We all use our time at 30,000 feet differently, but for those who want to relax and unwind, finding a good in-flight movie can be a challenge. With 12 channels — five sports-related, three for kids, two for the Real Housewives, and one for the news, we need a few back-up movies downloaded on our devices. Here are five that are almost always in rotation for our in-flight entertainment use. Most have strong female leads and subject matter both relevant and entertaining, so they never get old.
Baby Boom (1987)
Diane Keaton aka “Tiger Lady,” is a powerful New York business tycoon (shoulder pads and all) whose life is turned upside down when she receives a baby in an inheritance. Like many new working moms, she struggles with the upheaval of a new arrival. On top of that, a series of unfortunate events makes her a single mom, alone in a cottage in Vermont. Her pluckiness and grit help her persevere, and with her business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit, she starts her own business. Despite the 80s fashions, the film remains strikingly relevant in terms of today’s working moms, especially those who travel.
Working Girl (1988)
Another timeless movie. Melanie Griffith is an Aqua-Net helmeted office admin who is capable of much more. But when her boss, played by Sigourney Weaver, takes advantage of her “head for business” without giving her any of the credit, Melanie’s character decides to take control. With help from her best friend, played by equally big-haired Joan Cusak, and a well-connected power broker (Harrison Ford), she illustrates some of the emotions and challenges faced by women in business. From bouts with Imposter Syndrome to being dismissed because of appearance or educational level, the themes still ring true. Plus, a young Harrison Ford is dreamy.
The Holiday (2006)
Technically a Christmas movie, any time we get to watch Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz is fine by us. Each plays a strong woman, but they are different. Cameron is a workaholic media tycoon who owns her own company. Kate is a successful columnist who questions her own worth. In other words, both have some issues. So they decide to trade houses for Christmas vacation to escape the reality of their lives. Hilarity and sex ensue for Cameron’s character. For Kate, it’s peace and clarity. Both story lines work. Who can’t relate to challenges in both our personal and professional lives? As women, we often expect perfection from ourselves, but that’s a difficult, if not impossible standard. It’s affirming to see this struggle depicted on the big screen by beautiful people.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
No strong female leads, but a fantastic (if a bit long) film. Based on a true story and full of gratuitous drug use, foul language and greed (of course), this is pure entertainment. The lead character (Leo DiCaprio) starts as a low-level stock broker, but thanks to loose morals and a diabolical sidekick (Jonah Hill), goes on to make millions off the backs of unsuspecting clients. The law eventually catches up, but the characters and their antics are outrageously hilarious. Definitely one for the longer flights, and make sure no kids are in range. This reminds us how quickly things can go pear-shaped when you allow a few rules to be broken.
The Intern (2015)
Despite Anne Hathaway’s (older) millennial status, we still can identify with her character’s quest to maintain control of both her life and her startup. She puts in long hours at the office but tries to be a good mom and wife. You know how that can go. Her husband feels slighted. She is snubbed by fellow moms at school for her perceived laxity as a parent, and fields backhanded comments from mom for being career-obsessed. Eventually she has to figure out how to keep her business and her family together. Enter Robert DeNiro as her sage (and 70-year-old) sidekick. Although the plot sometimes tests credulity, the issues are ones that women commonly face. How do you keep yourself sane while trying to make everything and everyone (but yourself) a priority?