Hollywood hasn’t exactly been famed for its diversity over the years, but that is less the case these days. And it hasn’t stopped a slew of hugely talented women from making their name in Tinseltown by directing some pretty darn great movies. Since the turn of the century, we have seen an increase in the number of skilled women who have wowed us with some fantastic motion pictures.
Let’s hope these women set a precedent, and that we start to see more and more women sitting in the director’s chair and yelling ‘Cut.’ We decided to choose a handful of what we feel constitute the best movies directed by women. These flicks were definite game-changers, and some of them even scooped multiple awards. See what you think of our list and if you can think of any better.
Strange Days (1995) – Dir. Kathryn Bigelow
Most people would probably put Bigelow’s more recent feature, The Hurt Locker, on this list, and for good reason (it scooped multiple awards). But, we have to say that we feel Strange Days is perhaps her most important work. Set on the eve of the Millennium, the movie follows themes of racism, power, abuse, and the continuing evolution of technology. It’s a bold, powerful piece of cinema, with riveting performances, and a stunning look at the dark, seedy underbelly of Los Angeles.
Wendy and Lucy (2008) – Dir. Kelly Reichardt
Kelly Reichardt is one of the masters of the character study, and this poignant, vulnerable movie is a must-see for any film fan. Starring indie Queen, the sensational Michelle Williams, this is a story that captures the intimacies and heartbreak of working-class America. The film follows Wendy and her pursuit of a better life for herself, who almost loses everything in the process. Reichardt is not afraid to give us an unflinching look at the deep vulnerability and shame of her characters and presents a rich tapestry of relatable individuals.
Lost in Translation (2003) – Dir. Sofia Coppola
This is widely regarded as the movie that changed everything for female directors. A beautiful, offbeat look at the friendship between two lonely and dysfunctional people. Coppola’s movie is a masterpiece, with intelligent direction and a wonderfully tight screenplay. The performances from Bill Murray and Scarlett Johanssen elevate an already stunning movie. Coppola’s obsession with human connection is never more eloquently explored. One of the films of the century.
The Babadook (2014) – Dir. Jennifer Kent
Unique, original, brilliant, and downright terrifying, The Babadook was a breath of fresh air in the tired horror genre when it came out. Telling the story of newly widowed Amelia who is trying to get over her husband’s death, while raising her young son who encounters the eponymous storybook demon. Cleverly using the monster as a metaphor for grief, The Babadook is one of the most riveting horror movies we’ve seen in a long time.
These are just a selection of some of the best movies helmed by female directors. There are so many wonderful motion pictures being made every year, but we feel like these represent some of the best on the market. In terms of originality, diversity, and technical skill, these films represent some of the best work in modern cinema. Period!