2012’s Top Ten Movies for Women

By Lauren DuBois,
The movies that made women swoon in 2012

This year has brought more than its fair share of movies to big screens everywhere, with several geared to male audiences. Women got their own share of movies this year, that they went to see with their friends, or dragged the men in their lives to (kicking and screaming). Here are the top ten women’s movies of 2012:

10. Friends with Kids: (Jennifer Westfeldt, Adam Scott, Maya Rudolph; March 16th; Comedy; Worldwide Gross: $7 million):
This comedy, which received lukewarm responses from both critics and audiences, is about two best friends who decide to have a child together while keeping their relationship platonic, in hopes of avoiding the tolls kids can take on romantic relationships. Good for fans of Westfeldt’s 2001 comedy Kissing Jessica Stein, as well as fans of Scott. Another brilliant move comes from the reuniting of four members of 2011’s breakout hit Bridesmaids, giving the comedy an even bigger edge among female audiences who loved the raunch-fest comedy finally geared directly towards them.

9. Bachelorette: (Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, Lizzie Caplan; September 6th; Comedy; Worldwide gross: $10 million):
In this movie, three friends are asked to be bridesmaids at the wedding of a girl they used to ridicule back in high school. Not a fan favorite or critical darling, (mostly because it’s hard to like the trio of mean girl leads) because it plays it just a little bit too safe. However, the movie still has a certain appeal because it combines Bridesmaids with The Hangover, giving women more of what they need: occasional movies with raunch factor that aren’t too over-the-top, but that are just different enough from the usual romantic comedy fare.

8. Celeste and Jesse Forever: (Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Elijah Wood; August 24th; Romantic Comedy; Domestic Gross: $3 million):
A divorcing couple tries to maintain their friendship while pursuing other people. Shrewd and somewhat incisive with how it doesn’t play to the norms of its genre, but doesn’t manage to escape it entirely, which gave it a slightly lower likability among critics and audiences. But it does give Jones a chance to shine in a way she never really has before on the big screen. She has had significantly smaller roles in the past. This serves as her first real chance to prove herself as a comedic actress to theater-going audiences—and that’s precisely what she does.

7. What to Expect When You’re Expecting: (Cameron Diaz, Matthew Morrison, J. Todd Smith; May 18th; Romantic Comedy; Worldwide Gross: $83 million):
A look at love through the eyes of five interconnected couples experiencing the thrills and surprises of having a baby, while also learning that no matter what you plan for, life doesn’t always deliver what’s expected. While few critics liked it because they felt it was too reliant upon typical rom-com clichés and couldn’t possibly live up to its literary namesake, audiences gave it a mild reception. Though it certainly does not live up to its namesake, it isn’t bad for an ensemble comedy, many of which fail to really capture the art of a few stories getting connected together at the end. The real treat for women is that it’s one of the rare movies that captures all aspects of pregnancy, and doesn’t just sugarcoat it the way most pregnancy comedies do, which would make any woman who has been through the joys of pregnancy, labor and birth, enjoy this take on the experience.

6. Hope Springs: (Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell; August 8th; Dramedy; Worldwide Gross: $107 million):
In this thoughtful look at mature relationships, a middle-aged couple attends an intense, week-long counseling session to work on their relationship. The film, which was well-received, also manages to provide a few adult laughs while it touches poignantly upon the older set in relationships. Women will enjoy Streep’s performance, and generally any movie she is in is guaranteed to appeal greatly to the female audience.

5. The Lucky One: (Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner; April 20th; Drama; Worldwide Gross: $92 million):
Based on the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name, a Marine travels to Louisiana after serving three tours in Iraq to find an unknown woman from a photograph whom he believes to be his good luck charm. Critics hated this, saying that those who aren’t already familiar with the Nicholas Sparks formula were bound to find it full of schmaltzy clichés. However, those who were already familiar with the formula, and more importantly, were fans of the book, found it to be good enough to inspire some tears (as all good weepie romance movies for women do). It has a definite appeal for the younger set at a minimum because of Efron.

4. Amour: (Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert; September 20th; Romantic Drama; Worldwide Gross: $2.5 million):
A depiction of love in old age, Georges and Anne are 80-year-old retired music teachers whose love is put to the ultimate test when Anne suffers from an attack. Critics and audiences alike have so far eaten this film up, and it is generating some serious Oscar buzz, especially for Riva. It is powered by beautiful acting and a script that is uncharacteristic for the usually somewhat less compelling Michael Haneke, which gives the story an unusual honesty that is rare in most films these days. The only thing that could, and most likely will, keep it from reaching further audiences is the fact that the film is in French.

3. The Vow: (Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Sam Neill; February 10th; Romantic Drama; Worldwide Gross: $197 million):
After a car accident gives his wife amnesia and she can’t remember anything about her life with him, a man tries to make her fall in love all over again. Based on the true story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, the vow failed to impress critics, but gripped audiences just in time for love-saturated Valentine’s Day. Though the material they were given was admittedly not the greatest, Tatum and McAdams made the best of it, and reminded audiences why they loved them in their own individual Nicholas Sparks' adaptation films, Dear John and The Notebook respectively. For women who wanted an emotional journey and a true story of the ultimate power of love, The Vow delivered.

2. Pitch Perfect: (Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson; October 5th; Musical Comedy; Worldwide Gross: $77 million):
A college freshman joins her school’s all-girls singing group, and by injecting some much-needed energy into their repertoire, helps them take on their male rivals in a campus competition. This well-received film didn’t stray too far from the expected plot, but did feature catchy musical numbers and a spit-fire cast that never fails to entertain. It was the perfect movie for a girl’s night out.

1. Magic Mike: (Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Munn; June 29th; Dramedy; Worldwide Gross: $161 million):
A male stripper teaches his young protégé how to party, pick up women, and make easy money. This is the number one movie for women this year for several reasons. The first, and probably the most obvious, is that it’s about male strippers. The second, and probably just as obvious, is that it stars several hot, young, male actors including Matthew McConaughey, Joe Manganiello, and Matt Bomer, alongside Pettyfer and Tatum, the man graced with this year’s Sexiest Man Alive title by People Magazine. The third, is that the movie is more than just hot men baring their perfect bodies for female audiences both in the movie and in the theatre. It also has a moving and poignant story attached to it, one that is beautifully written and directed, and that allows the actors to prove their chops.

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