It’s Women’s History Month and you know what that means–time to watch movies made by women! Just to be clear, though, you should also watch movies made by women the rest of the year, too.
The Hurt Locker
Kathryn Bigelow is currently the only woman to ever win an Academy Award for Best Director. Probably unsurprisingly, she won for a testosterone-heavy war flick (notably, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola, and Greta Gerwig were nominated for more “feminine” movies–with meaty roles for women–and lost). While the blatant double standard is appalling, none of that takes away from the fact that The Hurt Locker is a justifiably celebrated portrayal of the horrors of war. It’s worth another watch not only for Bigelow’s genius direction, but also for the excellent acting on display. Let’s just hope that this time next month we’ll no longer be able to say the first line of this paragraph.
Mary Lambert directed this adaptation of Stephen King’s novel so well that I never want to see it again and I still have terror flashbacks from it decades later. I’m not writing any more about it, but honestly that should be enough to tell you it’s a kickass horror movie!
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Speaking of movies so horrifyingly good that they’re hard to watch… Lynne Ramsay’s examination of life as the mother of a murderous, sociopathic son fits the bill probably more than any other film. Starring the brilliant Tilda Swinton, based on a novel by Lionel Shriver, and featuring music from Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, this movie is expertly made and will haunt your dreams.
But I’m a Cheerleader
Far from horror and war we find this little movie, directed by Jamie Babbit and starring Natasha Lyonne and Clea Duvall. With a knowingly YA sensibility and a bubblegum palate, the story follows Lyonne’s Megan to a camp that practices conversion therapy, an abusive practice set in stark contrast to the fun glossiness of the movie. Subverting the concept even further, Megan arrives not believing that she’s gay–how could such a stereotypical cheerleader be?–and becomes aware of her own truth precisely because of the authority figures trying to strip her of it.
Mira Nair directed this sexy and heartbreaking tale of lust, love, and female friendship in ancient India. Though the Kama Sutra plays a big role, the actors–including Indira Varma and Naveen Andrews–are far more riveting than even the most famous erotic manual in history.
Amy Heckerling directed Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Johnny Dangerously, and Clueless, which means that I will watch anything she makes without question. But this movie stars Krysten Ritter, Alicia Silverstone, and Sigourney Weaver! Not to mention Wallace Shawn and Kristen Johnson as Dr. and Mrs. Van Helsing, and Dan Stevens as their vampire-inclusive son. Add a dash of New York City history-as-vampire-history, and it’s a fun time.