I always preface these end of year lists with a disclaimer. I don’t see everything. I don’t subscribe to everything and I don’t go out to the theater weekly. Nobody is telling me what to see or paying me to go see things. I’m just watching what looks good to me. So, with that said, let me talk about 12 great films I saw in 2017 that were directed by women.
Not all the films were released in 2017. But I saw them all in 2017. My blog, my rules, okay? There’s no order to my selections other than I started at the beginning of 2017 and worked my way through to the end of the year.
The Innocents, directed by Anne Fontaine, is about a group of Polish nuns in World War II. Many of them are pregnant due to rapes. A French doctor (Lou de Laâge) is asked to help them.
Divines, directed by Houda Benyamina, is about two teens who run wild on the Paris streets. It’s electrifying and dangerous. It’s about love and friendship.
A United Kingdom
A United Kingdom, directed by Amma Asante, tells the true story of an African prince and his English bride. It’s both a love story and a look at systemic racism.
The Zookeeper’s Wife
The Zookeeper’s Wife, directed by Niki Caro, was based on a true story about the zookeeper and his wife from the Warsaw Zoo who smuggled Jews to safety during World War II.
American Honey, directed by Andrea Arnold, tells the story of a group of cast off teenagers who travel the country selling magazine subscriptions. It starred an incredible unknown named Sasha Lane.
Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, changed the landscape for women directors. It changed what they are given to do and how much money they can make doing it. It should be at the top of every list for 2017 films that have anything to do with women and equality.
Maudie, directed by Aisling Walsh, is the story of a real Canadian folk artist. It was beautifully colored with paint and featured a brilliant performance from Sally Hawkins as the artist afflicted by arthritis.
First They Killed My Father
First They Killed My Father, directed by Angelina Jolie, is based on a true story about a child’s journey and survival during the time of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, directed by Angela Robinson, is a fictionalized version of how William Marston and the two women who loved him (and each other) created the comic book character Wonder Woman.
Strange Weather, directed by Katherine Dieckmann, is about how a mother deals with grief over a lost child. It’s also about the value of female friendships.
Mudbound, directed by Dee Rees, should be a top contenders for best movie of 2017 on every list, not just my list. It’s about two soldiers who return to the Jim Crow south after serving in World War II. One man is black, one is white. Their friendship unites them in a hostile world.
Lady Bird, directed by Greta Gerwig, is another film that should be in contention for top honors in 2017 on anyone’s list. It’s about a teen coming of age in the California suburbs, her relationship with her mother, and her desire to escape.
In many ways 2017 has been a terrible year. But if you look at the creative efforts of women to make the world a better place through storytelling you can be cheered. And 2018 looks promising, too.
I reviewed other films by women that I didn’t include in my top dozen. You can scroll through them here if you’re interested.