From sworn enemies to loving sisters, and everything in between, films manage to create an intriguing array of female duos. The following list ranks 25 of the best female duos in cinema, which represent a wide array of friends, classmates, and relatives who antagonize, compliment, and love/hate one another.
25. The Devil Wears Prada (Dir. David Frankel, 2006)
Based on Lauren Weisberger’s novel of the same name, The Devil Wears Prada follows Andy (Anne Hathaway), a young woman who is trying to make it in the fashion magazine industry. As the assistant to the frosty Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), Andy soon discovers that if she wants to make it to the top, she is going to have to shed some of her likeable personality.
Frankel strikes a fine balance between Miranda’s icy demeanor (based on Anna Wintour’s personality) and Andy’s relatable naivety, constructing an antagonistic relationship between a boss and her employee.
24. Girl, Interrupted (Dir. James Mangold, 1999)
After an “accidental” suicide attempt, Susanna Kaysen (Winona Ryder) checks into a mental hospital where she refuses to admit that she has a problem. Susanna slowly succumbs to the idiosyncrasies of her fellow patients, especially those of Lisa (Angelina Jolie). The two patients form a strange bond, one that straddles between homosocial partnership and latent homosexual desire.
The film was intended to be a vehicle for Ryder, but Angelina stole the spotlight (and won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress).
23. The Help (Dir. Tate Taylor, 2011)
The Help is a conventional feel-good movie that does exactly what it sets out to do: draw an emotional reaction from viewers in regards to the racial injustices of the 50s and 60s. In spite of its conventional tactics, the film boasts a pair of amazing actresses, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, who breathe life into the characters of Aibileen and Minny.
Combined with Aibileen’s insightful narration and Minny’s hotheaded antics, the film reveals that the two women may react to situations in different ways, but they still rely on one other for strength and guidance.
22. Walking and Talking (Dir. Nicole Holofcener, 1996)
Nicole Holofcener’s debut film is quite remarkable in its ability to create, at its core, a wonderful friendship between two women on opposite sides of the spectrum. Laura (Anne Heche) and Amelia (Catherine Keener) are two best friends who relish in Amelia’s highs and endure Laura’s lows. Their conversations and interactions feel “lived-in” because the chemistry between Heche and Keener makes you believe they have a friendship outside of the characters they portray.
21. Julia (Dir. Fred Zinnemann, 1977)
Chronicling the real life friendship between playwright, Lillian Hellman (Jane Fonda), and her anti-fascist friend, Julia (Vanessa Redgrave, in an Oscar-winning role), Julia examines the lengths one person will go in order to help her best friend. Following money runs, the murder of Julia, and a secret love child, the film shows Lillian’s resilience through adversity, and her attempts to salvage her friendship with her departed friend.
20. Blue Is The Warmest Color (Dir. Abdellatif Kechiche, 2013)
In spite of its flaws, Kechiche’s La vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 et 2 (Blue Is The Warmest Color) depicts the rollercoaster relationship between Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) and Emma (Léa Seydoux). The film is quite remarkable in its frankness in regards to sexuality (though some critics would criticize its gratuitous sex scenes). Still, there is no denying the magic between Exarchopoulos and Seydoux, who portray the highs and lows of Adèle and Emma’s doomed relationship.
19. Terms of Endearment (Dir. James L. Brooks, 1983)
Aurora (Shirley MacLaine) and Emma (Debra Winger) juggle their mother-daughter relationship with their romantic endeavors…that is until Emma discovers that she has cancer. Brooks’ tearjerker entered into pop culture with a bang, constructing a heartbreaking portrait of two women who do the best they can with the tragedies they have been dealt in life.
18. Hilary and Jackie (Dir. Anand Tucker, 1998)
Tucker’s controversial Hilary and Jackie follows the unorthodox relationship between Jacqueline du Pré (Emily Watson) and her sister, Hilary (Rachel Griffiths). As Jacqueline’s musical talents bring about fame and fortune, her personal crises (including a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis) test her relationships, including her bond with Hilary. Though the film plays more like a biopic of Jacqueline du Pré’s life, the central focus is the relationship between the two unconventional sisters.