25 Female-Fronted Comedies You Should See (Rom-Com Free!)


13. Pretty Persuasion (2005)

Evan Rachel Wood bisexual. Evan Rachel Wood stars in Pretty Persuasion as a bisexual teenager who gets into lots of trouble and is probably a psychopath. Her Dad is a totally offensive lunatic and everything he says is hilarious.


12. Election (1999)

Election is about a very ambitious young lady named Tracy Flick played by Reese Witherspoon. If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if Sarah Palin was smart and 17, it’s Tracy Flick. BUT FUNNY. Co-starring Ferris Bueller. I don’t know why this wasn’t more popular.


11. Saved! (2004)

Saved! is about a girl who gets impregnanted by her gay boyfriend which causes problems with her friends who are all devoted born-again Evangelical Christians. It’s like if the kids from the Christian Side Hug video had a movie all to themselves. Stellar performances from unlikely places include Macauly Culkin & Mandy Moore, stellar performances from likely places include Mary-Louise Parker and Jena Malone.


10. Big Business* (1988)

I remember being in The Comedy of Errors in middle school and thinking, “this is just like Big Business.”


9. Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion* (1997)

I saw Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion ’cause the movie we wanted to see sold out. Weird right. We tried to sneak into the other movie but we couldn’t so we had to go see the movie we’d bought tickets for, which was this one.. Now that feels like Columbus discovering America, or the Levi guy inventing jeans. Lisa Kudrow is like the unsung heroine of comedy, right? Also Mira Sorvino, Janeane Garofalo, Alan Cumming and amazing fashions, catch-phrases and dance sequences.


8. Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)

Welcome to the Dollhouse changed my life though I can’t tell you exactly how. It’s complicated. It’s dark and honest and mean but it’s funny too. Dawn Weiner (Heather Matarazzo) brother’s on point, hilarious. But it’s like every line, every everything, is just perfect. When I showed this movie to my best friend and told him that it was my favorite movie (his were Fanny and Alexander and The Witches of Eastwick) he told me at the end: “Is this what your brain looks like? If this is your favorite movie, you must be really fucked up.”


7. Juno* (2006)

I feel like any well-designed hipster time capsule would surely include a copy of this movie.


6. Clueless** (1995)

Clueless is one of those movies where if somebody tried to analyze whether or not it was “good for women,” I would probably break Moff’s Law and tell them they shouldn’t think too much about it, they should just enjoy it. Alicia Silverstone, Stacy Dash, Brittany Murphy (RIP), Jeremy Sisto, Paul Rudd, Donald Fasion, BAM.


5. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is about a pretty and smart girl who lives in a nice apartment by herself and is totally independent and will not be tethered and also is a little tricky. You musn’t give your heart to a wild thing, for real. There’s a love story but it’s not difficult to ignore.


4. Heathers (1989)

Heathers is about a very popular girl named Veronica and her friends named Heather. Then she meets Christian Slater’s character, and then they kill everybody. It’s very empowering.


3. But I’m a Cheerleader** (1999)

Definitely one of the best lesbian movies of all time and Clea Duvall’s never looked so good in pink. It’s ex-gay camp, but campy, and relatively perfect and fun.


2. A League of Their Own* (1992)

A League of Their Own is about a women’s baseball team called The Rockford Peaches starring Tank Girl, Madonna, Rosie, and Geena Davis. Their coach, played by the loveable Tom Hanks, is surly, but surrounded by so many lovely tomboys, he, like us, probably became a lesbian.


1. Mean Girls* (2005)

If there’s anyone left on the Planet of Girls who has not seen Mean Girls, you really should because otherwise you’re not gonna ever know what anyone is talking about. Like ever.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3197 articles for us.


  1. I love the ** on BUT I’M A CHEERLEADER. I’ve seen at least half of these movies and I’m only 16. Awesome!!

  2. Keira Knightley shirtless in Bend It Like Beckham changed my life forever. True story. And then when I found out it had originally featured a lesbian plotline…GIANT LIGHTBULB MOMENT EXPLAINING WHY I LIKED IT SO MUCH.

