What a year it has been! I have seen way more female directed films this year than ever before. Part of that is down to my own conscious decision to do better when picking what films to see and the other part is that there has actually been more female directed content for me to watch this year. I’m keen to see what 2020 will bring but until then let’s reflect with some of my personal highlights from 2019…in no particular order.
A positive step in the right direction for Marvel. I thoroughly enjoyed the films tone and the diversity in cast with a very charismatic Brie Larson helming the whole thing. I hope the success of this film is a sign for future Marvel projects having female leads and female directors. We are already seeing a hint of it with Cate Shortland and the upcoming Black Widow film. You can read my full review of Captain Marvel here.
What an absolutely stunning film with such a heartwarming story. The audience was quite small in the theatre I saw this in, but this film deserves to be seen by everyone. Exploring themes of culture, family and even mortality through the eyes of a fantastically grounded performance from Awkwafina this film made my top 10 list as soon as the credits rolled. You can read my full review here.
I don’t think I laughed harder at a film this year, or any year to be honest. This coming of age story had complex characters, relatable humour and a tonne of charm. As soon as I saw it I knew it was going to be one of my top films from this year if not all time. And if you haven’t seen it yet then go and do yourself a favour. Read my full review here.
I was fortunate enough this year to be asked by the European Film Promotion to cover their Europe! Voices of Women program as part of the Sydney Film Festival, which meant I got to watch a bunch of interesting female directed films from Europe and interview the amazing filmmakers who made them. One of my top viewings from the selection was The Deposit. Chilling, complex, and definitely topical giving the current political climate in regards to immigration. It hit all the right notes with me and that ending has stayed in my mind since watching it back in June. Read my full review and interview here.
The Kindergarten Teacher
Now I believe this film actually got released last year but it only came to Australian cinemas in a limited release early this year. I ended up borrowing it on DVD and I am so glad I did. It is a film for lovers of art and a passion for creativity, but don’t expect to be inspired. It was conversation starting and uncomfortable at times but Maggie Gyllenhaal left me in awe and the cinematography was so beautiful I couldn’t look away. Plus it has a great ending. Read my full review here.
Dark Whispers: Volume 1
I saw this at Sydney’s Monster Fest and featured director and creator Megan Riakos on the blog as well. This anthology is a collection of 10 female directed short horror films tied together with a wrap around story of a woman who discovers her recently deceased mothers Book of Shadows. The stories each focus on psychologically horrifying concepts straying away from the blood & gore of modern horror, which is definitely its strength. Read more in the featured post I did here.
This Irish and Australian co-production sparked an ongoing conversation with my partner from the time we left the cinema til when we got back home. The morale dilemmas and social pressures put on women explored in this film give what could be a light fluffy romantic comedy film such weight and poignancy and really grounded the story in reality. It also raised the question of how mad should you get at someone for spilling wine on your baby?
When They See Us
Not a movie but a special 4 part miniseries for Netflix directed by Ava DuVernay. Her powerful direction told this story with so much emotion that I was completely drawn in. It could have been a 4 hour movie, but splitting the parts up made it much easier to watch as the story is very heavy and, although needs to be told, can get draining if you decided to binge watch each episode in a row.
A brilliant Documentary I saw at this years Sydney Film Festival, Hail Satan? questions the purpose of religion and it’s place in politics. Done with humour and sass this documentary functioned very well by being seen in a full theatre of like-minded people. The question mark at the end of the title also becomes clearer as you watch the film.
The world is mad at Brie Larson and I can’t quite figure out why because I think she is charming. Her directorial debut Unicorn Store was also full of charm and paired Brie with Samuel L. Jackson once again in 2019, which I can never be mad at. Released exclusively on Netflix the film explores societies need for everyone to grow up and how we can still maintain an element of whimsy even as we go through life as adults. Still haven’t bought my tassel jacket yet, but maybe for Christmas? You can read my full review here.