard-drinking, short-fused mess of a woman” — our favorite kind! — and constitutes a “win on the gender and sexuality fronts.” Notes our review, “The show’s real focus is Jessica’s inner world — her attempts to reconcile her trauma and move beyond it, while being repeatedly drawn back in by her inability not to help others — whether it’s her addict neighbor (Eka Darville) or a kidnapping victim (Erin Moriarty) or Luke Cage (Mike Colter), a hot local bar owner with mysterious ties to the [arch-nemesis] Kilgrave story. She regularly makes sacrifices for others in spite of her rudeness, her toughness and her belief in her own intrinsic selfishness.” (Read Women and Hollywood’s review of “Jessica Jones.”)
4. “The Year of Yes.” OK, so Shonda Rhimes’ book technically came out last week. But we bet there are a lot of you who haven’t yet gotten to her brilliant memoir — a situation that should be fixed, the sooner the better. It’s got a great hook, of course — the “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” creator said yes to everything over the course of a year — but it’s really a peek into Rhimes’ wise, funny, surprisingly candid brain, which contains opinions on everything from accepting compliments and balancing showrunning with single motherhood to, yes, the recent weight loss that’s been (unfairly) making the most headlines. By the end of journey in “The Year of Yes,” you’ll feel like you’ve gained a new best friend.
5. “25.” Adele is simply in a category of her own — a fact she’s proving by refusing to allow her new album to be streamed online. The highly anticipated follow-up to her last album, the hit factory “21,” Adele’s third studio album already has a record-breaking single. What’s refreshing, too, is the singer’s confidence in her pop domination. “I’m the least-insecure person I know,” she declared in her recent Rolling Stone profile. Right so, Adele.