    Saved! may be one of my favorite comedies of all time, considering all the time I spent in youth groups during my middle and high school life. The last two years, whenever I was forced to attend and listen to “hip” 35-year-old white guys with soul patches talk about how cool Jesus was and how teens shouldn’t be afraid to be Christian because like, it’s really hard to be upper middle-class white and Christian, I thought of Saved! and almost actually burst out laughing a few times.

    (No joke, one time that 35-year-old balding guy with soul patch actually addressed Saved! in one of his talks/speeches/sermonds. He used it as an example of how Christians are really oppressed in modern American culture.)

    Anyway, thanks for this list cause now I have a bunch of movies I need to watch/re-watch ASAP!

    • I am eating a granola bar and actually did that “stopped chewing in shock” thing when I read that line about how Christians are oppressed.

      • Oh yeah, I mean sometimes non-Christians will like make fun of you and everything! Hard lyfe man. :(

    • I remember watching this movie for the first time with my friend, who quickly informed me that her mother had told her that Keira Knightley was a lesbian. I was all “NO SHE’S NOTTT,” and then she ripped her shirt off, and I was all “Maybe I am?”

      • Keira Knightley is definitely a lesbian……….in my dreams. (No really, one time after watching Bend It Like Beckham I had a, uh, distinctly lesbionic dream about her.)

        • Sometimes I think that Keira Knightley made me a lesbian… First there was Bend It Like Beckham and then DOMINO…. Nobody talks about Domino enough…

    • Hi, I think we nearly had the same experiences but I had to deal with the “hip 35 year old white youth pastor” using a “black accent” whenever he talked to me. Until I actually OPENED MY MOUTH TO SAY SOMETHING, he stopped, realizing “oh she is one of *those* “Cosby kids” (Which he actually referred to me as, I have so many stories, I don’t know where to being with that). Anyway that was one thing that annoyed me when I used to go youth ministry camps and meetings.

      But there’s more…

      His favorite phrases he used in being “hip” with the kids/teens:

      “Yo what’s up? God.”

      “G-O-D in the hizzouse”

      “Jesus is a homie”

      And my favorite only because he used to only say it around me: “Sometimes I think Jesus could have been black.”


      I wish I was kidding but when I saw Saved! and the character Pastor Skip(?) I literally did a double take because he was just like him. Ridic.

      I remember those days fondly as I am now a atheist, not because of that, that was just a hot ass mess, a hot ass mess that makes me smile with a contentious edge.

    • I had an argument with some friends in which I insisted it was ages since I’d seen Bend it Like Beckham but I was POSITIVE the girls ended up together! It was DEFINITELY a gay film! And then I realised that they didn’t :-(

      But I was so convinced, that Idid some googling, found out they were MEANT to be -> victory! Or, I thought so anyway…

  3. I love half these movies and the other half just got added to my list of movies to watch when I have time to watch movies. Love it.

    • Oh man, I totally just added a bunch of these to my Netflix queue!! Bonus: a few of them are available for instant play, yay!

  4. yes, yes, yes to all of these but especially #1. There will never be a movie more quotable than Mean Girls. Thanks, Tina Fey!

    • One time I spent an entire day communicating through nothing but Mean Girls quotes.

          • I loved Bridesmaids (saw it twice even) but it’s still not as quotable as Mean Girls. Definitely more laugh-out-loud moments though… don’t think I will ever be able to eat Brazilian food again.

      • I did this, but in the shower. because it was one of those group showers in the barracks. and my friend kept saying roger so i asked if roger was her cousin and she said he was her first cousin, cuz you see, you have your cousins and then you have your first cousins and then your second cousins….wait, that’s wrong, isn’t it.

        so wrong, okeefe.

