Reel Girl’s List of Top 10 Movies Starring Heroic Girls to Show Your Kids

Since my oldest daughter turned 10, we’ve been able to watch films for older kids, and I’m so impressed by what we’ve seen. For the most part, movies for this age group seem to have more female characters with power and agency than those in animation. I’m so psyched about some of these movies that I put together a Top 10 list for you. All the ones on this list star strong, brave, smart girls. Please remember, these movies are recommended for your daughters and sons to see. All children need to experience narratives with heroic girls. These movies are not “just for girls.”

Click on the links to read my reviews. If you want to know more details about sex or violence content in the movies, I suggest you go to My reviews touch on these issues, but mostly, I care about my kids seeing girls with power and agency.

If there are movies you think I should take a look at, please consult Reel Girl’s Working List of Recommended Movies for Ages 10 and Up and also Reel Girl’s List of Movies Centered on Awesome Female Characters (for younger kids) to see if the title is there yet. Please add any recommendations in the comment sections of those posts. Thank you and enjoy!

Akeelah and the Bee




Fly Away Home


The Last Mimzy


Rabbit Proof Fence


Soul Surfer


Whale Rider


Hunger Games/ Catching Fire


Bend it Like Beckham


Wrinkle in Time


 Update: “Divergent” came out after this list was made. I LOVE “Divergent,” book and movie. Read my review here.

Lots of you complained about “Wrinkle in Time,” and I agree the special effects are bad, but my kids love this movie. They don’t care. I love the story, about a girl who is into and great at science who goes into space to save her father. “Wrinkle in Time” stays on the list.


11 thoughts on “Reel Girl’s List of Top 10 Movies Starring Heroic Girls to Show Your Kids

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  2. Hi Margot, I wondered if you had done any research on female ‘baddies’ in kids films? I ask because a friend just told me that her son was upset at how baddies in films are always men and how he felt this wasn’t fair.
    So I was trying to think of female baddies, and could only think of a few, and often they are the sidekicks of the main male bad guy. It seems to me that both girls and boys are short-changed by these predictable story lines. Baddies are important in kids films, they teach right and wrong, morality, and a safe environment to encounter difficult issues. If the baddies are usually men, what sort of that message is that sending to boys – that men are inherently badder than women? And for girls the message is that they should always be the good, perfect ones.
    The only female baddies I could think of were: The White Witch in ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’; Cruella da Vil; and The Wicked Witch of the West in ‘The Wizard of Oz’. Note that none of the books those films were based on are contemporary books….

  3. I came across the worst ever description of A Wrinkle in Time; “Charles Wallace Murray goes searching for his lost father, and finds himself on an evil planet.”
    It was in the ‘more science fiction in Puffin’ section of an old paperback.
    No mention at all of Meg Murray or Mrs Whatsit.

  4. Thanks for these, some are a bit too much for our eight-year-old, but not all of course! I’m guessing there are many more. One that immediately comes to mind is one of our favorites: Nim’s Island. 🙂

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