Listen, we know you have been bingeing shows and movies like you’re trying to break a world record. A lot of us have more time than ever to spend watching them and need the distraction from reality.
If you find yourself on your 7th watch-through of The Office, why not mix it up a bit and throw in some content made by the industry’s most neglected creators: women—especially queer women and women of color.
Here are a few options that you can watch right now, most of which are already available to you through basic streaming or rental services.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – Deborah Cox, Fiona Eagger
If you don’t think an Australian lady detective in the 1920s is a kickass concept, you probably also don’t like fun. This series tackles the social issues of the time while still being a fun whodunit show. The main character, Phyrne Fisher, played by Essie Davis, carries every scene with confidence and vulnerability—not to mention the gorgeous period costumes and set designs.
This series is perfect for anyone into period pieces, detective stories, or episodic dramas. You can find it on AcornTV or rent it from Amazon.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire – Céline Sciamma
This movie is very French—in language and tone. Set in 1770, it tells the story of a reluctantly betrothed woman named Héloïse (Adèle Haenel), who refuses to have her portrait painted for her potential husband—that is, until Marianne (Noémie Merlant) comes to paint her. The two slowly and carefully fall in love.
The whole film is shot like a painting, which gives it a surreal undertone. It’s a bittersweet exploration of sexuality and love. If you like historical dramas, foreign movies, and arthouse films, this is a good pick for you. It’s on Hulu right now.
Sense8 – Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
This is an older series, but a classic Netflix original. The Wachowski sisters (of The Matrix fame) crafted an intricate narrative surrounding eight very different individuals who are able to feel each other’s feelings, both emotionally and physically. While the series can be a little blunt and clunky, it has good intentions. The cast is very diverse, each with their own story to tell. It’s equal parts action and heart.
This series is a safe bet for anyone who’s looking for something to tug at your heartstrings while still keeping your monkey brain engaged with the action sequences.
Birds of Prey – Cathy Yan
When comparing Suicide Squad’s version of Harley Quinn to Birds of Prey’s, you get a textbook example of how the male gaze keeps ruining a good thing. While Harley is hyper-sexualized and ditzy in Suicide Squad, in this film, she’s a three dimensional, flawed, vulnerable, hilarious badass. She’s still sexy, but she’s not an object. Lead actress and producer Margot Robbie deserves credit for that transition, as well.
The movie features a fairly diverse cast of supporting characters in the Gotham Universe, including the incredible Rosie Perez. It’s just so fun to watch, like pop rocks for your eyes. This movie is perfect for superhero fans who want to see a good DC film for a change. You can rent this flick from basically anywhere.
Never Have I Ever – Mindy Kaling
This Netflix original is very new, releasing just this year. Based on creator Mindy Kaling’s own childhood experiences, this show takes a look into the life of a young, first-generation Indian-American girl in high school, played by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan. While the show covers a lot of the basic tropes in teenage sitcoms, the audience gets to experience those tropes through the lens of an authentic Asian-American perspective. It’s silly, sad, and sweet, all at the same time.
If you enjoyed The Mindy Project and various teen sitcoms, this is definitely a show you should check out on Netflix.
The Farewell – Lulu Wang
There’s no point in lying to you, this movie has the potential to carve your heart up—but, like, in a cathartic way.
Starring the brilliant Awkwafina, The Farewell is a tense conversation about the cultural differences between Chinese and American perspectives on death. Billi has a close relationship with her grandmother and struggles with the family’s decision to keep the matriarch’s terminal illness a secret from her. It’s a beautiful film about family, belonging, and culture.
This is a good selection for anyone looking to feel lots of emotions. You can rent it from basically anywhere, or stream it for free if you’re already an Amazon Prime member.
Dumplin’ – Anne Fletcher
If you’re a Dolly Parton fan, you need to watch this movie. Willowdean “Dumplin'” Dickson (Danielle Macdonald) is the plus-size daughter of a former beauty pageant winner and current pageant organizer (Jennifer Aniston). As you can imagine, their relationship isn’t super sturdy. After Willowdean’s lovely Aunt dies, she struggles with her identity and body image. She decides to join the pageant in an act of rebellion and, along the way, learns to love herself and others around her.
This is a great feel-good coming-of-age movie. You may shed a few tears, but you’ll come out of it feeling warm and fuzzy. Plus, any movie that has drag queens giving a bunch of misfits a makeover deserves an Oscar. I don’t make the rules. You can find Dumplin’ on Netflix.
Movies and shows created by women may require a little more digging to find, but they’re definitely out there. These are just 6 that you can find pretty easily. The best thing we can do to encourage even more lady-led movies to be made is to support what’s already there. What are some shows or movies created by a woman that you’ve seen lately?
(featured image: ABC, Pyramide Films, Big Beach)
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