The Most Radical Films About Young Women’s Lives

Precious bodily fluids abound in Wetlands. We’ve been anticipating David Wnendt’s provocative adaptation of Charlotte Roche’s novel since the start of the year, and the film has finally arrived in American theaters. The sexually adventurous and confident Helen reclaims ownership over her body and life through a series of graphic reminiscences. As our own Moze Halperin wrote: “It’s not just a transcendentalist approach to things our bodies do that we try to keep hidden, but rather a love story that uses these things as its fuel.” Wnendt’s reimagining bares all from a female perspective—which is incredibly refreshing considering Hollywood’s woman problem. In support of cinema’s radicals, here are ten other movies about young women’s lives that push the envelope.


Times Square

Two alienated teen girls from different worlds find solace in poetry, music, and friendship on the streets of New York City. Like any good youth in revolt epic, Allan Moyle’s 1980 film Times Square gives a big middle finger to parents, the medical establishment, politicians, and more. But the pulse of the film is the tender relationship shared between two young women. Moyle was forced to tone down the film’s overt lesbianism, but the passion is unmistakable (a big “ahem” to the song “Your Daughter is One”). Gritty location photography enhances the film’s subversive flavor. Artists like Manic Street Preachers (they covered the track “Damn Dog”) and Kathleen Hanna have sung the praises of the influential Times Square, which celebrates DIY culture and the power of defiant teen girls.