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Five MUST WATCH FILMS BY FEMALE DIRECTORS

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I pride myself on being an avid film watcher. I spend most of my free time going to the cinema or watching movies at home with my projector. It is one of my favourite things to do and I am always on the lookout for new films to watch. Despite my love of film, one thing that has come to my attention that frustrates me to no end is the lack of female directors in the industry. It is shocking to learn that in 2021, in over 800 movie releases, only 13.7% of directors were women. Hollywood is already a male-dominated industry, and it seems that there is an unjustified stereotype from men that women cannot make good movies – that filmmaking is for men only, I want to prove them wrong. In the last year, I have made a specific effort to start watching and supporting female directors more to show that women make the most amazing films that deserve attention. Below is a list I have put together of some films that have all been directed by women and have female leading roles too. I hope that perhaps one of the suggestions will take your fancy, and you can add to your watchlist!

Promising Young Woman (2020), directed by Emerald Fennell

TW: Mentions of rape and sexual assault

This film features a young woman, Cassie (Carie Mulligan) who is haunted by the traumatic sexual assault of her best friend seven years prior in college, which resulted in her suicide. This causes Cassie to turn to revenge. It is a playful, provocative, and satirical revenge piece which is extremely powerful. It is a heart-breaking reflection of the real world injustices of the legal system when dealing with these complex cases. The ingenious title references Brock Turner, a Stanford University Swimmer who was discovered raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, who ultimately only ended up serving 3 months in jail because he was a considered to be a ‘promising young man.’ It is definitely a must watch if you haven’t already, it even won Best Original Screenplay at the 2021 Oscars.

Marie Antoinette (2006), directed by Sofia Coppola

This film is a historical drama based on the life of Marie Antoinette, who is played by Kirsten Dunst. It is a truly stunning film that goes IN on the French Renaissance clothing and set pieces – in fact, Coppola was given unprecedented access to Versailles to film the movie. The soundtrack also features new wave and post-punk bands such as New Order and The Cure which makes the film feel so modern and fun, while still staying true to the historical nature of Antoinette’s life. It is a beautiful movie that deserves to be seen just for the visuals, but the story is exciting and engaging – showing a new side to Marie Antoinette which shows her humanity as she was only 14 years old when she was brought from Austria to marry the Dauphin of France. This is a MUST WATCH if you love period piece films.

The Edge of Seventeen (2016), directed by Kelly Fremon Craig

The Edge of Seventeen is a hilarious and poignant coming of age movie for teenage girls. It tells the story of Nadine Franklin, played by Hailee Steinfeld, who discovers her best and only friend is in a relationship with her brother – who she has a poor and difficult relationship with. The story navigates female relationships, first loves and loss as Nadine’s father passed away when she was thirteen. It deals with growing up and coming to terms with life changes which is extremely relatable. It is an easy-watch and will make you laugh and cry.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018), directed by Desiree Akhavan

This film is based on a 2012 novel of the same name and is about a girl named Cameron Post (Chloe Grace Moretz) who is sent to a gay conversion therapy camp as she discovered having sex with her secret girlfriend in a car. It delves into how emotionally abusive conversion therapy camps are and the sometimes-dire repercussions it can cause. It has comedic moments to enjoy, but also shows the obvious dark side of these camps and shouldn’t be watched if that is something that you find difficult to see. This is a great film to watch if you want to explore more LGBTQ+ films and go out of your comfort zone.

Jennifer’s Body (2009), directed by Karyn Kasuma

This film is for the people who enjoy horror movies! Jennifer’s Body is a horror-comedy featuring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried, which portrays a demonically possessed high school girl who kills and eats her male classmates. It is considered to be a cult-classic now-a-days as it successfully portrays the complexities of female friendship as well as female power. As someone who is too scared to watch horror movies normally, I promise this isn’t that scary at all – with only a few moments that made me nervous. It does have some amazing performances and is such a creative and quirky horror movie that makes it so much fun to watch.

There you have it, 5 female directed films for you to add to your watch list! It’s important to show your support for these types of movies, as it shows that people ARE interested in watching movies directed by women and that more women need to be given the opportunity to do so!

Orla Tanner

Nottingham '23

Hi, I'm Orla! I'm a third year student studying English and American Studies. I am super interested in social justice, feminism and absolutely love films, especially ones made by female directors.