Women with wanderlust has been a major theme of some of the most pleasurable movies of the past decade. Big screen escapism with a find-yourself message, and set against an exotic backdrop, has attracted Oscar-winning stars such as Meryl Streep, Diane Lane, Reese Witherspoon, and Julia Roberts. The latest in this cycle showcases iconic comedy duo Patsy and Edina (Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders). Our Top 5 Travel Films for Women are:
Under the Tuscan Sun (2003). Frances, a writer, discovers that her husband has been having an affair when he files for divorce. To escape her life in San Francisco she joins a gay tour of Tuscany where she happens upon a crumbling villa, which she decides to buy. In repairing the lovely yet neglected structure she rebuilds her own life and self, while discovering the many joys (and overcoming some challenges) of Italian country life.
Mamma Mia (2008). Adapted from the hit Broadway musical, this film is fun mostly for its eye-popping setting of the Greek Islands. You can disregard the ABBA songs, or the miscasting of Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan in a musical, and focus instead on the stunning scenery provided by the Agios Ioannis Chapel, and the island of Skopelos. And fantasize that one day you, too, will retire to an island like this, run a charming inn, and host the weddings of your children.
Eat Pray Love (2010). Adapted from the bestselling novel of the same name, this story follows married-but-miserable Liz Gilbert, who turns to travel after an excruciating divorce and discovers the meaning of life, the location of happiness (within herself), and even true love. Jaw-dropping scenery and locations include Italy, where she discovers the nourishing power of good food; India, which reveals to her the power of prayer; and Bali, where she finds balance. It's an armchair traveler's delight.
Wild (2011). Based on Cheryl Strayed's memoir, this epic journey to recover from tragedy (this time, it's divorce and death) and to heal grief takes Reese Witherspoon's character on a 1,000 mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. No luxury here, but gorgeous and haunting scenery, and some lessons in safety and survival all women should know.
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016). We don't condone behaving badly with a bottle of Bollinger and making a nuisance of yourself on the Continent. Although it is fun to watch.