Best Movies Directed by Women – Everything You Need to Know

Women Directors are not only important to ensure the representation of women in movies. It is to also to reaffirm the fact that women are amazing storytellers as well. Over the years, women auteurs have not only helmed great “women-centric” films, but have also aced several different genres of movies.

The fact that Matrix is the first movie on this list only goes on to prove that women directors are here to stay and rule. Let’s have a look at the fantastic movies directed by women.

1. The Matrix (1999)

A man named Thomas Anderson (also known as Neo) lives an ordinary life in the year 1999. He sits alone at home by his monitor, a software techie by day and a computer hacker by night, waiting for an indication, a signal – from what or whom he doesn’t know – until one night, a mysterious lady named Trinity seeks him out and introduces him to Morpheus, the faceless character he has been waiting for. Morpheus, a sort of savior, reveals the truth about Neo’s planet by revealing the dark secrets that have plagued him for a while.

Director: Lana Wachowski Lilly Wachowski

Language: English

Genre: Action and Sci-Fi

Main Cast: 

  • Keanu Reeves
  • Laurence Fishburne
  • Carrie-Anne Moss
  • Hugo Weaving

IMDb Rating: 8.7

Running Time: 136 minutes

Box Office: $466,364,845

Movie Trailer: The Matrix (1999) – Movie Trailer

Streaming Platform: Amazon

2. For Sama (2019)

The movie follows the story of Waad al-life Kateab’s during the uprising in Aleppo, Syria, as she falls in love, marries, and gives birth to her daughter Sama, all while cataclysmic conflict erupts around her. Waad wrestles with an impossible choice: whether or not to flee the city to protect her daughter’s life, even if doing so means abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already given so much.

Director: Waad Al-Kateab andEdward Watts

Language: Arabic and English

Genre: Documentary and War

Main Cast: 

  • Hamza Al-Kateab
  • Sama Al-Kateab
  • Waad Al-Kateab

IMDb Rating: 8.5

Running Time: 100 minutes

Box Office: $1,397,546

Movie Trailer: FOR SAMA (2019) – Movie Trailer

Streaming Platform: Amazon

3. Capernaum (2018)

The tale of Zain, a Lebanese boy who sues his parents for the “crime” of giving him life, is told in Capernaum. The film follows Zain as he grows from a brave, streetwise child to a hardened 12-year-old “adult” fleeing his neglectful parents and surviving on the streets, where he meets Ethiopian migrant worker Rahil, who provides him with shelter and food in exchange for Zain looking after her baby son Yonas. Zain is later imprisoned for a violent crime, and he seeks justice in a courtroom.

Director: Nadine Labaki

Language: Arabic and Amharic

Genre: Drama

Main Cast: 

  • Zain Al Rafeea
  • Yordanos Shiferaw
  • Boluwatife Bankole
  • Kawthar Al Haddad

IMDb Rating: 8.4

Running Time: 126 minutes

Box Office: $64,417,003

Movie Trailer: Capernaum (2018) – Movie Trailer

Streaming Platform: Amazon

4. Wavemakers (2012)

The Ondes Martenot have captivated audiences and inspired legions of musicians since their triumphant debut at the Paris Opera in 1928. This rare and fragile electronic instrument was invented by musician and educator Maurice Martenot and has been featured in popular and classical music—from the first film soundtracks to Hollywood classics, science-fiction TV series, and the works of Olivier Messiaen, Edith Piaf, and the rock band Radiohead. The Martenot is so sensitive that musicians, artisans, and scientists are still trying to decipher its secrets nearly a century after it was invented.

Director: Caroline Martel

Language: French

Genre: Documentary

Main Cast: 

  • Suzanne Binet-Audet 
  • Jean-Loup Dierstein
  • Jonny Greenwood

IMDb Rating: 8.4

Running Time: 96 minutes

Movie Trailer: Wavemakers (2012) – Movie Trailer

Streaming Platform: Amazon

5. The Revolution Will Not be Televised (2003)

Two documentary filmmakers on assignment in Venezuela find themselves in the midst of a political coup d’état that overthrows President Hugo Chavez’s government. Chavez has been a divisive figure since taking office, as popular with the poor as he is despised by the wealthy. The privatized media covering the events substituted propaganda for fact, falsely reporting that Chavez had ordered the execution of his critics days before, forcing him to resign. During the coup, the filmmakers are trapped within the tension and drama of the Presidential Palace, and they show a very different picture as Chavez and other officials are kidnapped at gunpoint.

