The forthcoming biopic I Am Woman, premiering today (September 11), follows a young Australian woman named Helen Reddy, who moves to NYC in pursuit of a singing career. With the name of the movie also being her signature hit song, it kind of gives the ending away — hint: she made it. She didn’t just make it as a performer, though, but became an advocate for women’s rights.
Here’s a peek at the early days for this young single mom on a mission, played by Tilda Cobham-Hervey:
NYC tends to turn up in a lot of storytelling as a backdrop, being a place where dreams are made or… shattered.
Here are 8 movies about people making the move and what happens on the other side:
1. Coming to America
In 1988 Eddie Murphy starred as Prince Akeem Joffer in the comedy Coming to America. The young royal found himself craving freedom from his pampered lifestyle in Africa’s Zamunda. And where does a prince go for such a thing? Queens, of course. He and his aid, played by Arsenio Hall, pack up and head to the NYC borough, where he hopes to meet an independent-minded woman. In an attempt to acclimate to his surroundings, he gets a job at a fast food restaurant called McDowell.
2. When Harry Met Sally
1989’s When Harry Met Sally starts off with a road trip, with Billy Crystal as Harry and Meg Ryan as Sally carpooling from Chicago to NYC. Sally has plans to be a journalist, which Harry poo-poos the entire drive. The two do not hit it off and go their separate ways once arriving in the big city. While there are millions of people in NYC, it’s not uncommon to run into someone you know, especially if you don’t want to see them. Years later, these two do just that — bump into one another and decide to give it a go as friends.
3. The Devil Wears Prada
In another fresh out of college story, 2006’s The Devil Wears Prada sees a Northwestern University graduate land in NYC. Anne Hathaway takes on the role of Andy Sachs. While Andy would like to work as a serious journalist, she “settles” for an assistant position at a fashion magazine. She thinks if she puts in a year, she can then upgrade to an area of focus more noteworthy. Andy tends to turn her nose up at the work they’re doing at the glossy mag, thinking it’s superficial, but the Editor-in-Chief Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) sets her straight.
4. In America
2002’s In America sees a young family move from Ireland to NYC via Canada. The story is narrated by the eldest daughter, named Christy (Sarah Bolger). Her parents are grieving the loss of their five-year-old son, who died from a brain tumor. While they still have two little ones to look after, the father (Paddy Considine), an aspiring actor, struggles to land auditions while being unable to emote — ever. His wife (Samantha Morton) pleads with him to fake it for their other children’s sake. While it’s tough, the excitement of being in a new country — more specifically, a vibrant city — helps lifts all of their spirits.
5. Green Card
In 1990’s Green Card, we see Gérard Depardieu as a Frenchman happily living in NYC, until his green card expires. In a last-ditch effort, and very illegal manner (we do not suggest), he enters into a marriage of convenience with a complete stranger (Andie MacDowell) to stay in the country. She doesn’t do this out of the kindness of her heart, but instead to qualify for an apartment. The two end up living together to throw off suspicion.
6. The Nanny Diaries
The Nanny Diaries’ (2007) protagonist doesn’t travel far, moving from New Jersey to New York City. But, being on the Upper East Side is truly another world. Scarlett Johansson takes on the role of recent college graduate Annie Braddock. She’s not sure what to do career-wise and falls into nanny-ing. She does have a name, but the mom (Laura Linney) she works for just calls her “Nanny,” and she reciprocates by calling her employer “Mrs. X.” While it’s not quite what she saw for herself, Nanny/Annie does become close with the young boy she’s charged with looking after.
Set in the 1950s, Saoirse Ronan takes on the role of a young Irish woman who moves to Brooklyn on her own in this 2015 rite of passage story. She finds herself a job at retail store and is living at a boarding house for women. But, all the while she finds herself painfully homesick. Things turn around when she meets a young Italian fella (Emory Cohen) in the area and the two fall in love. But, the time comes that she must decide if she should stay or make her return home for good. Her new guy doesn’t want her to go, but he understands and is supportive, saying to her, “Home is home.”
Just out earlier this year, Tigertail tells the story of a young Taiwanese man (Hong-Chi Lee) who agrees to an arranged marriage in exchange for him and his new wife to move to America. All he knows of the U.S. is from watching movies. And, it’s not quite what he expected upon arrival. The young couple, who are pretty much strangers, start a new life together in the Big Apple. The film goes back and forth in time, and when we meet him as an older man (Tzi Ma), we can sense the regret of his rushed decision.
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