Films By Women

Teen Girls Coming of Age in ‘Clueless’ and ‘The Edge of Seventeen’

Clueless and The Edge of Seventeen

These two women directors, Amy Heckerling (‘Clueless’) and Kelly Fremon Craig (‘The Edge of Seventeen’), use their films to give a focused examination on the insecurity and self-doubt teen girls face. Cher and Nadine’s personal struggles, as well as their relationships with older mentors, reveal how patriarchal expectations shape their lives as they come of age.

‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night’: A Vampire with No Name

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night 5

Enter The Girl, a mostly silent observer to the rotting underbelly of Bad City. She shares a kinship with the likes of Shane and The Man with No Name — a hero with mysterious origins and questionable morality who ultimately defends those who cannot help themselves. … Once The Girl arrives, it’s essentially Amirpour’s playground as she honors and subverts Westerns and horror films.

‘Queen of Katwe’ Is a Gorgeous, Inspiring Look at a Young Black Life Fully Realized

Queen of Katwe

But at its core lies a story of redemption, cultural pride, feminism, and economics — elements of a young life contending with extraordinary challenges. … ‘Queen of Katwe’ is a mesmerizing story of a life fully realized, a life that’s often overlooked and not given a chance. Its young cast, led by Nalwanga’s nuanced performance, help illuminate layers of humanity resting deep in the “slums” of Uganda, exhibiting talent well beyond their years.

Céline Sciamma’s Films (‘Girlhood,’ ‘Tomboy,’ and ‘Water Lilies’) Capture the Complexities of Adolescence

Girlhood film

French director and screenwriter Céline Sciamma of ‘Water Lilies,’ ‘Tomboy,’ and ‘Girlhood’ has gained critical acclaim for her portrayals of adolescence and coming-of-age, particularly on themes of gender and sexuality. … This undefined, yet crucial space is an uncomfortable one and Sciamma’s films excel because they embrace the chaotic ambiguity of youthful liminality.

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.