5 “Shall We Dance?”
Movie magic was made when Richard Gere showed up at Susan Sarandon’s workplace wearing a tux and carrying a rose. All you have to do is watch the reactions of the women around her to understand how poignant and powerful that scene is. Women like it when men make a public display of their affection. It helps if you look like Richard Gere in a tux, but even if you don’t, clean up, don a suit and show up at her workplace so you can sweep her off her feet and make her the envy of all her co-workers. It’s a guarantee you’ll be in there like swimwear if you just put forth that itty-bitty effort.
4 “When Harry Met Sally”
Yeah, women fake it. Deal with it.
3 “Sleeping With the Enemy”
Julia Roberts is a battered woman who goes to great lengths to escape her abusive husband, but you don’t have to be an abuser to learn the lesson here. In the scene where Patrick Bergin is making love to her and the camera closes in on her haunted, fearful eyes, the audience sees she is submitting to something she doesn’t want to do. It’s when the camera pulls back and the look on Roberts’ face changes to one of a seductress as she looks at her husband that the audience understands the pain she’s in and how she can’t show her true feelings for fear she will anger him. Powerful stuff. Watch for that scene, and in that moment you will learn more about women than you want to know.
2 “Bridges of Madison County”
Meryl Streep was a lonely wife in a lonely life in a lonely world. When a handsome photographer (played by Clint Eastwood) blows into town while her husband and kids are out of town, the Earth moves under her feet. She talks about taking a hot bath while drinking a cold beer as if it were the most magical thing in the world. Women everywhere identify with Francesca as she envies the stranger’s exciting life, the life she, as a girl, hoped she would have. But alas she’s tied to a family and a home. It’s not so much that she resented the husband and the home, it’s more like “What if?” Indeed.
1 “Thelma and Louise”
When Thelma turned to Louise and uttered the words “something’s crossed over in me and I just can’t go back,” women everywhere—especially those who’ve been treated badly—sent up a silent cheer. They got it. When you taste that freedom after years of subjugation, you can’t go back. Later, Thelma told a cop at whom she was pointing a gun that her husband wasn’t sweet to her and “look how I turned out.” And what was that business with the smarmy trucker’s tongue? Guys! Listen up! Women don’t like it when you make vulgar gestures with your tongue, treat them like property or ignore them altogether. Brad Pitt knew that. He gave Thelma the first “big O” she ever had, before screwing it all up and stealing her money. He shoulda quit while he was ahead.