We want to share with you a list of the best business movies and documentaries with women entrepreneurs in mind.
You won’t find here the stereotypes and clichés that, unfortunately, abound on the big screen. You won’t see in these productions heartless and cold bosses who don’t hesitate to fire employees from their high Louboutins. You won’t find either the other side of the coin: delicate young women dreaming behind their desks about Prince Charming (who, on top of it all, is the boss!).
We did our best to find titles that do away with these commonplaces and show the initiative and efforts made by real-life women, just like you, even if they belong to the big screen.
We hope that this selection inspires you and gives you food for thought. Share this list to encourage others to support the initiatives of women entrepreneurs and to foster equality at work.
The Best 10 Business Movies for Women Entrepreneurs
1. Mostly Martha (2001)
Director: Sandra Nettelbeck
Plot: The life of Martha, a shy and well-known cook living in Hamburg, is turned upside down when her sister dies in a car accident. Martha decides to take care of her orphan niece and has to deal with a long list of other problems. Mario, an Italian cook who works with Martha, brightens up their lives.
What Can You Learn from This Movie? How extreme personal circumstances affect a woman’s job and how to maintain a work-family life balance.
Curiosities: This film was remade in the United States in 2007 under the title No Reservations, with Catherine Zeta-Jones in the leading role.
2. Sunshine Cleaning (2008)
Director: Christine Jeffs
Plot: Rose, a single mom, is forced to take a crime scene cleanup job to help the police. She persuades Norah, her unemployed sister, into the business.
What Can You Learn from This Movie? You can make it in an area that is not traditionally intended for women. Women entrepreneurs do not make gender distinctions when it comes to choosing the industry they want to work in.
Curiosities: From the producers of Little Miss Sunshine, another recommended comedy that revolves around clichés in child beauty pageants.
3. She ++ the documentary (2013)
Directors: Ayna Agarwal and Ellora Israni
Plot: The goal of this documentary, directed by two Stanford students after the movement She++, is to inspire women to succeed in the field of information technology.
What can you learn from this movie? If you are already in the IT world, you will be able to think about negative stereotypes. It will help you consider the two sides of the coin: how technology is seen by women and vice versa, how women are regarded in IT jobs.
Curiosities: You can watch the full documentary (just 12 very inspiring minutes) by clicking on the link below.
4. The Ground Beneath My Feet (2019)
Director: Marie Kreutzer
Plot: Lola is a business consultant who excels at her job. She keeps the existence of her sister Conny and her family’s history of mental illness secret. But something unexpected upsets this fragile balance.
What Can You Learn from This Movie? The main character tries to keep her hard personal life out of her work life, but it ends up being impossible. What should a woman entrepreneur do? Should you share your personal life with your coworkers, or should you entirely separate both areas?
Curiosities: If you like this movie, you can also watch Tori Erdmann, a comedy that goes deep into the topics of work and happiness.
5. Julie & Julia (2009)
Director: Nora Ephron
Plot: Julie aspires to cook the 524 recipes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a classic cookbook written in 1961 by the American chef Julia Child. She also writes about her hard experience on a blog, which is an unexpected success among her followers.
What Can You Learn from This Movie? Do what you are passionate about, no matter how big the obstacles in your way are. Success will be a natural consequence.
Curiosities: The movie is based on the two lives of two real-life characters: Julie Powell and Julia Child. The second one is superbly played by Meryl Streep. Julia Child studied at the prestigious cook school Cordon Bleu. She spread French cuisine all over the United States through TV shows and her successful book Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
6. The bookshop (2017)
Director: Isabel Coixet
Plot: England, 1959. In a small town, a young woman decides to open the first bookshop in the area even though her neighbors strongly object to it.
What Can You Learn from This Movie? How you can tackle hostility to your business by the residents in your area. How can you turn your opponents into your customers?
Curiosities: Director Isabel Coixet read the novel The Bookshop by Penélope Fitzgerald and decided to adapt the book into a film.
7. Born to Win (Nacida para ganar) (2016)
Director: Vicente Villanueva
Plot: Encarna lives a dull life that hasn’t changed for years. An encounter with María Dolores, a former classmate, changes her humdrum routine completely. María Dolores suggests that she enters into a promising business that will bring big benefits and the life she always dreamed about.
What Can You Learn from This Movie? Being greedy and focusing only on social status can blind you and hurt your career as a businesswoman.
Curiosities: Victoria Abril parodies an unscrupulous diva.
8. Small Time Crooks (2000)
Director: Woody Allen.
Plot: Ray Winkler plans to break into a bank through a tunnel. Thus, he rents the next-door pizza parlor. His wife, who is in charge of the kitchen, starts selling cookies that are a roaring success, and they strike it rich legally.
What Can You Learn from This Movie? Sometimes, a business unexpectedly thrives because your customers are thrilled about what you do and the love you put into your job.
Curiosities: The movie poster is based on an NYPD campaign from the 70s with the phrase “Never Give a Criminal an Even Break.”
9. Working Girl (1988)
Director: Mike Nichols
Plot: Tess, a working-class young woman, is one of the many secretaries of a large company. She is burning to get a better position. She is intelligent and soon realizes that she needs to know how to deal with a hostile world. Her ruthless boss has an accident, and this opens doors for her career, although through lying and cheating. That will be a risky game where she can learn a lot or lose everything.
What Can You Learn from This Movie? You choose which values will lead your search for success. Would you do what Tess did?
Curiosities: Harrison Ford was the best-paid actor in the movie, but he appears on the screen after half an hour of footage.
10. Coco Chanel (2008)
Director: Christian Duguay
Plot: This miniseries follows the life of the famous fashion designer Coco Chanel. She loses her mother when she is 12, and her father abandons her and her brothers. Young Coco learns to sew at a Catholic orphanage, and little by little, she forges ahead until she becomes an icon in the haute-couture world.
What Can You Learn from This Movie? Having no means of support is not an excuse for not being successful, even if the path is not a bed of roses. It wasn’t a bed of roses for Coco Chanel, either. Being poor and unsupported, she had to start from the very bottom. Yet, she used her talent and worked hard to make her way in life until she became one of 100 most influential people of the 20th century, according to Time magazine.
Curiosities: The director wanted to add a social touch to the story and dived into topics such as women’s rights.
We hope that you enjoy our selection, that it inspires you to reach your goals, and helps you find ideas to improve your business.
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