Films Written by Women

Post-Feminist Rom-Coms and the Existing Female in ‘Trainwreck’ and ‘Legally Blonde’

Legally Blonde and Trainwreck

In the post-feminist romantic comedy, female characters transition from being non-existent objects, into existing, as subjects, in the course of love. … In ‘Trainwreck,’ Amy begins the film as a subject, but ends as an object. Amy’s opposition becomes submission to male desires, for a man, which erases her. In ‘Legally Blonde,’ Elle begins as object, but ends the film as subject. Initially, the gaze of the camera and the characters objectify Elle’s body. But eventually, Elle demonstrates her worth and success outside of male desires and ultimately finds love.

‘The Girl Down Loch Änzi’ and Our Slippery Relationship with Ghosts

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‘The Girl Down Loch Änzi,’ which had its North American premiere at the 2017 Hot Docs film festival, is a ghost story. Laura lives on a Swiss farm that borders the fabled Änziloch – a deep ravine that, legend has it, is home to the ghost of a woman cast out from the village several centuries before, and either left to die or imprisoned below. …An unusually stylish documentary, with beautifully-composed shots and scenes that play out with a feature film’s attention to blocking…

‘The Fits’ and the Complicated Choreography of Adolescence

The Fits

Director Anna Rose Holmer… described her film as portraying “adolescence as choreography.” I personally cannot think of a more apt way to describe the delicate movements one takes throughout the teenage years. One yearns to step into the spotlight and embrace one’s individuality while also fearing the consequences of doing so. It’s a delicate balancing act, wanting to be your own person while also wanting to fit in with everyone else.

The Fellowship of the Fling: How our Romance Film Team Came To Be

Im Having an Affair with My Wife

‘I’m Having an Affair With My Wife!’ is the first U.S. romantic comedy in 17 years to star a Black woman and an Asian-American man as the romantic leads. … Just let go of the fear you have of diversity, and let art move you, because the spirit of art, taken to its logical conclusion, reflects the beauty and variety of reality. Support diverse movies, listen to diverse stories, and start telling a few of your own.

Adolescence and Female Friendship in Gurinder Chadha’s ‘Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging’

Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging

After chronicling the clashes among family, football, and adolescence in ‘Bend it Like Beckham,’ Gurinder Chadha delves into similar territory with the ebullient coming-of-age tale ‘Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging.’ An adaptation of the 1999 novel ‘Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging’ by the late Louise Rennison, the film tells the story of Georgia Nicolson, a teenager growing up in Eastbourne, England, whose entry into the world of romancing boys is as fraught and funny as you might expect.

Courage, Death, and Love in Dorothy Arzner’s ‘Christopher Strong’

Christopher Strong

In spite of the ending or what the trailer suggests, ‘Christopher Strong’ doesn’t demonize Cynthia for her ambition and her desires; instead, the film sheds a sympathetic light on her story even as it depicts her pursuit of independence and love as an impossible one within the context of the world she occupies. The story of such a pursuit and the societal pressures attached likely felt familiar to director Dorothy Arzner, writer Zoë Akins, and star Katharine Hepburn — each of whom occupied positions of creative control in the film’s production and led successful careers in an industry still notorious for undervaluing women today.

‘The Love Witch’ Looks Familiar but Feels Remarkably Fresh

The Love Witch

Yet behind the eye-catching homage to Technicolor cinematography, the retro-glamorous hair and makeup, and the stylized performances of the pitch-perfect cast [Anna Biller’s ‘The Love Witch’] is a sharp-eyed satire of how society views female sexuality as simultaneously desirable and dangerous. …It is a remarkable look at the way our modern world views and values women  —  a serious statement about sexual politics wrapped up in a cocoon of cats-eye liner and cake, making it all the more dangerously potent.

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

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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.

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.