To help people with their 52 Films By Women challenge this year I thought I’d put together a list of some of my favorite films directed by women that are easily accessible on Netflix and Amazon Prime. Keep in mind that this is in no way all of the films directed by women available on these services, but rather a selection of films I have seen and enjoy. There are also many more films available to rent on Amazon Video as well. Think of this as a jumping off point! Also if you have not taken the 52 Films By Women pledge yet you can do so here.
In 2017 I saw 72 new releases, which I believe was a record number for me. This year I saw 117! I attribute this to several of this year’s new releases being Netflix films (so convenient, if not ideal) and MoviePass. Yes, MoviePass. I saw a few things I may have skipped in previous years because of MoviePass. For awhile I could watch one film a day via MoviePass and then see a second one that I paid for. This led to a lot more double features at the Midtown Art Cinema than in pervious years. Also last year I saw 32 new releases that were directed by women. This year I saw 59 new release films directed by women (170 in total, but I’ll write more about that in tomorrow’s end of the year post), which is half of the new release films I saw this year. I plan to at least keep up that ratio next year, if not do better. You can see all the new release (and festival) films I watched in 2018 and how I ranked them here. After the cut you’ll find my Favorite Fifteen Films, and as always I remind you that this is subjective and in no way should be considered a “best” list.
This summer seems to have really gone by in a flash (and a whole lot of rain here in Atlanta!) I Somehow missed the handful of blockbuster films I actually wanted to see this summer, mostly because I was busy watching all the great documentaries (and I didn’t even get to all of those that I wanted to see). It seems MoviePass may be floundering, but I’ve used it to see sooo many new releases (mostly indie, foreign, docs) so even if it goes under I think I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of it. I watched more movies in theaters in July than I did streaming, which I think is probably a good thing. As always, the whole list and a few of my favorites can be found after the cut.
Lately I’ve become more and more frustrated with the various “best ever” lists that have been released because they rarely feature films by women, or if they do it’s usually one or two films. I think this is more a reflection of those who are polled for these kinds of lists, as well as a compounding of history on itself. For so long films by men have made up the bulk of the film canon and I think people are afraid to add new films to these revered lists. I also think many people haven’t seen very many films by women, or if they have it’s always the same handful of films. In an attempt to create a better, more inclusive list of great films by women, I polled over 500 critics, filmmakers, bloggers, historians, professors and casual film viewers, asking them to tell me what films directed (or co-directed) by women are essential viewing. Some people only responded with as little as five votes, others submitted hundreds of films. In the end, I received over 7,000 votes for 1,100+ different films. After tallying up this data, with ties factored in, I then had a list of 103 essential films directed by women.
I remember when I first saw this film last fall it was just after Noirvember (wherein I watched about 40 or so film noir classics) and I could feel how Winter’s Bone was akin to those great thrillers. I watched it one evening and wouldn’t even stop for dinner because I couldn’t bear to pause it. It went places I never expected and kept up its tense mood throughout. I really wish I had been able to see it in theaters; the tension probably would have killed me. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, though it didn’t win any: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor John Hawkes, Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence and Best Picture. The film was also nominated for seven Independent Spirit Awards, winning two: Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Female Dale Dickey (won), Best Supporting Male John Hawkes (won), Best Female Lead Jennifer Lawrence, Best Director and Best Film. The film won and/or was nominated for so many critic awards last year I’m just going to send you to the Wikipedia page with all that information. In case you’ve already forgotten, the other films nominated for Best Picture last year were 127 Hours, Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit and winner The King’s Speech.