Women’s History Month 2022 is coming to an end, but there’s still time to celebrate with some of the best films from women filmmakers in Hollywood. The movies on this list were all chosen because they were helmed by talented women, both from the director’s chair as well as the writer’s room. Some of the films represented were conceived by singular auteurs with a vision while others were created by a collective of women coming together to tell a unique story. From Oscar-winning dramas to teenage raunch comedies, all of these films will have lasting impacts for years to come.
While this list is by no means exhaustive and could never fully represent the diversity of creative voices out there, it’s meant to highlight some of the most impactful, inspiring and irreverent films in cinema history for this Women’s History Month.
1. The Lost Daughter (2021) – Written and Directed by Maggie GyllenhaalOscar-winner Olivia Coleman stars in this tense drama about a college professor who falls into an unexpected and unsettling friendship with a young mother (Dakota Johnson) while vacationing in Europe.
Why we chose it: This film marks the directorial debut of Oscar-nominated actor Maggie Gyllenhaal and gained the talented actress/writer an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
2. Lady Bird (2017) – Written and Directed by Greta GerwigFour-time Academy Award nominee Greta Gerwig stars in this coming-of-age comedy about a Catholic school student in her final year of high school.
The film was the solo directorial debut of Greta Gerwig and was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.
3. Promising Young Woman (2020) – Written and Directed by Emerald FennellCarey Mulligan earned an Oscar nomination for her performance in Promising Young Woman as a former medical student on a revenge quest against those who’ve harmed her in the past.
Why we chose it: The film was the feature directorial debut of Emerald Fennell and earned them an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. It was also nominated for four other Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Picture.
4. Booksmart (2019) – Director: Olivia Wilde, Written by Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna FogelThis goofy teen comedy from first-time feature director Olivia Wilde was a box office smash and breathed new life into the high school raunch comedy genre.
Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever star as two overachieving best friends who finally decide to start breaking the rules on their last day of high school.
5. Frida (2002) – Director: Julie Taymor, Written by Diane Lake and Clancy SigalThis epic biopic from director Julie Taymor stars Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo, the revolutionary Mexican artist whose life was as vibrant, colorful and evocative as her art.
The film earned an Oscar nomination for Salma Hayek and was nominated for five other Academy Awards, winning two.
6. Can You Ever Forgive Me (2018) – Director: Marielle Heller, Written by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff WhittyComedy legend Melissa McCarthy takes a dramatic turn in this Oscar-nominated biographical drama. McCarthy plays struggling author Lee Israel, who infamously attempted to enrich herself by forging letters from long-dead writers.
McCarthy earned her second Oscar nomination for the film, which also received nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor. The film was the second feature from director Marielle Heller, who later directed the biopic A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers.
7. Janelle Monáe: Dirty Computer (2018) – Written by Janelle Monáe, Alan Ferguson and Chuck Lightning. Directed by Lacey Duke, Alan Ferguson and Andrew DonohoThis experimental film from Janelle Monáe was released alongside her album of the same name and stars Monáe as an android named Jane 57821 who attempts to break free from the homophobic dystopian society that threatens to smother her individuality.
Why we chose it: Dirty Computer received a Hugo nomination in the Short Form category for Best Dramatic Presentation. and Rolling Stone calls it a new “sci-fi masterpiece.”
8. Little Women (2019) – Written and Directed by Greta GerwigThe 2019 remake of Little Women was only the second feature from Greta Gerwig after Lady Bird, and it garnered five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and one win.
Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh both earned Oscar nominations for their roles as the March sisters in this dramatic adaptation of the novel of the same name.
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