Last call: Documentaries for Women’s History Month 2022

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Women’s stories are as varied as women are themselves. Each year we honor and are reminded of the countless contributions that women bring to the table. With Women’s history month coming to its close there are plenty of documentaries to choose from that give voice to women of varying backgrounds. Take a lesson from some of the women who were bold in the face of adversity, carried on through their personal pain, and triumphed against the odds. Below is a list of eight films to add to your streaming list that will engage, empower, and enlighten.

Chisholm 72: Unbought and Unbossed (2004)


“Shirley Chisolm Unbought and Unbossed.” chronicles the 1972 presidential campaign of trailblazer Shirley Chisolm, the first Black person to run for president as well as the first Black woman elected to congress. With back-to-back nuggets of inspiring and powerful quote-worthy wisdom that rings true to date, Unbought and Unbossed, depicts an unflinching Chisolm whose level of empowerment cannot help but permeate through the screen, engulfing its audience.

AMERICAN MASTERS | Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story  (2018) 


Love the miraculous power of Bluetooth? You can thank classic screen siren Hedy LaMarr, who filed a patent for frequency-hopping technology that is credited as essential components for Bluetooth, GPS and secure Wi-fi. Known as one of the most glamorous women of her time, the award-winning, “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story,” is the inspiring and extraordinary true-life tale of a woman ahead of her time, who was far more than just another pretty face. 

Julia (2021)


Julia chronicles Chef Julia Child’s culinary rise to pop culture icon, her trailblazing influence in public television, which was instrumental in the television cooking channels of present day, as well as, the endearing love story between herself and her husband Paul. A supporter of pro- choice and a Planned Parenthood advocate, the over 6-foot-tall Child began her television career with WGBH in Cambridge at 50-years-old. From the bevy of archival footage, plenty of slow-motion food close-ups that will have your taste buds working overtime, down to The King Cole Trio version of Frim Fram sauce during the ending credits, Julia is worth watching.

My Darling Vivian (2020)


An eye-opening and sobering account of Johnny Cash’s first wife Vivian Cash, and her flame of love that could not be extinguished. Get to know herstory in the award-winning “My Darling Vivian,” told by Vivian and Johnny Cash’s daughters who finally gave their mother voice. 

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (2011)


The first thing to do, my love, is arrange to be born in Paris. Eventually everything else comes quite naturally” – Diana Vreeland

Authentically herself, Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel explores the extraordinary story of the unapologetic fashion icon Diana Vreeland from her Belle Epoque beginnings in Paris through to her fashion editing career with major fashion magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar,  to her Special Consultant to The Costume Institute,of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and every ostentatious stop in between.

American Masters: How it Feels to be Free (2021)


Told through their own words and that of other famous Black women, “How it Feels to be Free,” is a  captivating film dedicated to Black female pioneers of entertainment,  Nina Simone,  Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson,  Lena Horne, Pam Grier and Abbey Lincoln, who actively fought for racial equality by confronting stereotypes. With Alicia Keys as executive producer, it is a well-deserved and rightfully earned homage to Black female trailblazers. 

Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision (1994)


“You have to accept and admit that this pain has occurred in order for it to be healed” – Maya Lin 

Art meets architecture in Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision. At 21-years-old, sculptor, designer, artist and architect, Maya Lin faced backlash as the Asian American creator of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Follow the story of a young Lin, in this  Academy Award-winning documentary, whose steadfast aim, quiet strength and vision created reflective memorials including the Civil Rights Memorial, Museum of Chinese in America, and appropriate for women’s history month, Women’s Table.

American Masters: Mae West: Dirty Blond (2020)


“I never loved another person the way I loved myself.”Mae West

Appropriately produced by Bette Midler,” Mae West: Dirty Blond,” explores the bold, brash,  provocative and still parodied,  Mae West.  Larger than life, and living by her own rules West was unflinching in the control of her career. When finally she made it to Hollywood, she demanded one dollar more than Adolph Zuckor, the head of Paramount, the highest-paid person of the studio, and she got it. Becoming the highest-paid movie star of 1935, West expertly and unapologetically tackles double entendres and double standards.


About this Author

Constance Cherise

Constance Cherise is a freelance writer and contributor for Turner Classic MoviesSee her work here.