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100 Great Movies By Women Directors That You Can Stream Right Now

Celebrate Women’s History Month with dozens of great films at your fingertips.
Obvious Child
By  · Published on March 12th, 2019


Beach Rats (2017, Eliza Hittman) A closeted gay teen navigates his place in a group of hypermasculine Brooklynites in this movie which utilized largely unprofessional actors.

Bend It Like Beckham (2002, Gurinder Chadha) A British girl (Keira Knightley) and a Punjabi girl (Parminder Nagra) bond over their love of soccer in this energetic comedy.

Bend It Like Beckham

Humpday (2009, Lynn Shelton) A mumblecore film about two male friends attempting to make porn together, Humpday stars Mark Duplass, who also starred in Your Sister’s Sister for Shelton two years later.

Let the Sunshine In (2018, Claire Denis) Juliette Binoche is radiant as an unlucky-in-love artist in this French romantic comedy from the director of the upcoming film High Life.

Little Miss Sunshine (2006, Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton) This Best Original Screenplay winner marked the dawn of “quirky” indie films, but it’s actually a poignant and hilarious road trip movie worthy of its accolades. Also on The Roku Channel.

Me And You and Everyone We Know (2005, Miranda July) Poetic and offbeat, July’s feature debut ties together disparate subplots–anchored by a stellar performance from John Hawkes–to create a one-of-a-kind viewing experience.

Meek’s Cutoff (2010, Kelly Reichardt) Michelle Williams and Paul Dano lead this tense historical film about an ill-fated trip along the Oregon Trail. Also on Amazon Prime, Kanopy, Hoopla, and Fandor.

Oh Lucy! (2018, Atsuko Hirayanagi) A lonely Tokyo office worker follows her English tutor to America in hopes of finding adventure and connection in this perpetually surprising comedic drama.

Pet Sematary (1989, Mary Lambert) This Stephen King adaptation will receive a big screen update in April, but the original made the loveable scary when it spawned a million pet-and-child-related nightmares. Also on Amazon Prime.

The Piano (1993, Jane Campion) Holly Hunter and Harvey Keitel star in this new classic, a New Zealand drama about the life of a mute piano player.

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017, Angela Robinson) This docudrama tells the unconventional story of the creation of Wonder Woman, which involves, among other things, polyamory, research psychology, and fetish artwork.

River of Grass (1994, Kelly Reichardt) Reichardt’s debut film uses the particular landscape of Florida to tell the story of a couple who are forced on the run but unable to leave. Also on Amazon Prime, Kanopy, and Fandor.

Skate Kitchen (2018, Crystal Moselle) Previously a documentary filmmaker, Moselle dives into narrative with Skate Kitchen, which follows an all-girls skate group in New York City.

The Virgin Suicides (1999, Sofia Coppola) In Coppola’s debut, an adaptation of the same-name novel by Jeffrey Eugenides, a group of neighborhood boys retell the mysterious and tragic story of the Lisbon girls, five sheltered sisters. Also on Amazon Prime.

Virgin Suicides

Wayne’s World (1992, Penelope Spheeris) The well-known SNL skit made its way to the big screen in this stoner comedy, which followed music lovers Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey) as their basement-made show is picked up for television. Also on Amazon Prime and EPIX.

Wendy and Lucy (2008, Kelly Reichardt) A poor woman loses her dog while traveling north for a job opportunity in another Michelle Williams-led project by Reichardt. Also on Amazon Prime, Kanopy, Hoopla, Fandor, and Sundance Now.

We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011, Lynne Ramsay) Impressionistic dread gives way to terror in this Tilda Swinton-led thriller about an ill-equipped woman raising a disturbed son (Ezra Miller). Also on Amazon Prime, Kanopy, and Hoopla.

Amazon Prime

Always Shine (2016, Sophia Takal) Jealousy eats a friendship alive in this trippy thriller about two aspiring actresses (Mackenzie Davis and Caitlin FitzGerald) who take a vacation together to Big Sur. Also on Kanopy.

American Honey (2016, Andrea Arnold) A ragtag group of traveling magazine sellers has its dynamic toppled by a heady romance between a teen (Sasha Lane in her first role) and her volatile supervisor (Shia Labeouf). Also on Kanopy.

Bound (1996, Lana and Lily Wachowski) The Wachowskis’ first film is a stylish lesbian neo-noir starring Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly.

Lady Bird (2017, Greta Gerwig) The indie darling of its release year, Lady Bird paints a realistic portrait of a girl (Saoirse Ronan) on the brink of adulthood and her complicated relationship with her mother and her hometown. Also on Kanopy.

Lady Bird

Leave No Trace (2018, Debra Granik) Granik’s latest feature takes a deep dive into the type of PTSD that’s so strong, it drives a parent to raise his child in the wilderness.

The Love Light (1921, Frances Marion) Marion was one of the earliest female directors, and this feature of hers stars Mary Pickford as a woman whose life is repeatedly marred by war and its effects on the men she loves.

Madeline’s Madeline (2018, Josephine Decker) An experimental and meta take on performance itself, Decker’s latest is most noteworthy for introducing audiences to the all-in young actress Helena Howard. Also on Kanopy.

The Matrix (1999, Lana and Lily Wachowski) The sci-fi favorite stars Keanu Reeves, and is heavy on both mind-bending action sequences and equally thought-provoking existential themes.

Please Give (2010, Nicole Holofcener) Catherine Keener is Kate, a woman whose livelihood depends on the deaths of others and who becomes preoccupied with trying to help people out of guilt.

Saving Face (2004, Alice Wu) An intergenerational drama about a closeted Chinese-American surgeon and her pregnant mother, Saving Face is a soapy and enjoyable coming out story.

Trouble Every Day (2001, Claire Denis) Denis’ early foray into quasi-horror features some very sexy vampires and some very bloody moments. Also on Hoopla.

Whale Rider (2002, Niko Caro) A Māori girl is determined to become the first female chief of her tribe in this film, which garnered Keisha Castle-Hughes an Oscar nomination at age 13. Also on Hoopla, TubiTV, and Sundance Now.

Whale Rider

Yentl (1983, Barbara Streisand) A Jewish girl living in Poland in 1904 assumes the identity of a man in order to study in this musical, which Streisand also wrote, produced, and starred in.

You Were Never Really Here (2018, Lynne Ramsay) Ramsay’s latest is a swirl of sound, color, and masterful editing that stars Joaquin Phoenix as a deeply troubled hitman on a mission.

Zama (2017, Lucrecia Martel) A meditative take on Colonialism, this Argentinian film follows an officer who is left waiting in a small town at the mercy of the Spanish Crown.

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Valerie Ettenhofer is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer, TV-lover, and mac and cheese enthusiast. As a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects, she covers television through regular reviews and her recurring column, Episodes. She is also a voting member of the Critics Choice Association's television and documentary branches. Twitter: @aandeandval (She/her)