Films By Women

Versions of Yourself: Nora Ephron as Women’s Storyteller

Sleepless in Seattle

In addition to her work in film, Nora Ephron was a journalist, playwright, and novelist; unsurprisingly, her stock in trade is words. Crucially, what she does with these words is to give women room. For these women at the center of her films, there is, above all, space. Space not simply to be the best version of themselves, but all the versions of themselves: confident, neurotic, right, wrong, flawed.

Mexican Filmmaker Patricia Riggen Makes a Mark on Both Sides of the Border

Patricia Riggen films

I can’t think of another female director – in the United States, or in Mexico, who has accomplished such a feat. This is noteworthy, not only because she’s a woman filmmaker, but because she is also a woman of color. So how has she done this? Obviously talent has played a major role in her success. But more importantly, Riggen has not boxed herself into any one genre, nor has she allowed anyone else in the industry to box her in.

Nicolette Krebitz’s ‘Wild’ and the Importance of Living Without Fear

Nicolette Krebitz's 'Wild'

That film is ‘Wild,’ a modern-day fable unlike any of the Aesop-influenced tales you heard as a child. It tells the story of a seemingly ordinary woman whose life is forever changed after a chance encounter with a wolf. By turns intense and outlandish, deeply emotional and utterly outrageous, ‘Wild’ busts taboos left and right to show audiences how true happiness can be achieved if one sets societal expectations aside and embraces one’s true nature.

Andrea Arnold’s ‘American Honey’: A Young Woman Reclaims Her Life’s Trajectory

American Honey

Andrea Arnold’s films largely focus on the female experience, predominantly that of young women transitioning into adulthood. … It is here then, that Arnold’s depiction of female desire and agency warrants praise. Star acts on her own wants and needs, and seeing Jake, acknowledges her longing. She consciously rejects the current trajectory of her life, and intentionally and purposefully seeks a new one.

The Love That’s Really Real: ‘American Psycho’ as Romantic Comedy

American Psycho 4

Although primarily a horror film, ‘American Psycho’ has a satiric backbone that appropriates codes from the romantic comedy genre to expose the absurdities of our gender ideals. Director and co-writer Mary Harron’s lens skewers the qualities we find appealing in romantic comedies as terrifying.

Does ‘Pitch Perfect’s Fat Amy Deserve to Be a Fat Positivity Mascot?

Pitch Perfect

It’s great to see a character whose fatness is a part of her identity without being a point of dehumanization, but the films try to make Fat Amy likable at the expense of other characters, positioning her as acceptably quirky, in contrast to the women of color, who are portrayed in a more two-dimensional manner, or Stacie, who is unacceptable due to her promiscuity. Ultimately, the underlying current of stereotype-based humor puts the film’s fat positivity in a dubious light…

Unpopular Opinions in Film: A Critical Re-Examination of ‘Twilight’

Twilight

My intent is not to claim that ‘Twilight’ is a perfect movie, but rather, I want to argue that it has more virtues than it is given credit for, and to point out that its dismissal is frequently based on pervasive sexist attitudes. I am not speaking for the other films in the series — all directed by men — but rather, the first film, which was written and directed by women (Melissa Rosenberg and Catherine Hardwicke, respectively), based on a novel written by a woman. There are many valid reasons why one may not enjoy ‘Twilight,’ but it is important to recognize that it is unfair and sexist to dismiss the film and its fans based on the fact that it is a romance told from a female perspective.

‘Certain Women’: Four Women United by Emotional and Under-Recognized Work

2016-11-23-17-53-23

‘Certain Women’ belongs to the four women at its core: Laura Dern’s fragile, exhausted stoicism, Michelle William’s neutrality laced with sharp edges, Lily Gladstone’s quietly powerful grasp of the feeling of new love, and Kristen Stewart’s almost-sweet awkwardness, are what make Certain Women worth the trip.

Trespassed Lands, Transgressed Bodies: Horror, Rage, Rape, and Vengeance Within Indigenous Cinema

Rhymes for Young Ghouls

By forcing the subconscious fears of audiences to the surface, horror cinema evokes reactions psychologically and physically — that is its power. This power can serve and support uncensored Indigenous expression by allowing Indigenous filmmakers the opportunity to unleash dark, unsanitized allegorical representations of the abhorrent, repugnant, violent abomination that is colonization.

‘Older Than America’: Cultural Genocide and Reparations

Older Than America

One female-helmed film that directly addresses the horrific psychological, cultural, and spiritual legacy of Native boarding schools on Indigenous families in the United States is ‘Older Than America,’ a 2008 release, directed and produced by and starring Georgina Lightning, from a script by Lightning and Christine Kunewa Walker. … Rain’s journey is part of the collective story of her community and her tribe…

The Unvoiced Indigenous Feminism of ‘Frida’

Frida

Frida Kahlo’s sense of kyriarchy, in which the tension between Indigenous culture and European imperialism is a core aspect of her multi-faceted narratives of oppression and resistance, is simplified in Julie Taymor’s film ‘Frida’ towards a more Euro-American feminism, focused on Kahlo’s struggle for artistic recognition and romantic fulfillment as a woman, to the exclusion of her ethnic struggle.

Abortion in America: Dawn Porter’s ‘Trapped’

Trapped

The perspectives many of us are unfamiliar with are the brave abortion providers, lawyers, and clinic workers who fight every single day to try and give (and protect) medical care to the people who need abortions, and the people most often impacted by lack of abortion access: women of color and poor women. This is the narrative that Dawn Porter provides as the backbone to ‘Trapped,’ and it’s astonishing.