  5. I’m fairly sure A League of Their Own is a required lesbian movie. As in you aren’t a lesbian if you haven’t watched it.

    Now, has anyone seen my new red hat?

  6. Love, love, love pretty much all of these movies, but I really prefer the short story Breakfast at Tiffany’s to the movie, so I’m inserting Drop Dead Gorgeous into that slot instead:)

    • Oh, good call! I’ve always hated the ending of the movie version of, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

    • Drop Dead Gorgeous is the #1 greatest movie of all time. I’ve been telling people this since I was just knee high to a pig’s eye.

      • IKR!!!!! This is my second most quoted movie of all time (the first is Clueless, of course). I haven’t met very many people who appreciate the humor. :D

  7. is it sad that i feel cool because half of these movies are on my “favorites” list? I DON’T CARE. I’M COOL NOW.

    • We can be cool together. I’ve seen 95% of them, I own about 90% of them, and a good chunk of these make the fav list. Wanna come over and watch them and be cool? I made cookies. Cookies are cool, right?

    • i feel super cool/yay because i thought carlytron was the only person who’d seen all the movies i’d seen

  8. I am ashamed that I haven’t seen a lot of these movies. I guess a lot of things are being added to my netflix queue tonight!

    Saved! is definitely one of my all time favorite movies ever. And But I’m A Cheerleader was a big part of realizing my homogayness because I saw the lead character and went “HOLY CRAP THAT IS ME.”

    • But I’m A Cheerleader was a huge part of how I figured out once and for all that I definitely was into girls as well.
      The whole “everyone looks at other girls, all the time!” part? 100% me.

      • This! I definitely believed that until I was 20. Also, it was ok for other people to be lesbians, but not me. I was going to be normal, dammit! If I had seen But I’m A Cheerleader in high school, I think I would have figured things out way sooner, and had a much better time there.

        • Ha my problem was mostly that I like men as well, so I just kinda ignored the constantly checking out other girls and finding girls hotter than guys thing. Also I did the whole ‘well I find girls attractive but I couldn’t date one’ thing without thinking anything beyond that. Fail.
          Totally could have figured out I liked women way earlier if I’d seen this movie before this fall.

          • I was the same way! This movie made me think about so many things differently- like the part with the Melissa Etheridge poster. I was totally that girl and had no idea….. No wonder NO ONE was surprised when I finally came out!

    • i have the same birthday as clea duvall.

      …that’s all i have to contribute here really. aside from the “i love this movie too” feeling.

  9. I absolutely LOVE The House of Yes.
    I’ve already seen Bridesmaids twice. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. Kristen Wiig’s performance was relatable and genius… Also, Wilson Phillips!

    • Also, Serial Mom might be my favorite John Waters film ever. What can I say? I’m possibly fucked up!

    • When Wilson Phillips showed up, I was kinda distracted by all their plastic surgery, but immediately wanted to listen to them on repeat

      • i’ve been listening to them!& yes, I totes said, why the hell has Chyna has so much plastic surgery…and Wendy (?) looks almost exactly the same. I loved Mya & Kristen’s interpretation of the lyrics!

    • “Tape needs goo. Goo is what makes it tape and not paper.” That was my go to quote for forever.

  10. I think I may be the only person on the planet who has not seen Mean Girls. I think I should fix this.

    • I felt like you, once. I was the last one in my entire class in grad school who hadn’t seen it. So I rented it. Feh. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t like it either. It was useful for teaching, however, because all my students had seen it and it pretty clearly demonstrated the concept of gender socialization.

      • I think this might be part of the reason I haven’t seen it yet, but then, maybe it will help me understand my students better.

  11. For your consideration: Baby Mama with Fey and Poehler.
    Bring It On which was written by a woman and spurred my interest in the Eliza Dushku situation.

    • Eliza Dushku’s first scene in that movie was my FUCK IM GAY moment. Plus cheerleaders, and cheerocracys and cheertators!

