30 Feminist Christmas Movies, Ranked

20 of 31

The Polar Express, Image via Warner Bros.

The Polar Express

Billy is a young boy who is beginning to doubt the existence of Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve, a train called The Polar Express pulls up his street, and the conductor asks Billy if he’d like to get on and travel to the North Pole. While initially skeptical, he decides to board the train. En route to the North Pole, Billy encounters many adventures, involving hot chocolate, a hobo, and some new friends. Finally arriving at the North Pole, Billy comes face to face with what he previously did not believe in, and ultimately comes to believe in the magic of Christmas.

The Good

  • The main girl in the movie is a girl of color, and is also credited as “Hero Girl.” That’s a name I can get behind!
  • Hero Girl’s fellow main characters are Billy and Hero Boy. A lot of movies, if they have a token girl, have her there to be explicitly feminine and to be the wet blanket or pull away from the adventure. In this movie, however, Hero Girl is portrayed as being just as adventurous and just as brave as her cohorts. She is the first to travel on top of the train, she rides with Santa’s toys, she even drives the Polar Express! Simultaneously, she shows compassion and real kindness to the people around her. She contains multitudes!

The Bad

  • There is only one girl that is featured at all in the movie. Only one girl means no Bechdel test pass and no women-helping-women sisterhood. Frowny face.

The Ugly

  • Why are none of these movies about little girls? It’s not the fault of this movie in particular. But of the movies on this list that prominently feature kids, ten are about precocious, thoughtful, and mischievous boys, and three are about sweet, demure girls. I want a Hero Girl sequel.