8 Rom Coms To Watch When You Want To Feel Empowered (And Don’t Want To Be Saved)

So many romantic comedies feature women who need a man for them to feel whole. Maybe she needs a makeover by her crush like She’s All That or has to fail in order to finally start succeeding like Bridesmaids. It’s the “You complete me” of it all. While there’s nothing wrong with being a princess who wants to be saved or a flawed human with confidence issues, sometimes you’d prefer to see a strong leading lady so you can feel empowered. You’re in luck! Watch these empowering romantic comedies with some fierce leading ladies. I’ll even tell you exactly where to watch them.

Viva Las Vegas (1964)


Unlike most of the other Elvis movies, Viva Las Vegas doesn’t feature a meek ingenue who’s life only starts when she meets a hip-swiveling guitar player. Instead, the lead is played by the fiery Ann-Margaret–one of the only leading ladies to meet Elvis and say, “Nah, I’m good.” The rockstar has to earn it, as well he should. Watch Viva Las Vegas on Tubi.

Clueless (1995)

Paramount Pictures

Cher is the popular girl in school, and while that would normally brand her a “mean girl,” she’s anything but. She’s sweet, she cares about the people around her, and she devotes her time to helping friends and teachers find love. So when she finally stumbles on it herself, you know it’s worth it. Watch Clueless on Paramount+.

Say Anything… (1989)

20th Century Fox

Rather than a romance from the perspective of the leading lady, Say Anything… follows Lloyd Dobler as he works to woo his crush, Diane Court. Diane never has to prove herself to him. He loves her just as she is within the first five minutes of the movie and we can totally understand why. Watch Say Anything… on Hulu.

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Buena Vista

It takes bravery to be exactly who you are–especially in hormone-fueled high school. Alas, Kat’s unique brand of sardonic wit and “down with the patriarchy” feminist wiles are exactly why everyone wants her to change. Does she? Hell no. And Patrick falls for her anyway. Watch 10 Things I Hate About You on Disney+ and Hulu.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

IFC Films

Unlike literally any other makeover montage rom com, Toula isn’t taken against her will to the local department store by her crush or a gaggle of well-meaning popular girls. Instead, she makes the decision to change her own life. Not for a man or her family, but just because she wants to be better. Now that’s empowerment. Watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding on Max.

Always Be My Maybe (2019)


After an awkward moment in Marcus’s car after graduation, these once lifelong friends drift apart. Sasha becomes about the most badass thing someone who loves cooking could be: An all-star celebrity chef. When we meet up with her again when the pair are adults, she’s already got her act together and she takes no nonsense from anyone–something you don’t usually see in romantic comedies. Watch Always Be My Maybe on Netflix.

Legally Blonde (2001)


Elle Woods is so strong, smart, and confident that the romance in Legally Blonde is mostly just pale pink icing on a hot pink cake. In fact, Elle doesn’t need a man to such a degree that they could have skipped the romance subplot entirely and not lost anything at all. Let’s just spend 90 minutes watching her be the best lawyer in the room. Watch Legally Blonde on Max.

Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

Warner Bros.

When Rachel finds out her boyfriend is actually a supremely wealthy socialite from Singapore, she’s quickly thrust into their world without much support. Rather than shrinking away from the increasingly beguiling world of the infinitely rich and his equally hostile mom, Rachel holds her own. If you need a boost, just watch her speech during mahjong at the end of the movie. Watch Crazy Rich Asians on Netflix.

About the author

Trisha Bartle

Trisha’s your resident tarot reader, rom-com lover, and horror connoisseur. In addition to using her vast knowledge of all things cinema for Thought Catalog’s TV + Movies entertainment section, she also offers her astrological and tarot expertise to Collective World. Trisha splits her time between making art and being awesome.