Rachael Harris picks top films about strong women

BY CHRISTY LEMIRE AP Movie Critic Published:

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- She's been best known for her comic roles in movies like "The Hangover" and "For Your Consideration," and TV shows including "New Girl" and "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart." But Rachael Harris reveals a dramatic facet to her talent in "Natural Selection," in which she plays a conservative Christian woman who goes on a road trip to find the son her husband never knew he had. Along the way, she also finds an inner strength she never knew she had.

With this indie film festival favorite arriving in theaters this weekend, we asked Harris to choose her five favorite movies about strong women. But since she's so nice (and full disclosure: since she's a friend) we let her pick six, in her own words:

-- "Hannah and Her Sisters" (1986): I love Dianne Wiest so much in this film it makes my heart hurt. I find her arc very satisfying. She's a complete disaster who finds dignity and acceptance by the final frame. Just honest and brave and I am a sucker for a happy ending.

-- "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979): Two words: Meryl Streep. She's just open -- her heart is full and open. She makes a woman leaving her son to live with his father a likeable person. You feel deep compassion for her character -- that's crazy hard to do. She does it effortlessly, like everything else she does.

-- "Broadcast News" (1987): I love Holly Hunter in everything I think I've ever seen her in. I loved watching her character wrestling with her needs to be successful and driven and at the same time be a vulnerable woman wanting and trying to find love.

-- "Waitress" (2007): Adrienne Shelly wrote and starred in the film and the entire cast was perfection in my opinion: Keri Russell, Cheryl Hines, Jeremy Sisto and Nathan Fillion. Simple and honest. A beautiful story of an unconventional romance.

-- "Tootsie" (1982): This is my favorite movie -- I love the way Dustin Hoffman is playing a woman. He does more for women in his portrayal of Dorothy Michaels than a lot of female actresses. I may get in trouble for saying that but I stand on my convictions. It's the same reason I love Holly Hunter in "Broadcast News" -- it's a hard balance to strike and I think he does a lot in that performance for men to understand what woman go through.

-- "Steel Magnolias" (1989): Sally Field: "I'm fine. I can jog to Texas and back, my daughter can't. She never could! I want to know why!" The most painful, real moment in that film. Full of tears and laughter existing at the same time. I live for those moments on screen. Sally Field and the ladies in that cast had funny, touching and painful moments ... my favorite kind of moviegoing experience!

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Think of any other examples? Share them with AP Movie Critic Christy Lemire through Twitter: http://twitter.com/christylemire.

And with Rachael Harris: https://twitter.com/RachaelEHarris.