14 Recently-Released, Critically-Acclaimed Movies Directed By Women That You Can Watch Right Now

by Erika W. Smith


This past weekend, I attended Athena Film Fest, a weekend-long film festival at Barnard College in New York celebrating women in film. 88% of the movies featured were directed by women — which is remarakble because only 8% of the top 100 highest-grossing movies made in 2017 were directed by women. If you missed the festival or don’t live locally, many of the films shown at the festival are available to watch on streaming services, and a few are still in theaters — so you can still catch some of the movies that were celebrated. 

1. Battle of the Sexes (2017)

Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris co-directed this 2017 biopic about Billie Jean King, played by Emma Stone. Watch it on Amazon.

2. Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (2017)

Alexandra Dean’s documentary about Hedy Lamarr — the 1940s movie star who was also a brilliant inventor whose discoveries led to the creation of WiFi — is playing in select theaters through May. See if it’s showing near you.

3. Dalya’s Other Country (2017)

Director Julia Meltzer follows 12-year-old Dayla and her mother as they leave Aleppo, Syria to join Dayla’s brother in Los Angeles — and have to learn to navigate their new life. Watch it on PBS.

4. Fanny’s Journey (2016)

French filmmaker Lola Doillon directs this drama about a 13-year-old French Jewish girl who is sent to a “safe haven” school in Italy, and then escapes with other children to Switzerland, during WWII. Watch it on Netflix.

 5. I Am Not A Witch (2017)

First time director Rungano Nyoni’s movie follows an an eight-year-old Zambian orphan named Shula who is imprisoned in a witch camp. Watch it on Amazon.

6. Lady Bird (2017)

With her solo directorial debut, Greta Gerwig became the fifth woman to ever be nominated for the Best Director Oscar — if she wins this weekend, she’ll be the second woman to win. Watch it in theaters or on Amazon Video.

7. Mankiller (2017)

Valerie Red-Horse Mohl directs this documentary about the life of Wilma Mankiller, the first woman elected as the chief of Cherokee Nation and a prominent community organizer, activist and feminist. Watch it on PBS or elsewhere; see a full list of air dates here.

8. Megan Leavey (2017)

Kate Mara stars as real-life soldier Megan Leavey in this story of a young woman’s fight to save her combat dog. Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite. Watch it on Amazon, YouTube Movies, or iTunes.

9. Miss Sharon Jones! (2015)

Barbara Kopple directed this documentary about late soul singer Sharon Jones’ battle with cancer and her rising career. Watch it on Netflix.

10. The Breadwinner (2017)

Nora Twomey directs this animated story about a young girl living under the Taliban in Afghanistan who disguises herself as a boy so she can make money for her family after her father is unjustly imprisoned. It’s up for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars. Watch it on Google Play.

11. The Divine Order (2017)

Petra Biondina Volpe directs this movie about a young Swiss housewife who fights for women’s right to vote — a right Swiss women didn’t get until 1971.
Watch on Google Play or YouTube Movies.

12. The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017)

Niki Caro directs this biopic about Antonia Zabinski, a Polish zookeeper’s wife who helped Jewish people escape Warsaw during WWII — by hiding them in her zoo.
Watch it on Amazon or iTunes.

13. Their Finest (2017)

Lone Scherfig directs this British dramedy about a British Ministry of Information film team making a propaganda film about the Dunkirk evacuation. Watch it on HuluAmazon, or YouTube Movies.

14. Wonder Woman  (2017)

Patty Jenkins became the first woman to direct a superhero movie with this box office hit. Watch it on HBO, Amazon, YouTube Movies, or iTunes.

 And coming soon:

I Am Evidence (2017)

Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir direct this documentary following actress and activist Mariska Hargitay as she investigates a backlog of untested rape kits, focusing on four women whose kits went untested. Watch it on HBO beginning April 16.

top photo: Their Finest

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