Top Ten Female Led Films of 2018

Manhattan, New York
United States

1. Hereditary

I will take this to the grave that Toni Collette’s “I am your mother” monologue was one of the most moving scenes in a film this year. This horror movie by Ari Aster features prominent roles with Toni Collette and Milly Shapiro. Focusing on the story of how a grandmother has left her mark on her daughter’s family that will tear them apart. It is chilling, dark, and exciting. Definitely my top film for this year, and proof of the power of women from any generation.

2. Eighth Grade:

Following Kayla Day (played by Elsie Fisher) around in her last week of Eighth Grade was one of the most surreal and nostalgic experiences in film this year. In Bo Burnham’s directorial debut, we get a throwback to the confusing and frustrating years of adolescence. Having the focus be on a young girl at the time was a new experience and something very refreshing for a viewer like myself. It was meaningful and endearing, and something that holds true for many young people today.

3. On The Basis of Sex:

Seriously any movie about the incomparable Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is going to be at the top of film fanatics lists this year. Felicity Jones takes on the role of a young Ruth Bader Ginsburg as she starts out as a lawyer and must navigate in a man's world. It doesn't get released until December 25th, but it is already critically acclaimed, many stating that this may win Jones her first Oscar. Nothing is more inspiring than seeing the stories of the women before us battle successfully for their voices to be heard.

4. Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again

Without a doubt, this movie defined Summer 2018. It was a long-awaited sequel that was filled with joy and just pure escapism. Seeing all of our favorite characters from the original film ten years ago reunite for this film, as well as many newcomers, was a heartwarming experience to be a part of and something I definitely will not forget. When I went to see this movie, not a seat was empty, with women of all ages were singing along. Mamma Mia 2 had a better impact and reception than most sequels do. This huge cast of talented women really provided the sense of community we didn't even know we needed.

5.  Annihilation

A Sci-Fi Horror film starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, and Gina Rodriguez? Just take all my money because this film deserves every penny. What strikes me the most about the film’s release was actually what happened behind the scenes. Before it hit theaters, one of the film’s producers asked the director to re-write some of the characters and essentially dumb the film down much more than anticipated. But the director, Alex Garland, refused to take away from the movie just to appeal to wider audiences. This movie is daring, exciting, and all around different from other Sci-Fi films out there. It surely isn’t worth missing.

6. Halloween

Jamie Lee Curtis coming back to reprise her iconic role in the Halloween franchise was a sight to see this year. With a new narrative compared to that of her role in 1978, we find a Laurie Strode, hell-bent on her revenge against Michael after 40 years. Her determination, independence, and perseverance are all themes that carry out through this horror and make it easy to root for her from the get-go. This, alongside Hereditary and Annihilation, make it a truly great year for leading women in Horror.

7. Tully

Another collaboration from Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody (Juno, Jennifer’s Body), we are given the story of Marlo (Charlize Theron), an overworked and exhausted mother about to have her third child. This film gives a modern look into the world of motherhood today as well as playing on themes of independence, neglect and individuality. What’s great about Tully is that we see the hard work that goes into being a mother and how isolating it can even when there is a father present. This is definitely a change of pace from the other films mentioned but it is 100% worth seeing.

8. Widows

This film truly is the all-female heist movie we’ve been waiting for (sorry Oceans 8). It is starring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki as women who have all lost their husbands in a botched bank robbery and must now pay off their debt to a threatening mob boss. The impact that this film has had since its release a week ago has been nothing but thrilling. Viola Davis herself made a statement about the significance of the film in her career:

The film begins with me in bed with Liam Neeson, and we’re kissing, and it’s a sexualised kiss,” she says. “Here I am, I’m dark, I’m 53, I’m in my natural hair... and I’m with Liam Neeson. I’m with what America would consider to be a ‘hunk’. He’s not my slave owner. I’m not a prostitute. It’s not trying to make any social or political statements. We’re simply a couple in love. And what struck me in the narrative is that I’d never seen it before. And you’re not gonna see it this year, you’re not going to see it next year, you’re not going to see it the year after that.

If that alone doesn't make you want to see this film, then just be reminded that its a fantastic action film starring some amazing women. The content is at times heavy, but supporting a movie like this is more than worth your time.

9. Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Melissa McCarthy changes her normal pattern in this biopic about Lee Israel, a struggling writer who begins forging letters from deceased writers to make money. It has received huge critical acclaim and it is so empowering seeing McCarthy take on such a dramatic role after years of her succeeding in comedy. She is able to bring Israel’s story to life, a story that many people may have not known of before. It teaches on the struggles women authors faced in the past with grace, dignity, and accuracy.

10.  Skate Kitchen

Just imagine a film of all the people you wish you were best friends with. This film touches on the importance of female friendship with an amazing cast of bright and realistic characters. While it may be at the bottom of this list, that does not mean that it is not worth paying attention to. Skate Kitchen is a feel-good movie that gives a fantastic representation for any teen girl. Being that it is an indie film, it truly did not get enough advertising, and really should be viewed before the year ends.