Women are harsh critics when it comes to films marketed to them. Countless movies were intended for a women-led audience to capture their attention and resonate with their experiences. However, these films didn’t manage to strike the right chord.
Despite being marketed to women, these ten movies received mixed or even adverse reactions from their intended audience. From romantic dramas to comedic ventures, these films have provoked diverse opinions among women, challenging the notion of universal appeal and reminding filmmakers that you can’t score an audience based on demographics alone.
1. Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
Based on the famous novel by E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey tells the story of Anastasia Steele, a young college student, and Christian Grey, a wealthy entrepreneur with unconventional sexual preferences. While the book series was extremely popular with women, the films failed to capture the same excitement as the books.
Most women were unhappy with the casting, the cringe dialogue, and the lack of passion. Some criticized the films for “Glorifying unhealthy power dynamics,” while fans of the books found the movie overwhelmingly vanilla.
2. Love Actually (2003)
Love Actually is a star-studded romantic comedy that interweaves multiple love stories during the holiday season. While many viewers find it heartwarming and entertaining, some women argue that the film relies on clichés, unrealistic portrayals of romance, and shallow character development. Despite being such a popular rom-com, the movie falls flat for anyone put off by overt cheese, and this movie has a LOT of cheese.
3. Magic Mike (2012)
Magic Mike follows the life of Mike Lane, a male dancer with dreams of starting his own business. While the movie garnered attention for its attractive cast and flashy dance numbers, the story is too hollow to treat as anything more than an exploitation film. The appeal is supposed to be shirtless men dancing and taking off their clothes, which might be exciting to a teenager, but it’s a bit crass and empty for adult women.
4. Ghostbusters (2016)
A reboot of the beloved 1984 film, the 2016 Ghostbusters, introduces a new, all-female team of paranormal investigators. Despite the film’s intention to empower women and provide representation, it faced significant backlash from some female viewers who felt it fell short of capturing the original’s magic and relied too heavily on slapstick humor.
Not only that, but women never asked for an all-female Ghostbusters, so it just felt like an attempt to thwart the original iconic franchise with a cheap imitation.
5. Captain Marvel (2019)
Captain Marvel is a superhero film introducing Carol Danvers, a powerful alien warrior who becomes one of the universe’s mightiest heroes. While the movie was celebrated for portraying a female superhero, some women felt that the character’s development lacked depth, and the overall narrative failed to live up to the expectations set by other entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
There was also a lot of backlash surrounding the casting of Brie Larsen as Captain Marvel, as many audience members found her uncharismatic and combative during the film’s press tour.
6. Twilight (2008)
The Twilight saga revolves around the supernatural romance between Bella Swan, a human girl, and Edward Cullen, a vampire. Despite its massive popularity, Twilight was heavily scrutinized for its hollow acting, unbearably hollow acting, incomprehensible plot, and endless weird, stalker vibes.
While teen girls loved it, the rest of the world mocked it relentlessly. However, as time passes, most women can at least appreciate the franchise ironically and have fun with its cringy scenes.
7. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
Bridget Jones’s Diary follows the life of Bridget Jones, a thirty-something woman in London who navigates love, career, and self-improvement. Bridget navigates the ups and downs of love, career, and self-improvement through her witty and candid diary entries. While the film was initially praised for its relatable protagonist, plenty of women thought it was riddled with cliches typical of the rom-com genre.
8. The Notebook (2004)
The Notebook is a romantic drama about Noah and Allie, two young lovers separated by social class and circumstances. Don’t get me wrong; The Notebook is a critically acclaimed film with a dedicated fanbase comprised mainly of women. However, The Notebook doesn’t appeal to the ladies whose stomachs churn at romance movies.
One woman says she can’t stand any of the Nicholas Sparks adapted films because they’re incredibly dull. Another adds, “Yeah, the heroine was trash…I mean, she has an affair, and it’s like the story justifies her being disloyal.”
9. Pitch Perfect (2012)
Pitch Perfect is a musical comedy that follows Beca, a college freshman who reluctantly joins an all-female a cappella group, the Barden Bellas. As they compete against rival groups, Beca and her teammates navigate friendship, rivalry, and self-discovery while showcasing their vocal talents in a series of exhilarating performances.
While the film was praised for its catchy music and comedic moments, some women feel it reduced characters to one-dimensional archetypes and relied on shallow humor. The movie is unbearable if you aren’t into the music, and the character Beca is supposed to be this “cool girl,” but she comes off as distinctly uncool.
10. About a Boy (2002)
About a Boy centers around the unlikely friendship between Will Freeman, a self-centered bachelor, and Marcus, a socially awkward young boy. While the film explores friendship and personal growth themes, some women argue About a Boy relies on shallow humor and lacks depth in exploring its female characters’ experiences. One woman viewer found the movie so boring she fell asleep halfway.
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