20 Perfect Films From Female Filmmakers to Ease Your Pandemic Blues

Twenty films from female filmmakers received perfect scores from the FF2 Media team during 2019. To receive a perfect score from our team, a film must pass the Bechdel-Wallace test and feature a female writer or director – 220 films matching the latter criteria were released theatrically in Manhattan last year. 

The following films are now available to watch from the safety of your home during this time of self-isolation and protection. We hope they’ll make you laugh, think or reflect during this strange time – all while celebrating Women’s History Month by supporting female filmmakers.


Birds of Passage 

“During the 1960s marijuana craze in Colombia, an indigenous family finds itself further and further entrenched in a lucrative yet dangerously corrupt drug business.” Full review of a “striking masterpiece” from directors Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra.


Adult Life Skills 

This Nora Ephron Prize-winning feature was made in 2015, before Broadchurch and Dr. Who made Jodie Whittaker an instantly-recognizable leading actress. Director Rachel Tunnard spoke to us last January about the delayed release, and the difference between making films in the U.S. and the U.K.  


Captain Marvel

Academy Award winner Brie Larson stars in this critically acclaimed box office hit – the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film from a female co-director, Anna Boden. Two upcoming films from Marvel Studios are directed by women – Black Widow and The Eternals.

Toy Story 4 

Stephany Folsom co-wrote the screenplay for this Academy Award-winning Best Animated Feature, reuniting the old toys from Andy’s room for one last adventure.


Blowin’ Up

An insightful look at the criminal justice system, Stephanie Wang-Breal’s documentary, Blowin’ Up, speaks of a unique judicial system that helps female victims of sex trafficking get back on track with their lives.

The Farewell 

Awkwafina was the only actor from a female-directed film to win a Golden Globe this year thanks to her performance in this heartfelt dramedy about a terminally ill grandmother, and the culturally common Chinese decision of her family to hide her diagnosis.

Honey Boy

Free the Work founder Alma Har’el won the Directors Guild of America First-Time Feature Film Award for directing Shia LaBeouf’s moving script about growing up as a young actor with an abusive father. 


Knock Down the House

Rachel Lears’ documentary follows a record-breaking year for women running for public office – specifically in Congress. “Knock Down the House is more than just a film. It’s a part of a movement. It’s available on Netflix so that as many people as possible can access it. It is meant to spread a message to the people of the US: we do have the power to advocate for ourselves and see our country run the way we want it to.”

The Game Changers

Any vegans in the audience are going to love co-writer Shannon Kornelson’s documentary on the benefits of a plant-based diet. Kornelson, director Louie Psihoyos, and a cast of interviewees from the Miami Dolphins to Arnold Schwarznegger show us that veganism doesn’t just benefit the average person, but even the highest level athletes as well. 


A haunting supernatural tale of romance and societal injustice, Atlantics director Mati Diop is the first woman nominated for the Cannes Film Festival’s prestigious Palm d’Or. 


The Nightingale

“The superb filmmaking and storytelling of Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale is worth the tears,” according to FF2 Media writer Hannah Mayo. A unanimous pick from our team; a must-watch about a young Irish convict woman chasing a British officer through the wilderness to seek revenge for an act of violence against her family.


Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards, FF2 Contributor Dayna Hagewood called this documentary about the last female beehunter in Europe “charming, heartbreaking, visually striking…the best film I have seen in a long time.”


Borrowing from Lord of the Flies, Skins, and Apocalypse Now alike, Monos is an excellently plotted, virtuosically acted, and fascinatingly directed ensemble drama following a squadron of child soldiers. 


What Is Democracy? 

Watch at Home: https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/what-is-democracy

Director Astra Taylor gives audiences a picture of what democracy could be in this documentary, released in January 2019. “ Taylor reacts to the 2016 election and the debt crisis in Europe by taking us on a cross-continental and 3000-year journey investigating her titular question,” FF2 Contributor Giorgi Plys-Garzotto writes in her review. “This film brings in academics as well as ordinary citizens who are at the forefront of activism and social unrest, all weighing in to give us a picture of what democracy is and could be.”

Who Will Write Our History

Watch at Home: https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/who-will-write-our-history

Based on the book of the same name by historian Samuel Kassow,  Roberta Grossman’s documentary Who Will Write Our History? chronicles the atrocities of the Holocaust while bringing to life the words of those whose lives it altered forever. Full review here. 

Working Woman

Watch at Home: https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/working-woman

“A film by feminist filmmaker Michal Aviad, Working Woman chronicles the painful story of a woman who returns to the workplace to support her family and their new business, and is faced with increased sexual harassment from her employer, in a job she comes to depend on.”

Them That Follow

Watch at Home: https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/them-that-follow

Kaitlyn Dever and Oscar winner Olivia Colman play patrons of a strict and conservative Appalachian church torn apart by a blood curdling secret. 

Official Secrets

Watch at Home: https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/official-secrets

Keira Knightley, Matt Smith, Ralph Fiennes and Matthew Goode star in this compelling story of a British intelligence officer who broke confidentiality to stop the U.S. National Security Agency from illegally garnering votes to declare war in Iraq. 

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Watch at Home: https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/a-beautiful-day-in-the-neighborhood

Tom Hanks was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for starring alongside Matthew Rhys in Marielle Heller’s touching look at the legacy of Fred Rogers on a cynical magazine feature writer. 

Queen & Slim

Watch at Home: https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/queen-and-slim

From director Melina Matsoukas and writer Lena Waithe, Queen & Slim “tackles real history, depicting Black Lives Matter protests and the senseless murders of black people by the police, as well as the failure to convict these murderers.” 

Little Women and 1917 also received perfect scores, but are not yet available to rent or stream – only to buy on digital platforms like Prime Video and iTunes.

Tags: Birds of Passage, Blowin' Up, Captain Marvel, The Farewell, Toy Story 4

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