Girl Week 2019: Female Directors of 2019

For now the 5th year running, Dell at Dell on Movies is celebrating all things female in the movie world with his Girl Week Blogathon. Last year I decided to write a post about my favourite female directors of the year, and came to a shocking discovery that out of the 47 2018 releases I’d seen so far that year, only 4 were directed by women. FOUR. Can you believe that? It meant that instead of writing about my favourite 4 movies directed by women, I had to talk about literally the only 4 movies directed by women that I’d seen!

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So this year it seemed only right to check my stats for 2019 so far and see if there’s been any difference. At the time of writing, I’ve seen 70 of this year’s releases so far, and 8 of them have been directed by women. That’s still shockingly bad, isn’t it? 2 of those 8 are co-directed by women, too.

To be completely honest – I don’t make a concentrated effort to find female-directed movies. I’d had to look up each movie in my diary on Letterboxd because I don’t pay much attention. Next year, I think I owe it to my fellow gals to actively watch their movies!

Still, 8 gives me a big enough number to at least do a Top 5, so let’s crack on with that. Missing out on my Top 5 are:
#8 Wine Country, Directed by Amy Poehler
#7 Someone Great, Directed by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
#6 Little, Directed by Tina Gordon Chism

Which leave my Top 5 as:

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#5 Late Night, Directed by Nisha Ganatra

I’m of the opinion right now that Emma Thompson can actually do no wrong. Even in the most mediocre movie, her mere presence lights up the screen. I missed Late Night in the cinemas because of the luke-warm reviews but gave it a chance in the end. Whilst I didn’t love it, I still laughed a lot. There’s plenty to like here, even if it does get a little heavy on the politics at times.

Nisha Ganatra has also directed Chutney Popcorn (1999).

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#4 Captain Marvel, Directed by Ryan Fleck and Anna Bowden

It’s that time of year now where I sound like a broken record, “NO WAY was this released this year” but seriously, does Captain Marvel feel as recent as it is to anyone else? Perhaps it’s just because the trolls have been crying for over a year now. I’m well overdue a rewatch of Captain Marvel but flaws aside I really enjoyed it, and I thought Captain Marvel made a fine addition to the team in Endgame, too.

Ryan Fleck and Anna Bowden also directed Half Nelson (2006).

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#3 Always Be My Maybe, Directed by Nahnatchka Khan

2019 has to go down as the year of Keanu Reeves, right? Can we all hand-on-heart honestly say we would have watched this little Netflix gem if we didn’t know Keanu Reeves had the best cameo of all time in it? Keanu aside, whilst the movie world is flooded with lame romcoms, Always Be My Maybe is one of the good, if not great ones, and is equal parts hilarious and heart warming. Well worth a watch if you haven’t already.

Always Be My Maybe (2019) is Nahnatchka Khan’s directional debut. 

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#2 Frozen 2, Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee

I haven’t written my full post for Frozen 2 yet because it’s one of those movies that I really enjoyed, but ask me to talk about it and I can only nitpick at the parts I didn’t like. It IS good though. It has a big theme around growing up, and maturity, which is fitting really for it’s main audience who are 6 years older than they were when the original came out! Can you tell I’m completely avoiding talking about my feelings towards it? Watch this space…

Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee also directed Frozen (2013).

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#1 Booksmart, Directed by Olivia Wilde

This one sure divided opinions, huh? There’s a ‘this is the next Superbad’ camp and a ‘this is entirely overrated’ camp from what I could tell. I was never a huge fan of Superbad to be honest, but I loved Booksmart. Not all the jokes landed, but it was a perfect representation of female friendship.

Booksmart (2019) is Olivia Wilde’s directional debut.

Finally – if you don’t already follow Dell on Movies you should right that wrong straight away, keep an eye out on his blog for a Girl Week roundup next week!

Always Be My Maybe (2019)

always-be-my-maybe-2019-netflixDirector: Nahnatchka Khan

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Runtime: 101 Minutes

Main Cast: Ali Wong, Randall Park, James Saito, Michelle Buteau, Vivian Bang, Keanu Reeves, Susan Park, Daniel Dae Kim, Karan Soni, Charlyne Yi

Plot: Sasha and Marcus have been the best of friends since they were kids, and their friendship soon blossomed into a relationship that ended badly. Years later, Sasha and Marcus meet again.

My Thoughts: Our little Keanu Reeves fan club on Twitter still haven’t recovered from John Wick: Chapter 3 and then BAM, Netflix goes and drops Always Be My Maybe and throws us completely off balance. We’ll come back to Keanu though, it wouldn’t be fair to make this post all about him. I have mixed feelings when I type this but, it’s so great that we’re getting more movies like this with a diverse cast. It really is wonderful, but at the same time, I wish it wasn’t so obvious that movies with a cast like this are so rare. It’s hard for me to put into words, really.

Anyway, I’ve always had a soft spot for romcoms and this one is no exception. There’s nothing new brought to the genre here and you can guess the entire story easily from the brief plot description, but when it’s done well it’s easy to forgive. Marcus is absolutely adorable, I loved his band – especially their song during the credits! Sasha is an incredibly powerful character, but probably a little too powerful for my liking, she was quite unlikeable in some scenes.

What is it about movies with chefs that make me so darn hungry? File this movie under ‘Don’t watch before dinner’ along with Chef (2014) and Burnt (2015). Always Be My Maybe isn’t going to be in many movie fan’s Top 10 at the end of the year but it’s on Netflix, easily available to most, and you can watch must worse on a Saturday night with a takeaway!

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Best Bit: KEANU REEVES. No honestly, hear me out. I know I’m biased right now. But his scene in the restaurant was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. I had no idea he was actually playing himself, and I laughed till I cried. Can we have more Keanu roles where he wears thick glasses and acts like a complete douche bag? PLEASE, movie gods?!

But also – that song!
“Best believe I punched Keanu Reeves
And it was better than any scene
You could see in Speed
I hit John Wick
And now I’m feeling so appealing
Basically, I’m a god
You could call me Hercules”

Worst Bit: I liked the movie enough for the comedy but at times Sasha and Marcus’ relationship was hard to buy into. They’re both great in their own roles but the chemistry just isn’t there – I found myself not bothered whether they actually ended up together in the end or not.

Fun Trivia: Keanu Reeves filmed all his scenes in 4 days between shooting John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019). All of his scenes were filmed in San Francisco instead of Vancouver to accommodate his schedule.

My Rating: 3 pairs of thick-rimmed glasses, because Keanu Reeves, that’s why.

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