The 10 Best Female Duos in Movies, Ranked (2024)

The 10 Best Female Duos in Movies, Ranked (1)

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The 10 Best Female Duos in Movies, Ranked (2)

There's nothing quite like a movie focused on a fun, well-written, meaningful duo of female characters. Throughout movie history, many films have offered insightful comments on female relationships, whether that's friendship, romance, or family bonds. From comedies to dramas, thrillers, or something else entirely, films about female connections always have something interesting to say.

Some movies are about how female friendships can help endure even the most terrible of hardships, like The Help. Others are about the explosive, erotic power of two women who find in each other a means to unleash their creative spirit, like Portrait of a Lady on Fire. Whatever the case, these are all iconic female duos from throughout movie history that prove these special character dynamics aren't seen nearly enough in cinema.

10 Julia Child and Julie Powell (Meryl Streep and Amy Adams)

'Julie & Julia' (2009)

The 10 Best Female Duos in Movies, Ranked (3)

What's so special about the female duo at the heart of is that these two characters never meet. Starring an electrifying Amy Adams and Meryl Streep at the top of her game, it's a biopic that intertwines the story of Julia Child's origins in the art of cooking with blogger Julie Powell's challenge to cook all the recipes in Child's first cookbook.

Julie & Julia is the kind of delectable food-centric movie that's sure to make any viewer's tummy rumble, but even aside from that, it's an extraordinary film that doesn't get enough praise nowadays. Full of Nora Ephron's typical writing and directing charm, Julie & Julia celebrates women's passions and dreams and how they can inspire each other across generations. It's a film about the bonds that can form between two people, even if they never meet.

Julie & Julia

PG-13

Biography

Comedy

Romance

Where to Watch

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Release Date
August 6, 2009

Director
Nora Ephron
Cast
Meryl Streep , Amy Adams , Stanley Tucci , Chris Messina , Linda Emond , Helen Carey

Runtime
123 minutes

Writers
Nora Ephron

9 Aibileen and Minny (Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer)

'The Help' (2011)

The 10 Best Female Duos in Movies, Ranked (9)

Tate Taylor's period drama The Help is a portrait of 1960s Mississippi. It follows an aspiring author who decides to write a book about African American maids' point of view on the white families they work for and the hardships they experience on a daily basis. Beautifully kindhearted and ultimately feel-good, The Help overcomes the lack of depth in its writing with an ensemble of entertaining characters.

The movie has a star-studded cast featuring the likes of Emma Stone and Jessica Chastain, giving a career-defining performance, but it's Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer who give the film all of its heart, emotional punch, and staying power. Aibileen and Minny are two deeply endearing characters whose struggles, in spite of the film's conflicted messaging, make them easy to care about and bring them closer together. Spencer won an Oscar for her performance, and Davis received a richly deserved nomination for hers, and it's not hard to see why — these two elevate a basic screenplay through sheer emotion.

The 10 Best Female Duos in Movies, Ranked (10)
The Help

PG-13

Drama

Where to Watch

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Release Date
August 9, 2011

Director
Tate Taylor
Cast
Emma Stone , Bryce Dallas Howard , Mike Vogel , Allison Janney , Sissy Spacek , Jessica Chastain

Runtime
137 minutes

Writers
Kathryn Stockett , Tate Taylor

8 Elizabeth and Gracie (Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore)

'May December' (2023)

The 10 Best Female Duos in Movies, Ranked (16)

Todd Haynes has for many years proved to be one of the most intriguing voices in the film industry, focusing most of all on profound, hard-hitting stories about women and their experience of the world. His most recent film is May December, a psychological drama with hints of dark comedy that follows an actress's arrival in a small town. There, she intends to spend time with a married couple who, twenty years prior, was the subject of a notorious tabloid scandal, getting ready to make a film about their past.

Though it was promoted as a dark comedy, May December feels a lot more like a character-driven thriller, and certainly one that isn't easy to stomach. It's a potent dissection of a romance that's the product of grooming, anchored by terrific performances by Charles Melton, Julianne Moore, and Natalie Portman. Particularly, the actress and the wife make for a fascinatingly disturbing duo that exemplifies the dangers of tabloid culture, the terrifying lengths that some people will go to in the name of art, and the twisted hearts of two women who are completely out of touch with their morals.

