This is a man’s world, especially in Hollywood, but these female directors are breaking and changing the rules.
It’s often talked about how women are portrayed in film; even today with cinema being as varied as it is, many movies still portray women as one-dimensional characters, falling into many gender stereotypes. But when the majority of films hitting our screens are made by men, it’s hardly surprising that the representation of women isn’t always up to scratch.
However, recent blockbusters like “Wonder Woman,” directed by Patty Jenkins, prove that the tides are turning and that there is a real desire to have stories visualized through the eyes of women just as much as men.
Discover some of the female directors we think you need to watch out for in the next few years, and their must see movies who also happen to champion complexed and strong female characters (or poke fun at stereotypes, in the case of number four).
5 Must-See Films By Female Directors
1. “Electrik Children” (2012) Rebecca Thomas
Including teenage pregnancy and fundamentalist religion, you don’t expect “Electrick Children” to be a barrel of laughs, but from start to finish it is full of infectious optimism and innocence. Centered on curious fifteen year old Rachel (Julia Garner), who believes she has been impregnated by listening to “Don’t Leave Me Hanging On The Telephone” on a forbidden cassette player, we follow her on a journey of self-discovery into the world beyond her Mormon family. Thomas handles potentially dark subjects with grace, never straying far from Rachel’s bright view of the world, with delicious cinematography as the cherry on top.
2. “Into The Forest” (2015) Patricia Rozema
Although “Into The Forest” can be described as an apocalyptic sci-fi, Rozema skips special effects and chaotic city scenes, instead favoring an inward glance into what the end of the world could really look like. Our focus is on sisters Nell and Eva (played by the equally fantastic Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood) who live in their remote house in the forest, whose world changes one day when the power goes out. Beginning as composed and calm, things slowly unravel little piece by piece. Brace yourself for this harrowing tale of sisterhood, loss, and survival.
3. “Queen Of Katwe” (2016) Mira Nair
Nair is a seasoned director with twenty four titles under her belt, but this latest collaboration with Disney is a must see for anyone who loves a heartwarming true story. Based on the rise of chess champion Phiona Mutesi from the slums of Katwe in Uganda. While her incredible story could have easily translated to overly soppy and out of touch on screen (and via Hollywood), it’s feel good and uplifting in all the right places, without straying far from the reality of what it’s like for one person’s life to change in such a dramatic way.
4. “Ruby Sparks” (2012) Valeria Faris and Jonathan Dayton
This may be directed by both a man and woman, but it’s so good that it has to make the list. You may know this movie making dream team better for their blockbuster Little Miss Sunshine, but this unusual romantic comedy is just as worthy of recognition. Bestselling author Calvin (Paul Dano) can’t get past his decade long writer’s block, until one day he’s inspired to write about the woman of his dreams, Ruby (Zoe Kazan). The twist in the story? Ruby soon comes to life! This fun flick has a serious side, commenting a lot of the idealization of women, and unrealistic expectations within relationships as a whole. Watch out for another release by this duo, “Battle Of The Sexes,” hitting cinemas later this year!
5. “Wadjda” (2012) Haifaa Al-Mansour
If there is one female director who is seriously killing it, it’s Al-Mansour. Not only is “Wadjda” a more than worthy watch, but it’s the first ever feature film by a female Saudi director. Elements of the film reveal just what a feat that is, in a country where life for women is wholly different from those in the West. Our protagonist Wadjda (Waad Mohammed) may be just a girl, but she’s not going to let anyone put her in a girls-only box. In fact, she is a badass. On a mission to buy the bicycle of her dreams, you’ll be rooting for her the whole way as she uses her wit, charm, and smarts to accomplish her goal with everyone against her; at times even her own mother. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for another feature from this trailblazing director in the future.
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