      • I’ve heard this a number of times…Eliza Dushku making her way into the gym is apparently A Moment for a lot of homogays.

      • Oh god… I’m sorry Eliza Dushku… You also had a huge part in making me a homogay… Apologies for neglegting you in my earlier comment…

  12. This is an awesome list! I loved all the ones I’ve already seen, so I’ll probs love the rest, right? Putting all of these on my queue.

  13. Mean Girls showed me what it means to be “too gay to function” because I literally have moments like that.

  14. OMG CLOCKWATCHERS. I thought I was the only person who liked this movie.

    Also Desperately Seeking Susan. That was my favorite movie when I was 5. No joke. I loved Madonna so much.

    • I own the dvd. Purchased it during my ‘I’mobsessed with Parker Posey and Gaby Hoffmann indie movies but I’m still straight’ phase…

    • Mine too! I made all my friends in middle school and high school watch it with me. None of them liked it nearly as much as I did. Madonna is amazing in this movie because she pretty much plays Madonna.

  15. A Velma Dinkley-Enid Coleslaw hybrid is my dream girl. No joke. We could share books and ugly sweaters and dislike all the same things.

  16. i have not seen six of these films…and “mean girls” is one of them.

    in other news: that promo poster for “girls just want to have fun” reminds me of trapper keepers.

  17. I love “Election” but it took me years to see it. Years. I didn’t see until it was on local TV a few years ago. I guess the HS/politics thing is why, but I associate it with “Dick.” That’s another good one: Kristen Dunst, Michelle Williams and Richard Nixon high on hello dollies.

  18. What about Lily Tomlin in The Incredible Shrinking Women? That’s a pretty decent movie PLUS it has Lily Tomlin! Who can go wrong with Lily Tomlin?

    • YES! I actually thought about that movie when I saw this post. I can’t remember the ending though, just that it was hilarious.

  19. Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion, is pretty much my favorite comedy of all time. I quote this movie every day of my life.

    btw. if anybody needs to make a call, I’ve got a phone….


    I can’t look at Parker Posey’s unsafe gun handling in that photo. Booger hook off the bang switch, honey, and don’t be pointing that thing practically at your own heel. Hammer is cocked too, gives me the creeps.

      • I would not pose for a picture like that, I don’t care how many times they showed me it was unloaded. Remember kids, there’s no such thing as an unloaded gun :D.

  21. Romy and Michelle’s Highschool Reunion & Clueless were pretty much my favourite films ever when I was young. This list is making me feel nostalgic!

    • Me too! I almost have every line in Romy & Michelle’s memorized. It’s a classic.

  22. These include some of my favorite movies ever!

    Also, I went to see Bridesmaids this weekend, and though it was hetero-centric, it was effing hilarious. Kristin Wigg is one of my new faves.

  23. For the love of Toni Collette, what about Muriel’s Wedding? Weird and awkward Aussie humor ftw!

    • Speaking of awkward Aussie humor (and Toni Collette on a motorcycle: Hey Hey It’s Esther Blueburger

      If you haven’t seen it, why aren’t you watching it right now?

  24. I’m putting my vote in for ‘Dick’. because I loved it when I was 12. And I remember it being funny? It was, right? Anyways. Young Michelle Williams, such a cutie, roller skates, and teenage girls bringing down Richard Nixon.

  25. This list is awesome! The only thing it’s missing is Spring Breakdown, the greatest movie of all time.

  26. That’s so true about Mean Girls. Before I saw it, I must have missed so many references to that movie, because afterward I saw them fucking EVERYWHERE.

  27. Ugh, these are all my fav movies, but Romy and Michele’s singlehandedly made my middle school/high school existence survivable.

    “I DID NOT HAVE A THING. I was very much in love with him, very much in love, and there’s a difference. There’s a difference.”

  28. DOMINO, not a comedy but ridiculously awesome.

    Also, Love and Basketball and She’s the Man aren’t directed by women but still reside by my copies of A League of Their Own, But I’m a Cheerleader, Hard Candy, etc.

