My Top 10 Female Led Movies Directed & Written by Amazing Women

It’s in the reach of my arms, the span of my hips, the stride of my step, the curl of my lips.
I’m a woman. Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman.
That’s me.

– Maya Angelou

The international Women’s Day is right around the corner, it’s tomorrow to be exact. It’s a day where women are celebrated. We should be celebrated, like everyone else, all year around but anyway… There’s a day that focuses especially on celebrating women. This year the theme of the day is “an equal world is an enabled world”. In Hollywood, the world equal has a strong meaning but mostly from a negative perspective. The conversation, as it has been for decades, has been about Hollywood not being equal: not to women, not to LGBTQ+ communities, not to people of colour. It’s sadly a conversation we will probably have for many years to come.

But as the theme for the international Women’s Day of 2020 is about equality, and the hope of a brighter future, I’d like to do just that. Look into the future. So instead of trying to focus on the negative, the lack of representation in the mainstream cinema, I’d like to look at the good. The improvements, the signs of hope. I’d like to focus on the positive today so it would be easier to feel more optimistic about what’s to come.

That in mind, I’m here to list 10 of my favourite female led movies. Movies that celebrate girl power and female friendship. I’m only listing movies that are directed by women and written by women! So sadly, I won’t be able to include Wonder Woman… as it was written my a man. Even though, it’s one badass girl power movie!

Honourable mentions: Rough Night (2017), Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020), Lost in Translation (2003), Captain Marvel (2018), Bend It Like Beckham (2002), Monster (2003), Late Night (2019). / And yes, I have not seen The Farewell (2019) yet but I’m certain it would be in this list and even higher!

PS: I know I talked about equality before so I’d like to apologise that this list isn’t very diverse. I looked at my highest rated movies and then tried to fit them into the category I had set myself. Turns out, I limited myself into quite a non-diverse box. It makes me sad and disappointed at myself but I didn’t want to not shout out these great movies because of this. I’ll just know to set a better example in the future.

10. LITTLE WOMEN (2019)

Leads: Eliza Scanlen, Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson and Florence Pugh as the March sisters

Director / writer: Greta Gerwig

9. WHIP IT (2009)

Leads: Ellen Page as Bliss Cavendar, Drew Barrymore as Smashley Simpson, Kristen Wiig as Maggie Mayhem

Director: Drew Barrymore

Writer: Shauna Cross (adapted her own novel)

8. FISH TANK (2009)

Lead: Katie Jarvis as Mia

Director / writer: Andrea Arnold

7. THIRTEEN (2003)

Leads: Evan Rachel Wood as Tracy Freeland, Nikki Reed as Evie Zamora and Holly Hunter as Melanie Freeland

Director: Catherine Hardwicke

Writers: Catherine Hardwicke & Nikki Reed

6. HUSTLERS (2019)

Leads: Constance Wu as Destiny, Jennifer Lopez as Ramona and a whole lot of other awesome ladies!

Director / writer: Lorene Scafaria

Adaptation from a New York Magazine article by Jessica Pressler

5. BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY (2001)

Lead: Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones

Director: Sharon Maguire

Writer: Helen Fielding (adapted her own novel)

4. BOOKSMART (2019)

Leads: Kaitlyn Dever as Amy, Beanie Feldstein as Molly and Billie Lourd as Gigi

Director: Olivia Wilde

Writers: Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel and Katie Silberman

3. CLUELESS (1995)

Leads: Alicia Silverstone as Cher, Stacey Dash as Dionne and Brittany Muprhy as Tai

Director / writer: Amy Heckerling

2. LAGGIES (2014)

Leads: Keira Knightley as Megan and Chloë Grace Moretz as Annika

Director: Lynn Shelton

Writer: Andrea Seigel

1. LADY BIRD (2017)

Lead: Saoirse Ronan as Lady Bird

Director / writer: Greta Gerwig

PS: Happy Women’s Day to all my amazing female friends here on the blogosphere! You rock, you rule, you run the world! 

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25 Comments

    1. I know! When I was making this list I was like, this has to be in here, because it’s just iconic in its own right. I would have put Wonder Woman first but hey, didn’t fit into this theme within the theme I created. 🙁

    1. Thank you so much! There are a lot of wonderful movies made by women and I’m sure I haven’t seen many of them! 🙂

  1. Nice picks! This list is pretty much perfect. I hope you get a chance to The Farewell, it’s a lovely film. It’s wonderful that you followed the theme of female director and writers’ films starring women too. One of my unplanned movie challenges for the year is to watch more movies directed by women, and gives me inspiration to keep going. Happy International Women’s Day!

  2. Only seen half of the top 10 and realizing I haven’t seen enough films directed by women, but love seeing Booksmart and a bunch of these films on this list! I’ve been meaning to check out Thirteen for awhile though, so thanks for reminding me of that one! 🙂

    1. Oh, there is always a sort of surprise like, omg, I’ve not seen that many female directed movies but I try to fix that.

  3. Excellent choices. I loved Laggies… it feels like such an underrated gem. I finally watched Lady Bird and Booksmart too and they were so fantastic. And of course, Bridget Jones’s Diary is a classic. Is it okay to call it a classic now??

    1. It is an underrated gem, I mean, anything with Sam Rockwell could be a gem but this one is just.. perfect. 😀

  4. Great list!! I LOVE Gerwig’s Little Women, there are a few here I haven’t seen. I’d have included BELLE and You’ve Got Mail if I were to do the same list… what a great idea!

    1. I thought about it but a) it lists Robert de Niro as the lead. and b) I didn’t really like it, it’s not my favourite Nancy Meyers movie. 😛

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