Director: Kim Bartley and Donnacha Ó Briain

Language: English and Spanish

Genre: Documentary

Main Cast: 

  • Hugo Chávez
  • Pedro Carmona
  • Jesse Helms
  • Colin Powell

IMDb Rating: 8.3

Running Time: 74 minutes

Box Office: $200,000

Movie Trailer: ‘THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED (2003) – Movie Trailer

 

  • Harlan County USA (1976)

The coal miners’ strike against the Eastover Mining Company’s Brookside Mine in Harlan County, Kentucky in June 1973 is documented in this film. Eastover’s refusal to sign a contract sparked a year-long strike that included violent clashes between gun-toting company thugs/scabs and picketing miners and their female supporters.

Director: Barbara Kopple

Language: English

Genre: Documentary

Main Cast: 

  • John L. Lewis
  • Carl Horn 
  • Norman Yarborough

IMDb Rating: 8.3

Running Time: 103 minutes

Movie Trailer: Harlan County USA (1976) – Movie Trailer

Streaming Platform: Amazon

  • The Ascent (1977)

Two pro-Soviet partisans, Sotnikov and Rybak, set out to find food for themselves and their compatriots during a bitterly cold World War II winter. They find a sheep at a German Headman’s house, but their journey back to camp is cut short when they are apprehended by a Nazi patrol. Despite physical abuse and torture, Sotnikov remains true to his beliefs and refuses to answer any questions. Rybak, on the other hand, believes that because they do not even know anything, they should just tell everyone what they do know and do whatever they can to stay alive. One of them will survive, but at a high price.

Director: Larisa Shepitko

Language: Russian and German

Genre: Drama and War

Main Cast: 

  • Boris Plotnikov
  • Vladimir Gostyukhin
  • Sergei Yakovlev
  • Lyudmila Polyakova

IMDb Rating: 8.3

Running Time: 111 minutes

Movie Trailer: The Ascent (1977) – Movie Trailer

Streaming Platform: Netflix

  • 13TH (2016)

Director: Ava DuVernay

Language: English

Genre: Documentary, Crime and History

Main Cast: 

  • Melina Abdullah
  • Michelle Alexander
  • Cory Booker

IMDb Rating: 8.2

Running Time: 100 minutes

Box Office: $566

Movie Trailer: 13TH (2016) – Movie Trailer

Streaming Platform: Netflix

  • FREE SOLO (2018)

The film spends some time documenting its own production process, with director Jimmy Chin and his camera crew discussing the challenge of not distracting or pressuring climber Alex Honnold to attempt the climb at all. This was solved with a lot of practice, according to director Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi. The filmmakers created a special recording device and had Honnold carry it inside his chalk bag to record sound from Honnold, who was often too far away from the cameras to use a wireless microphone.

Director: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi  and Jimmy Chin

Language: English

Genre: Documentary, Adventure and Sport

Main Cast:

  • Alex Honnold
  • Sanni McCandless
  • Jimmy Chin
  • Tommy Caldwell

IMDb Rating: 8.2

Running Time: 100 minutes

Box Office: $29,390,279

Movie Trailer: Free Solo (2018) – Movie Trailer

Streaming Platform: Amazon

  •  Paris Is Burning (1990)

A documentary about the LGBT scene in New York in the 1980s, depicting the real lives of poor Black and Latin LGBT people, introducing ballrooms, categories, houses, voguing, and the dreams and ambitions of these people who are systematically excluded from society, fighting to conquer the right to be and reinvent themselves in a world dominated by straights and white people. They use the balls to showcase their creativity, have a good time with their friends and family, shine, and have their names known in the ballroom scene.

Director: Jennie Livingston

Language: English

Genre: Documentary

Main Cast:

  • Dorian Corey
  • Pepper LaBeija
  • Venus Xtravaganza
  • Octavia St. Laurent

IMDb Rating: 8.2

Running Time: 78 minutes

Box Office: $3,905,297

Movie Trailer: Paris is Burning (1990) – Movie Trailer

Contact

Student Grad Writers Room

Student Grad Writers Room Nashville Film Institute Program Director, Michael Tabb, is heading up an entirely new initiative for NFI graduates and current students in

Read More »