The 10 Best Female Duos in Movies, Ranked (17)
May December

R

Drama

Comedy

Where to Watch

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Not available

Release Date
December 1, 2023
Director
Todd Haynes
Cast
Julianne Moore , Natalie Portman , Andrea Frankle , Charles Melton

Runtime
117 minutes

7 Lady Bird and Julie (Saoirse Ronan and Beanie Feldstein)

'Lady Bird' (2017)

The 10 Best Female Duos in Movies, Ranked (19)

She recently stole the spotlight with the cultural phenomenon that was Barbie, but Greta Gerwig has been proving since her sophom*ore directing effort, Lady Bird, that she's one of the best female filmmakers working today. This coming-of-age comedy was inspired in numerous ways by Gerwig's experiences growing up in Sacramento, California. In it, artistically inclined teenager Christine "Lady Bird" comes of age in the Golden State's capital, navigating this complicated period of her life with the help of her best friend, Julie.

Lady Bird is definitely one of the funniest coming-of-age films, but it's also one of the most deeply heartfelt and universally relatable, no matter one's age or hometown. A lot of this comes from the funny, touching, and endearing friendship between Lady Bird and Julie. Ronan and Feldstein share so much chemistry that the two truly feel like they've been best friends forever, and the characters are so richly and passionately written that one can't help but want to join their circle.

The 10 Best Female Duos in Movies, Ranked (20)
Lady Bird

R

Comedy

Coming-of-Age

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Release Date
September 8, 2017
Director
Greta Gerwig
Cast
Saoirse Ronan , Laurie Metcalf , Tracy Letts , Lucas Hedges , Timothee Chalamet , Elizabeth 'Beanie' Feldstein

Runtime
93 minutes
Writers
Greta Gerwig

6 Céline and Julie (Juliet Berto and Dominique Labourier)

'Céline and Julie Go Boating' (1974)

The French slapstick comedy Céline and Julie Go Boating may be over three hours long, but it's such a delightful watch that it's worth every second of its daunting runtime. Directed by Jacques Rivette, it's about a mysteriously linked pair of young women who find their lives disrupted by a weird boudoir melodrama occurring in a hallucinatory parallel reality.

Céline and Julie is one of the earliest cinematic feminist manifestos of French cinema, adopting a female-centric perspective in its exploration of themes of identity and the mysterious magic of film. Céline and Julie themselves, played by the stupendous Juliet Berto and Dominique Labourier, are enthralling, elusive, and almost universal main characters. The things that they could each signify are infinite, depending on the viewer's unique interpretation of this dreamlike surrealist fantasy.

Watch on Criterion

5 Marie I and Marie II (Ivana Karbanová and Jitka Cerhová)

'Daisies' (1966)

The 10 Best Female Duos in Movies, Ranked (26)

The greatest masterpiece by Czech filmmaking pioneer Vera Chytilová, Daisies is as exquisitely weird as surrealist movies come. It's a sort of screwball teen comedy where, after realizing that the whole world is spoiled, Marie I and Marie II decide to become just as spoiled themselves. They set off on a bizarre adventure full of hijinks, going from ripping off older men to engaging in mischief in lavish dinners.

At its core, Daisies is a critique of social cues and empty conventions. It explores everything that high society deems "grotesque" or "off-putting" and contrasts it with the true horrors of the world that the same people turn a blind eye to. But, by exploring the weird friendship between the two equally weird Maries, the movie also makes a comment on women's search for identity in a world that's hell-bent on keeping them quiet and "well-behaved."

Watch on Max

4 Betty/Diane and Rita/Camilla (Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harring)

'Mulholland Dr.' (2001)

The 10 Best Female Duos in Movies, Ranked (27)

For years, David Lynch has been one of the leading directors in arthouse cinema, reigning supreme in the realm of indie cinematic surrealism. He has made numerous successful films, but perhaps the one that's closest to being recognized as a masterwork by the mainstream is his Oscar-nominated Mulholland Dr. In it, a wannabe Hollywood actress finds a woman who's been rendered an amnesiac by a car wreck on Mulholland Drive. Together, they search for answers all across Los Angeles.

Mulholland Dr. masterfully blends the line between dreams and reality in its first and second acts until all mind-bending hell breaks loose in the tremendous third act. Like all of Lynch's films, it is entirely open to any sort of interpretation. At the heart of each of these possible theories lies the complex dynamic between Betty and Rita. As it goes from friendship to romance and then veers into darker territory, it never stops being mysterious and deeply meaningful, supported by the masterful performances of Laura Elena Harring and especially Naomi Watts.

