By Ann Silverthorn
One of DVD Netflix's most rented movies from 2006–and one of my favorites–is The Holiday, starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet. The plot centers around two women who seek solace in a change of scenery after recent man troubles, so they swap homes in England and America. As they face challenges to their sensibilities and identities, they realize their problems travel with them. Both learn from the experience, and characters who change are a must for good stories. This is one of them.
For any woman who’s ever felt the urge to get away and seek peace within, and anyone who seeks to understand them, here are more movies about women who try to solve their problems by seeking.
Maria Enders, an aging actress, agrees to star in the same play she appeared in 20 years earlier, only this time, she’s playing the older woman rather than the ingénue. As Maria (Juliette Binoche) faces repeated insults to her ego and the breakup of her marriage, she decides to travel to her deceased friend’s mountain retreat in Switzerland to rehearse for the play. She’s accompanied by her young assistant (Kristen Stewart), yet another reminder of the fading of her youth. In addition to the film’s qualities as a compelling drama, the scenery is spectacular as Maria and her assistant hike through the breathtaking Swiss alps.
For a brief respite from your own surroundings, Under the Tuscan Sun takes you on a tour of Italy’s Tuscany region. A writer (Diane Lane), who’s been recently ditched by her husband, decided to take a bus tour around Italy. Things don’t go according to plan though, and she finds new roots and relationships when she buys a crumbling villa.
A marriage breakup and her mother’s death sends Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) to the Pacific Crest Trail, where she’s met by physical and mental challenges unlike anything she’s ever experienced. A true story, many women have used Strayed’s memoir as a guide book and tried the trail themselves. This movie provides a visual of the terrain, which could either encourage or dissuade you from such an adventure.
Based on Liz Gilbert’s memoir of the same name, the main character seeks to make sense out of her life after her marriage breaks up. She travels through Italy, India, and Bali, eating in Italy, praying in India, and finding love in Bali. The road isn’t smooth, though, and Gilbert, played by Julia Roberts, learns much about herself along the way.
Marital problems, a recurring theme in these films, and in this one, Julia (Kate Winslet) takes her two young daughters with her when she tries to escape the humdrum of London for the exotic locale of Morocco. After much adventure and significant hardship, Julia begins to realize the toll that the adventure is taking on the well-being of her children.
On an adventurous road trip, two best friends (Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis) from Arkansas, experience a sharp contrast to their humdrum lives. When one woman defends the other in a threatening situation, things go very wrong, and they find themselves on a cross-country run from the police. This is the film that Brad Pitt can thank for launching his career.
Straight from the Bible, Ruth (Sherry Morris) seeks a new life for herself in Israel after her husband dies due to famine. She has followed her mother-in-law, who has also lost her husband, and Ruth works in the fields to make a living until she finds romance and puts her life back together, which ultimately leads to her destiny.
The common thread running through these films is marital strife and grief from the loss of a loved one. In each case, the woman seeks relief from her sadness and unrest, but instead finds more of the same. Most of these characters learn something along their journeys, and the changes of scenery fulfill their goals.