Female directors are often a rare sight but when women are behind the camera, the stories that are told can be truly unique. Typically, women have been chosen to direct comedies or something that female audiences would be interested in and while that is perfectly fine, there are some movies that have certainly come out that have taken movie-goers by surprise. In honor of Women’s History Month let’s give a special mention to five female directors who have made films that are not only impressive movies but surely make a statement in regarding what a woman can make when she’s behind the camera.
Monster – Patty Jenkins
Before she brought Wonder Woman to the big screen, Patty Jenkins made her feature debut with Monster; a gripping and intense look at the life of Aileen Wuornos and her semi-fictionalized female lover (played by Christina Ricci). Charlize Theron plays the infamous serial killer who murdered seven “johns” while she was working as a prostitute. While the film does examine the crimes committed, the movie is focused on the fractured life of Aileen and how she ultimately became what history will remember her for. Theron won the Academy Award for Best Actress and her performance is easily the most defining one of her career; plus, she became the first South African actress to win such an award too. Patty Jenkins wrote and directed the film which is still one of the best movies retracing the life of a serial killer. Charlize Theron is commanding in her performance and the make-up in the movie makes her eerily similar to the real-life murderer. It’s a chilling movie but one heck of a ride!
Big – Penny Marshall
A movie about a young boy who wishes to become big actually has his wish come true and overnight he turns into a thirty-year old man! Tom Hanks played the adult Josh and his performance reminds us what it was like to be a child once long ago. Penny Mashall’s sweet and funny take on this story is a movie that everyone can appreciate, especially the older folks who can recall their youth. What makes this movie so special is the wonderful script, the charming actors and it reminds the audience that sometimes adulthood can take over making us forget what it was like when times were much similar. It’s a great movie for all ages and one that ranks high in terms of comedy and a coming-of-age story.
American Psycho – Mary Harron
Have you ever wondered to yourself that something is not right with you? Well, Patrick Bateman not only thinks it but he’s sure of it! Based on the 1991 novel of the same name, American Psycho is not only a controversial book and film, but is an incredible movie to witness. Christian Bale plays Bateman (the one performance he was not nominated for) with such flair and sheer arrogance that his performance alone is reason enough to watch this funny albeit violence tale. Mary Harron co-wrote the picture along with Guinevere Turner (who has a minor role in the film) and together their script is witty, funny and incredibly entertaining to watch. This isn’t a slasher movie at all mind you. This is a film where we are witnessing a personality being brought to life before our eyes and Christian Bale is simply stunning in his performance. Bret Easton Ellis (the author of the book) had a mixed reaction to the film as he felt the book needn’t be made into a film, but felt that the movie was okay for what it was. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for something truly unique, American Psycho will certainly suffice.
Revenge – Coralie Fargeat
Anyone recall that iconic I Spit on your Grave movie? Well, this is that but so much more. French director Coralie Fargeat makes her feature film debut with Revenge, a gruesome, violent and gory tale of a young woman taking revenge on the men who literally left her for dead. With spectacular visuals, a simple script and more than enough gore to satisfy any horror fan, Revenge is certainly not for the faint of heart. It’s quite a surprise that a woman would make a movie like this in which Fargeat wrote and directed and the result is one of the best horror films that was released in 2017. The violence is intense and brutal even as we are rooting for the girl to exact her revenge and with how this movie turned out, I surely look forward to seeing what Fargeat has in store for future projects. She’s a director to keep an eye out for.
The Hurt Locker – Kathryn Bigelow
War comes in many forms but nothing quite like the experiences of following an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team seeking out IEDs unaware of the dangers that are all around them. This gripping and highly intense film showcases some of the best work from Jeremy Renner and his character’s obsession with his job. This movie isn’t about gunfights or heavily armed combat. This shows us the paranoia and constant threat from insurgents that we ourselves aren’t sure who they are. Kathryn Bigelow crafts a hyper-intense film that keeps us literally on the edge of our seats. She became the first female director to win the Academy Award for Best Director, a title that she only shares even to this day. The Hurt Locker is one of the best war films of the 21st century and Kathryn Bigelow is the one that designed this masterpiece to be as hard-hitting as possible. It will leave you breathless.