    If we’re not sticking completely to comedies Gia should be mentioned. Gia should be mentioned as many times as possible really. Gia
    Great list!!!!!!

  29. These are SO my type of movies. Romy & Michelle epitomizes my pre-teen years and Ghost World, my high school years. Awesome list!!

  30. Why nod to Tank Girl but not actually include Tank Girl? I feel cheated.

    Amazing list otherwise. Fun fact about Heathers is that the writer actually created an entire new language of teenslang for the film in order to make it more timeless… too bad he didn’t tell this to the costumer.

    ALSO, to be nitpicky, the folks in Saved! Were actually not born-agains. They were most likely Baptist as my fiance and I went to separate schools and/or churches that were EXACTLY like that one and they were both Baptist. If they were born-agains, the tongue-speaking would be much less of a surprise (See Jesus Camp).

    Agreed about Drop Dead Gorgeous needing to be a part of this… and what about JAWBREAKER?!?! This is where I first heard everyone’s favorite insult: carpetmuncher.

  31. Mean girls is the most quoteable movie of all time but it could not have happened without the best movie you will ever see, Heathers. i mean really, best. ever. end of story. christian slater is damn sexy (bi-pride woop woop, no? okay not the place)

  32. OMG I love Bend It Like Beckham. The girl that is not Keira is extremely cute. :) Also Mean Girls, But I’m a Cheerleader, and Saved! rock. :) Ooh and Clueless! Yay.

  33. Once I get over the fact that a dark comedy with Toni Collette AND Lisa Kudrow has been in existence all this time without my knowledge, I will update my Netflix queue with these awesome pics.

    Thanks, ladies!

  34. Um, and P.S. I totally picked up a copy of Mean Girls at a yard sale last weekend. I was SO excited about it and my (straight) cousin and aunt were looking at me like I was nuts.


  35. Awesome list–thank you!

    It might be more of an ensemble cast thing, and is debatably a rom-com in one sense, but how’s about Miranda July’s stupendous, darkly humorous “Me and You and Everyone We Know?” BACK AND FORTH FOREVER, AMIRITE?

    Also, I know a lot of folks have totally legit issues with Almodovar’s more recent work, and the fact that it’s a dude at the helm might disqualify it from the running, but what about 1988’s “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” which is a smart, hilarious deconstruction of gender politics in telenovelas? Carmen Maura FTW.

  36. I’m gonna use the appropriate number of question marks and ask, Easy A??? And Whip it??

    Great list, though. Btw, I always see an inordinate number of kitten avatars in the comments. Cool.:)

  37. OMG! I *JUST* finished watching “The House of Yes” FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. And I hadn’t even read this article yet.

    Thank you for the list of great flicks!

  38. Okay, so I hadn’t read the list before I posted that last comment, I just assumed that it was awesome because AS wrote it and then went back and read it to update my Netflix queue, and I then I discovered that all the movies fell in to two (almost equal) categories: a) awesome movies I have seen already and totally agree with, and b) movies that have been hiding in the depths of my Netflix queue already and are now bumped to the top.

    Wow. That was a single sentence.

  39. I feel like Legally Blonde should be on this list, because of how it made you think that a heterosexual relationship was the point of the movie but then it ultimately wasn’t. Also for just being awesome and hilarious.

  40. Welcome to the Doll House is my all time favourite flick! I brought it to a Cinema class once to watch and I’d say half of my peers were definitely weirded out. I’ve always identified with Dawn and her struggle against an unfair, shallow, materialistic world. She symbolizes the inward doubt; the lack of self-accpetance that most young girls and even women secretly harbour.

  41. WOW, some of those hit * way* closer than I remember. I’ve just rewatched “Pretty Persuasion” and “Election” and they seem like prescient dystopic visions of the world.
    I’ll leave a couple of articles here that say it better than I do :

    So, nine years later, thank you for this list <3

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