The 10 Best Female Duos in Movies, Ranked (28)
Mulholland Drive

R

Crime

Drama

Mystery

Thriller

Where to Watch

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Release Date
June 6, 2001

Director
David Lynch
Cast
Naomi Watts , Laura Harring , Ann Miller , Dan Hedaya , Justin Theroux , Brent Briscoe

Runtime
147 minutes

Writers
David Lynch

3 Marianne and Héloïse (Adèle Haenel and Noémie Merlant)

'Portrait of a Lady on Fire' (2019)

The 10 Best Female Duos in Movies, Ranked (30)

On multiple recent occasions, French film has proved to be home to some of the most high-quality indie cinema currently being made, and films as outstanding as Céline Sciamma's Portrait of a Lady on Fire prove it. A nuanced LGBTQ+ romance film set on an isolated island in Brittany at the end of the 18th century, it centers on a painter who arrives to work on the wedding portrait of a young woman. Soon enough, their relationship turns into something more than just professional.

There's something delightfully refreshing about watching a romance drama as female gaze-y as Portrait of a Lady on Fire, which dives deep into the sparks that fly after these two women's minds and souls collide and start melding together. The layered dynamics between Marianne and Héloïse are the beating heart of the movie, but they are also fascinating characters in their own right. The romance might be the film's main theme, but Marianne and Héloïse are fully-fledged figures with distinctive presences.

The 10 Best Female Duos in Movies, Ranked (31)
Portrait of a Lady on Fire

R

Historical

Romance

Drama

Where to Watch

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Release Date
May 29, 2019

Director
Céline Sciamma

Cast
Noemie Merlant

Runtime
120

2 Alma and Elisabet (Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann)

'Persona' (1966)

The 10 Best Female Duos in Movies, Ranked (35)

Many would call Persona Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman's greatest film, and it would be hard to blame them. Part character drama, part psychological thriller, it's about a nurse who's put in charge of a mute actress and finds that their personas are melding together in unexpected ways. Bergman was no stranger to injecting surrealism into his films, but Persona is particularly complex in that regard.

While definitely infinitely analyzable and hard to interpret, Persona is a fascinating arthouse film for those looking for a movie that will make them think. Played by common Bergman collaborators Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann, both at their career-best peak, Alma and Elisabet are an engrossing duo with a rapidly evolving relationship. This psychologically complex drama is a deep exploration of identity and duality, and it wouldn't work even half as well as it does if it weren't for the two masterfully written characters at its forefront.

Persona

Not Rated

Drama

Thriller

Where to Watch

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Not available

Release Date
March 16, 1967

Director
Ingmar Bergman

Cast
Bibi Andersson , Liv Ullmann , Margaretha Krook , Gunnar Björnstrand , Jörgen Lindström

Runtime
83 Minutes

Writers
Ingmar Bergman

1 Thelma and Louise (Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis)

'Thelma & Louise' (1991)

The 10 Best Female Duos in Movies, Ranked (38)

Modern feminist cinema simply wouldn't be what it is today if it weren't for Ridley Scott's , easily one of the most iconic and best movies of the '90s. This road trip neo-Western follows two best friends who set out on an adventure that soon turns into a high-adrenaline escape from the cops as they race to the Mexican border to avoid the crimes they've committed.

Terrific direction, a masterful script, and one of Hans Zimmer's most underrated scores all contribute to making this a triumphant movie about female liberation. Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis deliver the best performances of their respective careers, creating arguably the most enduring depiction of female friendship in American cinema. Thelma & Louise is a surprisingly female gaze-y crime drama with an unforgettable ending, exploring the nature of modern female bonds and femininity in general.

The 10 Best Female Duos in Movies, Ranked (39)

R

Adventure

Crime

Drama

Where to Watch

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Release Date
May 24, 1991
Director
Ridley Scott
Cast
Susan Sarandon , Geena Davis , Harvey Keitel , Michael Madsen , Christopher McDonald , Stephen Tobolowsky

Runtime
130 minutes

Writers
Callie Khouri

NEXT:Best TV Shows About Female Friendships

  • Mulholland Drive
  • May December (2023)

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