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52 Films By Women: February

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After a nasty cold had me bed-ridden for a four-day weekend, I pretty much hit my quota for February before the first week was up (thank you Netflix) … but I didn’t stop there.

Here are the films I watched this month that were either written or directed (or both) by a woman.

FIRST-TIMERS

The Intervention (Netflix UK), written and directed by Clea DuVall

When a group of friends get together to have an intervention for their unhappily-married friends in an attempt to persuade them to divorce, the weekend turns sour as they realise they are each battling demons of their own. This is a very quietly played story but one that manages to deal with very real issues, too.

See also: Carnage, written by Yasmina Reza

Bewitched (Netflix UK), co-written by Nora and Delia Ephron, directed by Nora Ephron

A reboot of the TV show, this is light and silly and not particularly taxing. Nicole Kidman and Michael Caine are great but Ferrell is just tiresome.

See also: Sleepless in Seattle, directed by Nora Ephron

Tank Girl (DVD), directed by Rachel Talalay

Comic book-inspired dystopia, this is completely bonkers and great fun. It’s other-worldly silliness that will delight many viewers.

See also: OK so it’s kind of cheating (as it’s not a film!) but Talalay’s episode of Doctor Who entitled ‘Heaven Sent’ is superb

13th (Netflix UK), directed by Ava DuVernay

Powerful and eye-opening, this documentary is now also a BAFTA-winner. DuVernay puts together a film that looks at the obscene rise in the number of people (especially those of colour) who have been put in jail in the US since slavery ended and how politics and prejudice has greatly affected that number.

See also: Selma, directed by DuVernay

Hidden Figures (cinema), written by Allison Schroeder

(Yes, it took this long to actually see a film made by a woman at the cinema.)

Based on true events, this is a real treat of a film about the women of colour who helped the US space race in the 1960s. Bursting with solidarity and courage, the film also boasts fantastic performances from Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe, with great support from Kevin Costner.

See also: Belle, directed by Amma Asante

Viceroy’s House (cinema), directed by Gurinder Chadha

Centred on the time of India’s independence from Britain and the country’s divide, this stunning film has the grand scale of The Crown mixed with the smaller intimacies of the characters and so much heart. It’s incredibly current in themes of independence, division and loyalty and well worth a watch when it arrives in UK cinemas on 3rd March (full review coming soon).

See also: Bend it Like Beckham, directed by Chadha

52 Films By Women

REWATCHES

The Prince and Me (Netflix UK), directed by Martha Coolidge

I know, I know. But it’s Julia Stiles and it’s funny and sweet and I was ill in bed. Sometimes, nice and reliable is just what you want.

An arrogant Danish prince hides his true identity, goes to a US college to meet girls, falls for a girl unlike any he’s met before and, well, chaos ensues when his identity is revealed.

See also: the Julia Stiles gem, 10 Things I Hate About You, written by Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith

Sense and Sensibility (DVD), written by Emma Thompson

If somebody told you that Ang Lee would be directing and Emma Thompson would be writing an adaptation of a Jane Austen novel, you’d be forgiven for thinking this duo were perhaps not the first choice. But this film remains timeless thanks in large part to Thompson’s spot-on script which is as charming and funny as it is heart-breaking and emotional.

In this story, both of family and societal expectation, Thompson is flawless as writer and actress. She is joined in front of the camera by the likes of Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant.

Just gorgeous in every way.

See also: Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, written by Thompson and directed by Susanna White

Tweet me your thoughts on the above or your own suggestions at @filmvsbook.

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