A quick Google search will reveal what most of us already know: there are way more male directors than female directors. While disheartening, things are getting better, and it’s my hope that soon female directors will grace the stage at the Academy Awards as often as male directors. While I’m desperate for the release of more female-directed films, the ones that already exist are dynamic and remarkable, a testament to the women who made them. In celebration of Women’s History Month, here are five female-directed movies you need to see RN.
Olivia Wilde directed this smart and sassy film about two high school seniors determined to break the rules before they graduate. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever are hilarious as Molly and Amy, bookish best friends who discover that their peers, who partied throughout high school, are equally as accomplished as they are. Upset that they didn’t have any fun in high school, the two girls decide to attend a graduation party, where plenty of chaos ensues. The film is heartfelt and hysterical, and a reminder that we are, and can be, so much more than a stereotype.
Stream on Hulu.
Yes, this iconic teen film was directed by a woman. Amy Heckerling wrote and directed Clueless, which stars Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy and Paul Rudd. Silverstone plays the beautiful Cher, who’s on a quest to make over new girl Tai (Murphy) because she wants to give back to those who are less fortunate than her. Thanks to Heckerling, we now have Cher’s famous catchphrase (“as if!”), the yellow checkered skirt and blazer, and a young Paul Rudd. And, if you’ve ever seen Iggy Azalea’s music video for “Fancy,” you just might recognize the background and outfits.
Rent or buy on Amazon Prime.
3. Promising Young Woman
If there’s any film that every person on Earth should watch at some point, it’s Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman. Fennell’s feature directorial debut tackles sexual assault through the lens of frustrated former medical school student Cassie (Carey Mulligan), who pretends to be drunk at bars to convince men to take her home. When these men try to take advantage of Cassie, she turns the tables on them, forcing them to acknowledge their predatory behavior.
What I like most about this film is that it isn’t just a tale of a smart, empowered woman seeking justice for other women; it’s also a story that painstakingly details how academic and legal institutions turn a blind eye to sexual assault allegations. The film also reminds us to hold the men in our lives to higher standards, call out inappropriate behavior when we see it, and encourage our male friends to do the same.
Rent or buy on Amazon Prime.
4. Lady Bird
Two words: Greta. Gerwig. In this painfully honest coming-of-age film, the talented Saiorse Ronan plays Lady Bird, a high school senior navigating a tempestuous relationship with her mother. The film offers a realistic representation of the trials and tribulations young people face, and every scene feels natural and unscripted, as though they were pulled from the cast members’ own high school experiences. If the originality and dynamic relationships aren’t enough to entice you to see Gerwig’s solo directorial debut, perhaps learning that Timothée Chalamet makes an appearance in the film will.
Stream on Netflix.
5. Sleepless in Seattle
There’s something about this film that makes me believe that I, too, may meet the love of my life on the observation deck of the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day. Nora Ephron’s beloved rom-com tells the story of widow Sam (Tom Hanks), whose son calls into a radio show and has him speak about his late wife on the air. When Baltimore journalist Annie (Meg Ryan) hears the story, she’s touched, and finds herself falling for Sam despite the many miles between them. The film is a sweet and comforting tale that’s predictable yet memorable enough to have you gravitate toward it over and over again.
Stream on Hulu with Starz.
There’s not nearly enough female-directed films out there, but these five are sure to please. So, what are you waiting for? Sit back, relax, and immerse yourself in these films brought to you by the extraordinary minds of five female directors.