If you’re like me, you’ve often walked out of the movie theatre inspired and ready to take on the world! Be it the boss from hell or the end of the world, watching a female heroine triumph over her seemingly insurmountable obstacles empowers you to feel you can do the same in your own life.

For inspiring stories of successful women, there’s no better motivator than the silver screen. So on this week’s Secrets To Your Success, popcorn in hand, I headed to the movies with Associated Press movie critic Christy Lemire, to get her favorite flicks for good female career advice. I know, it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it!


Movie No. 5 Viola Davis in ‘The Help’
Viola’s character, Abilene Clark, navigates an environment of immense bigotry and oppression with the utmost confidence and grace. However, when her cruel and condescending boss takes it too far she finds the strength to finally stand up to her.

The lesson:
If your boss is trying to make you feel worthless, you don’t have to put up with it. Stand up to them with dignity, confidence and a class. No job is worth it.

Movie No. 4 Sigourney Weaver in “Aliens”
On the brink of global disaster, Sigourney’s character bravely gets into the big loader, ready to take on the terrifying mother queen alien and utters those iconic words “Get away from her, you B…!”

The lesson:
When you think your problems are too big for you to overcome- be it a huge alien determined to destroy the world, or a bully in the workplace- this movie shows us that deep down we have the strength to take on anything. The underdog can be victorious.

Movie No. 3 Holly Hunter in ‘Broadcast News’
Holly’s character, Jane Craig, is a brilliant, ambitious woman in the male dominated world of Television News. Under the immense daily pressure of managing egos, too many opinions , the constant grind of creating a hit daily show and a personal life that’s suffering- you see her character head to the privacy of the bathroom for a good cry. Undefeated, she regains her composure and gets back to perform at the highest level, much to the awe of her male colleagues.

The lesson:
Embrace the ‘5 Minute Cry’. You don’t have to be super woman. When you feel overwhelmed it’s ok to purge those emotions in private. Then pull yourself together, get back to the job and show them how it’s done!

Movie No. 2 Meryl Steep in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’
In this film we see Anne’s anti-fashion character scoff when overhearing Miranda Priestly debate the merits of two seemingly identical blue belts. Rather than be offended or angry, Miranda calmly and methodically explains the complex mechanics of the fashion industry , brilliantly turning the tables to reveal Anne to be the ignorant person in the room.

The lesson: Lose the arrogance. Take advice from your boss, sometimes you don’t know everything.

Movie No.1 Frances McDormand in ‘Fargo’
Despite the grim nature of her job, Frances’ character never loses her sense of humor and is able to balance her home life while still knowing exactly what’s going on at work. However, the reason this is Christy’s top pick is the scene when she goes to interview William H Macy’s character at the car dealership. Softly spoken and heavily pregnant- qualities that might be perceived as weaknesses in her line of work- she uses them to her advantage masterfully extracting what she needs from him.

The Lesson: You don’t have to be aggressive to get what you want. Often being polite and making people drop their guard is more effective than charging at them head on.

Christy’s favorite career related movie line of all time?

Tom Hanks in ‘A League of their Own’
Like many women trying to juggle a career with family, kids, partners, friends and daily stresses, it can be overwhelming and make you want to quit. When Gina Davis’s character wanted to leave the team because it was getting too hard, Tom’s character responds with this inspiring line:

“It’s supposed to be hard, if it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.”

The lesson: Embrace the challenge and strive for it. Never forget that the hard is what makes it great!

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