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Favorite Movies Directed by Women

Not a lot of women enter the directing industry. This is evident through the numerous films we see, and yet only a handful of them are directed by women. Among these few, only certain people are very well-known or acclaimed publicly, like Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow. I’m not sure about you, but a few of my favorite movies are directed by women. Granted it’s a short list, but I enjoyed these films and recommend that you see them (if you haven’t!). What are your favorite films directed by women?

Broken English, Zoe Cassavetes (2007)
Set in New York, and later on in Paris, Broken English tells the story of a lost adult finding a second chance in life when she crosses path with a Frenchman. I fell in love with Parker Posey and Melvil Poupard's performances and they made the story work. I found myself silently cheering for them. While a few plot points seem out of the movie's scope, I think the more important factor is what Posey's character was trying to represent, and how her personal dilemma seems to be familiar with women. It's one of those romance films that you get taken away with, and it leaves you wanting to see more about where they're going. Read my review here.

The Kids are All Right, Lisa Cholodenko (2010)
A recent Oscar contender, it features great performances by Annette Benning, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo, as well as Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson. It's only recently that the unconventional family setting story arc has become widely received (at least in television or movies), and this is one good work from the director. It's not really about the unconventionality of things, but rather when a big factor (their children's father) enters the picture and starts to disrupt their once peaceful lives. 

My Life Without Me, Isabel Coixet (2003)
I remember watching this in class when I was in high school and I was taken by it. It was one of those moments when I realized that there was more to film than the usual blockbusters plastered all over cinemas. It’s a great story, with solid acting from Sarah Polley and Mark Ruffalo. 

Lost in Translation, Sofia Coppola (2003)
The only Coppola film I like so far. It’s set in beautiful Japan, and features a tale between two lost souls finding solstice with each other. The last scene, when they said they final goodbyes, was very well played out. 

You've Got Mail, Nora Ephron (1998)
I know this is a remake of The Shop Around the Corner (and some may view it inferior to their previous collaboration), but it's one of my favorite Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks movies. It pegs off two people who clearly dislike each other, but has much more in common than they think. It's a cute (to use a word) movie. 

Little Miss Sunshine, Valerie Faris (2006)
I don’t think I could describe my love for this film. It’s entertaining, and well-written, not to mention the performances. I loved Paul Dano’s character, even when he was silent for most of it. Then there’s Steve Carell, Alan Arkin and Toni Collette, who gave good performances. It has a lot of heart, and even if they're all going through their personal crisis, they all decided to support the youngest of the brood, the only person who has a positive outlook in the family. 

American Psycho, Mary Harron (2000)
Brett Easton Ellis mentioned that American Psycho could not be translated onscreen. I may not have read the novel, but this one is an eye-opener. You get Christian Bale in one of his best performances, and Harron manages to bring out the gore of it all in a “tasteful” setting. Read my review here.

Sunshine Cleaning, Christine Jeffs (2008)
This is an underrated film featuring one of Amy Adam’s darker roles. You get two incredible actresses in a movie about living using the dead. It’s unconventional, and it’s entertaining. If you’re planning to have an Amy Adams movie marathon, this definitely should not be skipped.


  1. Great list! I haven't seen Broken English or My Life Without Me, but there's some great films on this list. I loved Sunshine Cleaning, that movie is definitely underrated.

    1. Sunshine Cleaning is definitely underrated, loved Amy Adams and Emily Blunt in it!

  2. Coppola is probably my favorite, for 'Lost in Translation' alone, but Claire Denis is magnificent, and Maren Ade's 'Everyone Else' is also a semi-masterpiece. Granik's 'Winter's Bone' is a tad overrated for my taste, but her debut, 'Down to the Bone' was magnificent. Jane Campion should be on every list. 'The Piano' & 'Bright Star' alone warrant that. I also have a soft spot for Susanne Bier. 'Meek's Cutoff' was a huge surprise for me, so I'd throw Reichardt a bone, and although she's only made one film, Valérie Donzelli put a brilliant film together in 'Declaration of War'.

    1. Haven't seen any of what you mentioned (although I've heard of Winter's Bone and Meek's Cutoff). I have a lot to check out!

  3. I love all Sofia Coppola films. She puts so much thought in to the way her films are filmed.
    I liked Sunshine Cleaning, but I preferred Emily Blunt over Amy Adams. I've yet to see why anyone really cares for her. I've watched tons of her films and have been disappointed. The only role I really liked for her in was in On The Road, but that was a really small one.IO think she plays the sweet mousy quiet girl too often.
    I watched the Kids Are All Right in theaters with my mom. We never go to the movies together so this movie means a little more to me because of that. While we were there my mom asked me something about the film and this lady shushed her. We blankly stared at her smug face. I replied, "fuck you"! She was highly offended. I felt like Annette Bening, ha.
    "Well I need your observations like I need a dick in my ass"!

    1. I've only seen a few of Amy Adam's work and so far I didn't like her in Enchanted.

      That's nice, about watching a movie with your mom. My mom and I like different movies so it's rare that we get to see one together.

  4. This is a great topic. I love Lost in Translation, seems to be Sophia Coppola's best to me.

    Little Miss Sunshine was actually directed by Valerie Faris and her husband, I love that movie. Did you watched Ruby Sparks?

    You've Got Mail is great too. Haven't watch others you mentioned.

    1. I've seen Ruby Sparks. I found it charming, but I couldn't help but think of its similarities between Stranger than Fiction.


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