Women Are Best! June 2014 in Films

Another month where I didn’t manage to watch a movies a day, though I did watch all four season of Louie, in which time I could have probably watched like ten movies. I also had some person problems with my cat, Mr. Rochester, who is doing much better! And I was out-of-town for four days for a wedding. That said, I watched quite a few great films this past month. I wish I had the energy to write about them all! As always, after the cut is a list of all the films I watched and a few highlights. Oh, and yesterday was my birthday!


  • Vi är bäst! (We Are The Best!)
  • Maleficent
  • Love in the Rough
  • Obvious Child
  • Donnie Brasco
  • Green Dolphin Street
  • Fearless (1993)
  • The Best of Everything
  • Bella addormentata (Dormant Beauty)
  • They All Kissed the Bride
  • Design for Scandal
  • Susan Slade
  • Too Much, Too Soon
  • Used People
  • The Grasshopper
  • Los insólitos peces gato (The Amazing Catfish)
  • One Sunday Afternoon (1933)
  • Sweetie
  • A Woman Possessed
  • Le mélomane
  • Puce Moment
  • Rabbit’s Moon
  • Neighbours (1952)
  • Trances
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock
  • The Man from Snowy River
  • Magnificent Obsession (1935)
  • Same Time, Next Year

1880s: 0
1890s: 0
1900s: 1
1910s: 0
1920s: 0
1930s: 4
1940s: 4
1950s: 5
1960s: 2
1970s: 2
1980s: 3
1990s: 3
2000s: 0
2010s: 4

I saw a lot of films either directed by women or written by women or telling stories about women this month and I hope to keep increasing these numbers because there is so much available and so many stories that are so much more refreshing and important than the crap that keeps making it to number one at the box office each week. If you didn’t already, please read my pieces on Maleficent and Used People. Also here’s a list of 100 films available on Netflix that are directed by women (although I think a few of them have been taken off the service as of July 1st).

Vi är bäst! (We Are Best!), 2014 (dir. Lukas Moodysson)


Probably my favorite movie of the years so far, so I’m sure I will be writing more about it as the year comes to a close. This film is so much fun and so positive and one of the best depictions of what it’s like to be a 12-year-old girl ever brought to the big screen. It’s about the formation of friendships and demonstrates perfectly how the struggle for gender equality starts pretty early for women. These girls rock, they know it and they will be taken seriously! Not only is this my favorite film of the year so far, it’s also my favorite film-going experience of the year. This is definitely one to see with your lady friends!

Obvious Child, 2014 (dir. Gillian Robespierre)


This is probably my second favorite film of the year. Much like its marketing says, it’s everything we always wanted in a rom-com and never managed to get because there are always too many dicks on the dancefloor. The ladies who made this film – star Jenny Slate, director/writer Gillian Robespierre and producer Elisabeth Holm – knew exactly what they loved about the rom-coms that they loved and they knew what they wanted to see done differently and then they went out and did it! One of the aspects I loved the most about this film is its accurate depiction of Donna’s immediate family, but also her urban family. Usually, in rom-coms the lead has one best friend (as of late, usually a sassy lady or a gay man) and a bad relationship with her parents. In this film, she’s got a complicated, but good relationship with her parents and she has friends – lots of friends. I love that they show how as you build your life as an adult, you also build up friendships. We need more accurate films about friendship – period! Also, the end of this film is just so effing romantic!

The Best of Everything, 1959 (dir. Jean Negulesco)


More Joan Crawford (obviously!). This was my 63rd Joan film I believe, and boy what a film! I ordered the book for my birthday because it’s such an interesting film, I can’t wait to read the source material. It’s soapy and it’s campy and it’s most definitely a pot-boiler, but boy does it have A LOT to say about gender politics at the turn of the century. I saw this film at the Egyptian Theatre and before it screened, there was a lecture on the history of women’s fashion in the workplace from the 1940s – 1970s. It was a great lecture and filled in a lot of little factoids that I kind of knew already, but now I have the hard numbers. The history of women in the workplace is just so fascinating and no enough people know enough about it to see how awful it was (and often still is!) for women when they first joined the workforce.

Los insólitos peces gato (The Amazing Catfish), 2014 (dir. Claudia Sainte-Luce)


Another great movie about family and friendship. In this case, it’s about a single mother with four kids (of various fathers), who meets an orphan while the two are at the hospital and basically adopts her (mostly emotionally). It’s great to watch the family expand and the love grow between all the characters. Also of note: there’s only one grown man in the entire film (an elderly security guard). The only other man in the movie is a little boy. It’s so refreshing to see a movie that is all women, actually being women. There’s one scene where they all sit down to eat dinner and it’s so chaotic and so real and I just feel like scenes like that of true domesticity aren’t often seen in films. Check this one out if it plays near you!

Sweetie, 1989 (dir. Jane Campion)


Criterion had this streaming for free on Hulu, so I finally watched it. This is a tough black comedy (at least, I think it’s supposed to be a comedy) about two truly fucked up sisters (for different reasons) and their relationships with various men (a boyfriend, their father, a “producer”), and eventually a reconciliation with their mother. This was Jane Campion feature film debut and what a way to start! It’s real tough to watch for the subject matter and the uncompromising performances Campion gets out of her performers, but it’s also filled with such beautiful shots (because, duh, it’s a Jane Campion film!). Highly recommend this for anyone who likes fucked up family films.

Picnic at Hanging Rock, 1975 (dir. Peter Weir)


I also watched Weir’s Fearless this month, which I also recommend. This film  was also available free on Hulu this weekend. What a strange film. I read a bit about the source novel and I guess it’s just as confusing as the film (though there was a chapter that explained things that got excised by the editor). A very Australian film, from what I read, the novel has a lot to say about colonized Australia vs. Aboriginal Australia. All I know is, this movie freaked me the fuck out.

So that was June. I’ll probably get behind in July too (gotta go to Comic Con for work!), but I have big plans to see several 2014 releases throughout the month, as well as a handful of films I borrowed from Warner Archive Collection. If you keep watching the movies, I’ll keep watching the movies, deal?

About Marya E. Gates

Cinephile to the max.

Posted on July 1, 2014, in 2014 in Films and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. tracersmichelle

    I am an aspiring film historian currently based in Australia and light years behind you in knowledge but I enjoy your posts and would be happy to help out during busy times if you’d like an occasional guest blog. Happy belated birthday!

  2. Happy belated birthday!

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