These 15 Unforgettable Monologues By Women In Movies Will Bring You To Tears
Monologues are like jazz squares — everybody loves a good one. On screen, monologues tend to come in emotional dramas, especially if they're written for women, so they are not for the faint of heart. That said, the emotional ones are the most memorable, as proven by the 15 most unforgettable monologues by women in movies listed below. Spoiler alert: you will need tissues to make your way down the list, though some more humorous speeches have also been included to ensure you don't start sobbing at your desk.
What makes a monologue memorable? Well, in the case of some of the most famous ones by women in film, the secret ingredient could just be an Oscar (or at least an Oscar nomination). It's hard to believe anyone will ever forget the monologue that won Viola Davis her Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2016's Fences, for example. Other monologues become unforgettable because they earn a place in pop culture, like Carrie Fisher's speech in Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope. But, what really makes a monologue unforgettable is the actor delivering it. Let's face it: speeches are only as good as the actors performing them, and the most unforgettable monologues by women in film leave an impression because of the talent behind them. Watch and see for yourself.
1. Julia Roberts — 'Erin Brokovich'
The infamous "Numbers" monologue from Erin Brokovich (2000) is unforgettable because of Roberts' no nonsense delivery — she won an Oscar for a reason. But it's also great because it brings to life every woman's fantasy of being able to tell off some guy asking you for your number when you're really just trying to live your life in peace.
2. Julia Stiles — '10 Things I Hate About You'
Kat Stratford's poem in 10 Things I Hate About You was notorious for making all '90s girls cry. It's also a great monologue about love and loss, perfectly delivered by Julia Stiles.
3. America Ferrera — 'Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants'
Just thinking about the scene in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005) when Carmen (American Ferrera) calls her dad, Al (Bradley Whitford), to confront him for leaving her is enough to break your heart.
4. Carrie Fisher — 'A New Hope'
Carrie Fisher famously never forgot the lines to this Princess Leia monologue from A New Hope (1977), and many fans haven't either. Four decades and two trilogies later, there isn't a Star Wars monologue more iconic than Princess Leia's message to Obi-Wan Kenobi.
5. Viola Davis — 'Fences'
There's no way that Viola Davis' monologue in Fences (2016) won't be taught in acting schools for decades to come. Davis took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2017 for her performance as Rose, a devoted housewife who, in one monologue, sums up a life of joy, pain and disappointment.
6. Vivien Leigh — 'Gone With The Wind'
Gone With the Wind (1939) is probably one of the most quotable movies in Hollywood history, and this monologue performed by Vivien Leigh is the reason why. It also gave way too many people the desire to say "as God as my witness."
7. Amy Adams — 'Junebug'
Amy Adams earned her first Oscar nomination for Junebug (2005), and this monologue proves why she got it. In the scene, Ashley (Adams) is desperately trying to put on a brave face after giving birth to a stillborn baby. It's as heartbreaking as it is impressive.
8. Alicia Silverstone — 'Clueless'
9. Mo'Nique — 'Precious'
The tragic nature of Mary's monologue in Precious (2009) will make you want to forget it, but Mo'Nique's Oscar-winning delivery makes that impossible.
10. Michelle Williams — 'Manchester By The Sea'
Michelle Williams should really have a mic to drop at the end of this heartbreaking monologue in Manchester By The Sea (2016). In the scene, her character, Randy, reaches out to forgive her ex, Lee, who accidentally allowed their house to catch on fire, resulting in the death of their young children.
11. Sally Field — 'Steel Magnolias'
Another tearjerker, Sally Field's monologue at the end of Steel Magnolias (1989) is as honest a representation of grief one can find in a Hollywood production.
12. Hilary Duff — 'A Cinderella Story'
Hilary Duff's monologue at the end of A Cinderella Story might not be known the world over, but it's a millennial staple, and deserves a place on the list for that reason alone.
13. Lupita Nyong'o — 'Us'
Us is a terrifying look at the suffering of some that results in the joy of others. And in this monologue, Lupita Nyong'o's Red (her tethered character) explains in disturbing detail exactly how that works. It's a stunning performance from Nyong'o, featuring an altered voice and a slow delivery that just gets under your skin.
14. Jennifer Lopez — 'Hustlers'
It's hard not to cheer when Jennifer Lopez's Ramona goes off on the Wall Street corruption responsible for the economic crash of 2008 in Husters (2019). Lopez's entire career-defining performance can easily be boiled down to this one moment, where she explains why Wall Street guys who come into the strip club deserve to be conned. It's enough to have even the most upstanding citizen ready to do some crimes.
Hustlers is not yet available to stream.
15. Taraji P. Henson — 'Hidden Figures'
Taraji P. Henson's exasperated monologue in Hidden Figures is really the most memorable scene in the film. In the scene, tired of being forced to live like a second class citizen at work, Katherine (Henson) finally unloads on her boss about the struggles of working in a segregated office.
Here's to all the women performing monologues, giving us all the feels and making us cheer and cry.
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