It may have come as a surprise to much of the world that the man behind many of the important films of the last 20 years is an alleged sexual predator. But to those in Hollywood, it was just a little-known fact. Within the past two weeks, numerous women have come forward with allegations of assault at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, emphasizing a deep-rooted problem in Hollywood.
Meanwhile, female directors are still fighting to make their visions known. Although it’s largely a white man’s game, a growing number of women have been staking their claim and making their creative mark; it’s time they get the respect they have earned.
From sports movies to biopics to period pieces, these are some of our favorite movies by and about women.
Directed by Barbra Streisand
Having already established herself as a singer and actress, Barbra Streisand took to her first role behind the camera with Yentl. Also portraying the titular character, Streisand gave a stellar performance as a young Jewish woman who disguised herself as a boy to undergo religious training.
A League of Their Own
Directed by Penny Marshall
One of the most beloved films of our time featured a strong female ensemble, as well as a woman behind the camera. Penny Marshall’s A League of Their Own was inspired by the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, a group of women who kept the sport going while men served in World War II.
I Shot Andy Warhol
Directed by Mary Harron
One of the more radical feminists in recent history was portrayed in Mary Harron’s I Shot Andy Warhol. The film followed Valerie Solanas (Lili Taylor) on her New York journey from aspiring writer to sex worker to attempted assassin of Andy Warhol, before writing her feminist classic, SCUM Manifesto.
Directed by Julie Taymor
Taymor brought the legendary artist’s life to the big screen with this visually striking biopic. Starring Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo, the film covered her tempestuous love affair with Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina) and the eccentric personality that sealed her legend.
Directed by Patty Jenkins
The notorious serial killer, Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron) was immortalized by director Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman). Working as a prostitute, she kills a customer in self defense, which turns into a series of murders that became her downfall.
The Secret Life of Bees
Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood
After facing abuse from her father, Lily (Dakota Fanning) runs away with her friend and caregiver, Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson) to a town in South Carolina, hoping to learn about her mother’s past. There, she finds a sisterhood with the Boatwright sisters (Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo) who teach her about beekeeping.
Directed by Drew Barrymore
In Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, Ellen Page plays Bliss, a Texas teenager pressured into the world of pageantry by her mother (Marcia Gay Harden). But after meeting a roller derby team, the Hurl Scouts, she discovers a group of friends and where her true passion lies.
Directed by Debra Granik
Jennifer Lawrence’s breakout role was Ree in this gripping drama. With an absentee mother and a criminal father, the Ozark teenager is left on her own to care for her younger siblings. When she learns her father put their home up for bond, she sets out to track him down before they’re left homeless.
Directed by Dee Rees
Director Dee Rees tells the story of Bessie Smith, an American blues legend of the ’30s. Queen Latifah portrays the singer during her rise to the “Empress of the Blues.”
Directed by Sofia Coppola
Coppola’s most recent film utilizes a powerful female ensemble to tell a gripping story of female rivalry. When a Union soldier (Colin Farrell) is injured, he seeks refuge at an all-girls boarding school. But sexual tensions lead to dangerous rivalries among the young women.