How to Celebrate Female Friendships on Galentine’s Day
By NATE NICKOLAI and RACHEL YANG
FEBRUARY 13, 2019
Galentine’s Day is here to remind you that romantic relationships come and go, but friends are forever.
Coined by Leslie Knope on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” Feb. 13 has become a day for leaving your partners at home and honoring sisterhood over breakfast food. “It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas,” says our favorite overachiever.
In honor of the recently-spawned holiday, Variety has compiled a list of some of the best female friendship films, including everything from “Thelma & Louise” to “Girls Trip.” Each show or film also passes the Bechdel Test, so in the words of “Golden Girls” star Blanche Devereaux, “I’ve been having a good time, and there wasn’t even a man in the room.”
Polar opposites CC (Bette Midler) and Hillary (Barbara Hershey) have been the wind beneath each other’s wings since they were children and gone through falling for the same man, career struggles, and a marriage falling apart. By the time you finish the film (and two boxes of tissues), you’ll know what being a ride or die friend truly means.
Alison Bechdel herself said that shows like “Broad City” made her hopeful that women on TV can be shown as real, “fully human schmucks the way guys get to be.” There are no boundaries between Abbi (Abbi Jacobson) and Ilana (Ilana Glazer), and the two talk so frankly and humorously about everything from pot, Rihanna, sex, and abortion, that watching the show every week just feels like you’re hanging out with your best friends (but like 15 times weirder).
“First Wives Club”
Three friends (played by legends Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, and Diane Keaton) decide to seek revenge on their husbands who’ve left them for younger women, but their quest doesn’t end up exactly the way they hoped. Older women in Hollywood are frequently shown as the mom of a more interesting character, but the 50ish gals in this 1996 campy classic are magnetic, complicated, and hilarious individuals in their own right.
What made the Amy Sherman-Palladino drama shine was the mother-daughter relationship between Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel), and the show was a masterclass in crafting witty (seriously, who could keep up with all their references?) and deeply imperfect women. Viewers tuned in week after week for seven seasons and a Netflix revival to see what shenanigans these best friends got up to next and how they grew personally and professionally.
It’s not shocking that the film that catapulted Tiffany Haddish to stardom is a non-stop laugh riot, as we see four best friends get down and dirty during a trip to New Orleans and have the time of their lives. It’s refreshing to see female friends who genuinely love one another, warts and all, and support one another with equal parts absinthe and affirmations.
“The Golden Girls”
Everyday is Galentine’s Day in this 1985 classic, starring Betty White, Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty. After responding to an ad on the bulletin board of a local grocery store, Rose Nylund (White) and divorcée Dorothy Zbornak (Arthur) move into a Miami home with widow Blanche Devereaux (McClanahan) where the trio gets up to a host of funny shenanigans.
“Grace & Frankie”
Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are the definition of timeless in this sexy Netflix comedy about two older women who become friends after their husbands leave them for each other. Together, the pair embarks on a new chapter of their lives that includes a rising vibrator business, a rousing retirement home escape and lots of f-bombs.
Saoirse Ronan stars as Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (the titular role) — a high school senior in Sacramento who wants nothing more than to leave California for the culture of New York. Greta Gerwig writes and directs the semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story that deals head-on with female friendship in a schoolyard setting and the complicated relationship between mother and teenage daughter. First one to cry wins!
“A League of Their Own”
This 1992 baseball film follows two sisters who join America’s first-ever female professional baseball league. Set during World War II, Dottie Hinson and Kit Keller must navigate the interests of their team’s male owners all while pursuing a World Series title and doing some splits along the way.
“Parks and Recreation”
Need some ideas for Galentine’s Day Gifts? Go back to the holiday’s roots with Leslie Knope who recommends hand-crocheted flower pens, a mosaic portrait of each of your friends made from the crushed bottles of their favorite diet soda or a personalized 5,000 word essay about why they’re so awesome.
“Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”
Before there was “Lady Bird,” there was a pair of jeans. Blake Lively, America Ferrera, Alexis Bledel and Amber Tamblyn star in this classic coming of age story about a pair of magical pants that seem to fit every waist size. What follows is a summer of new love, self discovery and budding friendship as each girl takes a turn wearing the jeans before sending them along to the next friend.
“Support the Girls”
Regina Hall manages the employees of sports bar Double Whammies with a firm but endlessly compassionate hand, giving a humanistic look into the minefield of working at a job that’s sexist by its very nature. Mumblecore pioneer Andrew Bujalski directs the understated but warm and funny dramedy that passes the Bechdel test with flying colors.
“Thelma & Louise”
Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon star in this fugitive story about two women who embark on a wild roadtrip across America, committing a series of crimes along the way. Throughout their journey, the pair encounters a number of seedy male characters with some surprisingly pertinent messages for today’s viewers, all while driving a pretty sweet 1966 Thunderbird.