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.
Bill Murray: You’re Elliott.
Elliot: How did you know that?
Bill Murray: I’m the ghost of Christmas present. I’m here to warn you.
Elliot: Well, I’m sorry sir, I’m not in the mood.
Bill Murray: For love. The question is, are you in the mood for a lifetime of regret and loneliness?
Elliot: Please go away.
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 first saw this movie in 2010 in preparation for the release of Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere (a film that I love dearly), but I wasn’t really sold on its merit at that time. I think some of that had to do with my dislike of Scarlett Johansson (I’m warming up to her a bit these days, but I could still take her or leave her). However, with every rewatch of this film I find more things to love about it. It’s kind of a distant film, but when you warm up to it, or rather it warms up to you, you’ll find it’s a real gem. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, winning one: Best Original Screenplay (won), Best Actor Bill Murray, Best Director and Best Picture. The other films up for Best Picture that year were Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Mystic River, Seabiscuit and winner The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.