March is Women’s History Month, which means now is a good a time to make an extra effort to check out movies that are directed by women and centered on female characters. Fortunately, with streaming services as popular as they are nowadays, it’s never been easier to do that.
Hulu, in particular, currently boasts an impressive library of movies that were directed by women, including some exceptional contemporary horror films, several memorable dramas and comedies, and many more. With that in mind, we’ve whipped up a list of 10 truly great movies directed by women that are currently available to stream on Hulu.
Written and directed by French auteur Céline Sciamma, Portrait of a Lady on Fire tells the story of a romance that develops between a young woman (Adèle Haenel) and the female artist (Noémie Merlant) who is hired to paint a portrait of her in secret for her would-be fiancé. The film is a patient, thought-provoking, and emotionally moving love story about what it means to really see someone and be seen in return, and it culminates with a final shot that is truly one for the books.
Starring Frances McDormand as a woman who takes to living in her van after losing everything in a recession, Nomadland won three Academy Awards in 2021, including Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Picture, and it’s not hard to see why. The film is a meditative and visually breathtaking portrait of one woman rediscovering herself after being forced to start over.
Nomadland packs a lot of emotion into its 107-minute runtime, and its success cemented writer-director Chloé Zhao as one of America’s most interesting emerging filmmakers.
This body horror sci-fi flick from writer-director Julia Ducournau is one of the most intense, unpredictable, and wholly original films that was released in 2021. Starring Agathe Rousselle as a violent car show model who is forced to assume the identity of a missing boy, Titane is an unnerving, intense, and nightmarish drama about, of all things, unconditional love. There has never been another movie like Titane, and there probably never will be.
Nicole Kidman is unrecognizable in this underrated 2018 thriller from filmmaker Karyn Kusama. Starring Kidman as an LAPD detective with a complicated past, Destroyer is a gritty urban crime drama about one woman’s quest to heal some of the wounds she’s inflicted upon both herself and others. Anchored by Kidman’s stunning lead performance, the film is a compelling neo-noir that features a truly nail-biting bank robbery sequence that everyone should try to see at least once.
Jennifer Lopez received a lot of acclaim for her performance as a stripper with some nefarious plans for her rich clients in Hustlers, and for good reason. Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, the film is a stylish and entertaining crime comedy, but it’s Lopez’s performance that makes Hustlers so memorable. The actress absolutely owns every room she walks into in the film and injects what is already a lively crime flick with even more energy and style.
Olivia Wilde made her directorial debut with this hilarious coming-of-age comedy about two girls who decide to try and make up for some of the fun they missed out on before they graduate high school. Featuring standout performances from Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart is a clever and surprisingly artistic film that manages to pay homage to the high school comedies that came before it while also subverting many of the genre’s tropes.
This lowkey, intelligent film about a couple’s journey to the island home of their favorite filmmaker, Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, was one of the most pleasant and intellectually engaging dramas released in 2021. Featuring three awards-worthy performances from Vicky Krieps, Tim Roth, and Mia Wasikowska, Bergman Island is a funny, charming, and heartfelt film about the challenges and rewards of the creative process. It’s one of writer-director Mia Hansen-Løve’s best and most accessible films.
Rose Glass made her directorial debut with Saint Maud, a psychological horror film about a religious nurse who becomes convinced that she must do whatever it takes to save the soul of one of her patients. Featuring a breakout turn from Morfydd Clark as the film’s titular nurse, Saint Maud is a trippy and intense horror film that is practically brimming with mind-bending, upsetting images and compelling ideas about the dangers of blind devotion.
This acclaimed 2020 drama follows one family of Angolan immigrants after they are reunited for the first time in 17 years when their patriarch is joined in the U.S. by his wife and daughter. Writer-director Ekwa Msangi received widespread acclaim for Farewell Amor, a film that’s told from three different perspectives and charts the difficulties its leads experience as they try to bridge the distance that has grown between each of them.
Directed by Prano Bailey-Bond, this underrated 2021 horror movie follows a female film censor (Niamh Algar) after she decides to finally uncover the truth about her sister’s disappearance years prior. Unfortunately for her, the more obsessed she becomes with her quest, the more difficult it becomes for her to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s fictional.
Clocking in at a tight 84 minutes, Censor is a fun and engrossing horror flick that deserves far more attention than it has gotten up to this point.
- 5 movies to watch if you liked Devotion
- 5 great LGBTQ+ movies & TV shows on Paramount+
- After Ambulance: 5 great heist movies that are streaming now
- Anyone with a library card can now stream some of the best modern indie movies
- The 10 best movies that should be made into TV shows