Happy New Year! Welcome back to Reel Women, the monthly feature that highlights the films being released in the UK that are written and/or directed by women. This month we’ve got festival favourites that have finally made their way across the pond, documentaries, and a couple of foreign language films too.

1 January

The Favourite

Directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos
Written by: Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara
In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman) occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz), governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail (Emma Stone), arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah and courses friction between the women. The Favourite is Deborah Davis’s first produced screenplay, and it’s already gotten her nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay along with cowriter Tony McNamara.


Welcome to Marwen

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Written by: Robert Zemeckis and Caroline Thompson
After Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carell) is brutally attacked he finds comfort with his miniature dolls that can do anything. Caroline Thompson has director, producer and writer who has written a dozen screenplays. Her previous films include The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993) and Corpse Bride (2005).


4 January

An Impossible Love

Directed by: Catherine Corsini
Written by: Catherine Corsini and Laurette Polmanss
Modest office worker Rachel (Virgine Efira) meets Philppe (Neils Schneider) a young man born to a bourgeois family and their brief, but passionate connection produces a daughter. Rachel and Philippe’s relationship is fraught though as he refuses to marry outside his social class and Rachel wants their daughter to not lose the connection to her father. Catherine Corsini is a writer and director who has directed over a dozen feature-length films. Laurette Polmanss is a writer and director; An Impossible Love is her second feature film.



Directed by: Julie Cohen and Betsy West
Documentary about the life and career of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has developed a legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. Julie Cohen is a documentary producer and director, RBG is her fifth feature-length documentary. Betsy West has produced multiple documentary films and TV series. RBG is her directorial debut.



11 January


Directed by: Wash Westmoreland
Written by: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland and Rebecca Lenkiewicz
After aiding her husband with his novels but then getting none of the credit, Colette (Keira Knightley) fights to make her talents known, challenging societies gender norms. Colette is Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s third feature film. Her first film was Oscar winner Ida (2013) and her second film was Disobedience which was released in the UK at the end of 2018.



Directed by: Olga Chajdas
Written by: Olga Chajdas and Marta Konarzewska
Nina (Julia Kijowska) is struggling to conceive a child. When she and her husband find an ideal candidate, Nina finds herself falling for the woman that could give birth to her child. Olga Chajdas is a director and producer who won multiple awards at the Polish Film Festival in 2018 for Nina. Marta Konarzewska is an actress and writer, Nina is her second produced screenplay.



18 January

Mary Queen of Scots

Directed by: Josie Rourke
Written by: Beau Willimon
The story of Mary Stuart’s (Saoirse Ronan) attempt to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England (Margot Robbie). Mary Queen of Scots is Josie Rourke’s first feature film after directing over 40 different theatre productions over fifteen years.


London Unplugged

Directed by: Layke Anderson, Natalia Casali, Nick Cohen, Mitchell Crawford, Andres Heger-Bratterud, Ben Jacobson, Rosanna Lowe, Gaelle Mourre, Kaki Wong and Qi Zhang
Written by: Nick Cohen and Nick Hopkins


An anthology film that explores disparate characters scattered across London, many of whose lives intersect unpredictably. Natalia Casali is an actress, writer and director of short films. Rosanna Lowe is an actress and director, London Unplugged is her directorial debut. Gaelle Mourre is a director, writer and editor who has edited 8 short films.



Directed by: Vicky Jewson
Written by: Vicky Jewson and Rupert Whitaker
Netflix’s latest offering is about bodyguard and counter-terrorism expert Sam (Noomi Rapace) takes a job protecting Zoe (Sophie Nélisse), a rich young heiress. Neither party is keen on the arrangement until a violent kidnap forces them to go on the run. Close is Vicky Jewson’s third feature film.



25 January


Directed by: Karyn Kusama
Written by: Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi
Police detective Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) attempts to reconnect with people from an undercover assignment in her past in order to make amends. Karyn Kusama is a director and writer. She’s directed episodes of The Man in the High Castle and Billions and her previous film, The Invitation, is currently on Netflix and is well worth a watch.


A Dog’s Way Home

Directed by: Charles Martin Smith
Written by: W. Bruce Cameron and Cathryn Michon
A dog travels 400 miles in search of their owner. Cathryn Michon is an actress, director and writer. A Dog’s Way Home is her third feature film screenplay, her previous screenplay was A Dog’s Purpose (2017).


Second Act

Directed by: Peter Segal
Written by: Justin Zackman and Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas
Store worker Maya, who has a tonne of street smarts, gets the chance to reinvent herself in a fancy job at Madison Avenue. Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas has produced dozens of TV shows and a number of films including Maid in Manhattan (2002) and Kidnap (2017). Second Act is her first screenplay.


On Her Shoulders

Directed by: Alexandria Bombach
Documentary about Nadia Murad, a 23-year-old Yazidi, who survived genocide and sexual slavery committed by ISIS. Alexandria Bombach is a documentary producer, editor and director and has won over twenty awards for her work. As well as directing On Her Shoulders, she also edited it and was the director of photography for the film.

That’s thirteen films made by women in the UK this month, including a new Netflix original. As always, we’d love to hear what you think of any of these films if you get the chance to see them. I hope your film viewing experience in 2019 is full of interesting films from a diverse range of filmmakers!