By Lily Morris, First Year, Religion & Theology
In an industry dominated by men, a female director is a rare sight. However, there are still a plethora of wonderful films out there which have been directed by women, and today I’ll be sharing some of the ones I like best.
Waitress (2007), directed by Adrienne Shelly
The original film that inspired the Broadway musical, Waitress follows Jenna (keri Russell) who gets pregnant with her abusive husband’s baby. Too scared to divorce him, Jenna keeps the baby a secret and plans on running away, but in the meantime begins an affair with her gynaecologist who shows her how to be happy for the first time in years.
Waitress definitely has its own unique style - whilst being set in reality, fantastical elements are scattered throughout it giving the film a wholly whimsical atmosphere. Adrienne Shelly balanced humour, drama and quirkiness perfectly so that Waitress was not only hilarious but also deeply moving. Unfortunately, Adrienne Shelly did not live to see the success of this film, but she has left an amazing legacy in this movie’s critical acclaim and message of empowerment.
Selma (2014), directed by Ava DuVernay
Selma depicts the voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery led by Martin Luther King in 1965. Everything about this film was absolutely spot on - the camera angles, the colour scheme, the screenwriting… I genuinely could not find a single flaw. There were a lot of characters in this film, and therefore multiple storylines were embedded in the plot. But somehow, I cared for each and every one of those people. It’s definitely one of my top 10 favourite films of all time. Ava DuVernay should be so proud of herself for creating such a moving masterpiece.
The Farewell (2019), directed by Lulu Wang
The Farewell follows a Chinese-American family who learns that their grandmother has terminal cancer. Out of compassion and tradition, they choose not to tell her despite the passionate protests from the protagonist, Billi (Awkwafina).
The Farewell is perfect for people who are seeking a character-driven film. The plot is not very action-packed at all, but the focus on the experiences of the family members makes for a heartfelt and relatable film. The story was actually based on the real-life experience of director and writer, Lulu Wang. I feel that this added a lot of depth and ‘realness’ to the movie which made it very emotional to watch.
An Education (2009), directed by Lone Scherfig
An Education follows Jenny (Carey Mulligan), a 1960s schoolgirl who has big dreams of attending Oxford University. That is until she meets David (Peter Sarsgaard), an older man whose life seems to be enriched by culture. Jenny is in awe of David and the two of them quickly begin an illicit relationship.
This film evoked two conflicting feelings within me - mesmerisation and discomfort. I partially wanted to be in Jenny’s shoes, as she wore beautiful dresses and received expensive gifts, but at the same time, David’s older age and smooth-talking ways left me with an underlying feeling of repulsion. Lone Scherfig was good at creating this air of mystery around David and I was constantly wondering what his motivation was. I think this is a key reason as to why the film was so good - the viewer is asking questions that they’re waiting for the film to answer.
Featured: Night and Day Pictures, Paramount Pictures, IMDb
What film would you add to this list?