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!

Life Itself (2018)

life-itself-movie-review-2018-posterDirector: Dan Fogelman

Genre: Drama, Romance

Runtime: 117 Minutes

Main Cast: Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Annette Bening, Mandy Patinkin, Olivia Cooke, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Antonio Banderas, Laia Costa, Alex Monner, Samuel L. Jackson

Plot: Will and Abby fall in love at college, get married and have a child. But after a cruel twist of nature, tragedy befalls them and the aftershocks affect more people around them throughout the years.

My Thoughts: I don’t know why, but this week I’ve been making an attempt to catch up on the movies I missed which have been hailed as being terrible – it’s an odd hobby but there’s a certain guilty pleasure about awful movies. I’ve seen Serenity (2019) but I can’t put my thoughts into words on that yet. Today I’m talking about Life Itself, but let me share an odd fact about myself first. When I was a kid I’d let my thoughts run away with me. I’d wake up in the night needing the toilet but I was afraid I would wake my parents, and my thoughts continued until I’d caused World War 3 just by having a wee at 2am.

It feels like that’s the kind of message this movie is going for. One small event can lead to much bigger consequences. Or maybe not. Who the hell knows, because this movie is all over the place. I didn’t hate it though, I actually almost loved it. During the opening scenes, I was baffled as to why the movie was so hated. I’d like Samuel L. Jackson to narrate my life, please. I also would have quite happily watched a drunken Oscar Isaac singing in a cafe for the entire movie because the biggest problem for me was the start of the movie was the best part.

If you’re looking for a sappy rom-com this certainly isn’t it, it’s one of the most depressing things I’ve ever watched, but there is at least a beautiful message at the end of it all that brings some hope to the melancholy. From what I’ve read, the haters have called it ‘2018’s Collateral Beauty’ and I can’t argue with that. I guess the problem is I really enjoyed that movie!

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Best Bit: Any of the scenes with Oscar Isaac and Olivia Wilde together. They’re so sickeningly cute, and their dog has the best name ever. Can we please have the rom-com we deserve?

Worst Bit: Once the story switched over to the Gonzales family, that’s where it started to lose me. They were introduced too late into the movie for me to invest in them and so to be brutally honest I just didn’t care that much for their drama.

Fun Trivia: During the writing of the film, Dan Fogelman listened to Bob Dylan’s album Time Out of Mind and in particular the song Love Sick, which opens the film. Written after the divorce of the singer of his second wife, this double album, dating from 1997, speaks of love and mourning with melancholy.

My Rating: 3 double espressos in large cups, that a drunken Oscar Isaac will want to pour 2 healthy measures of whiskey into before staggering about, trying to serenading you.

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