This month’s Reel Women is a little different. The whole world is a lot different right now, social distancing, lockdown, uncertainty, and for the moment, films are not being released like they used to. Here at JumpCut Online we still want to highlight films made by women so from now until the world goes back to some semblance on normal, Reel Women will be a place to share some of our favourite films that are written and/or directed by women and are currently available for you to watch in the comfort of your own home. And we’ll also continue to shout out upcoming Netflix Original and Amazon Prime exclusives when we can.
Legally Blonde – available on Netflix
Directed by: Robert Luketic | Written by: Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith
Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith co-wrote some of the most loved late 90s/early 2000s teen romantic comedies including She’s the Man (which is currently available on Amazon Prime), Ella Enchanted and 10 Things I Hate About You.
When Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) is dumped by her boyfriend for being seen as not smart enough for him, she vows to get into Harvard Law and win him back.
I adore Legally Blonde and Elle’s journey. It is a proper feel-good film as she never compromises who she is, even when so many other people are thinking she’s not good enough. It also has some of the best female friendships.
Directed by: Lone Scherfig | Written by: Laura Wade
Lone Scherfig has directed a dozen films including An Education which was nominated for Best Picture at the 2010 Academy Awards. The Riot Club is Laura Wade’s first feature film credit and it is an adaptation of her play, Posh, for screen.
Two first-year students at Oxford University join the infamous Riot Club, where reputations can be made or destroyed over the course of a single evening.
Riot Club is a great film, though it’s easy to be angered by it as it shows just what young, entitled men can get up to and a good proportion of those men are now running the country or are in other positions of power. Definitely worth a watch though.
Free Fire – available on Amazon Prime
Directed by: Ben Wheatley | Written by: Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump
Amy Jump is a writer and editor. Free Fire is her fourth produced screenplay.
Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two gangs turns into a shoot-out and a game of survival.
Free Fire is chaotic, funny, violent and ridiculous but it’s so much fun! The dialogue is fantastic and does a great job of fleshing out the characters in such a short space of time. Free Fire is bonkers and won’t be for everyone, but I think it’s great.
Crossing the Line – available on Amazon Prime
Written and directed by: Nia DaCosta
Crossing the Line (aka Little Woods in America) is Nia DaCosta’s first feature film. Her second film is the remake/sequel/reimagining of Candyman which will hopefully be released later this year.
Ollie (Tessa Thompson), a reformed drug runner is trying to do the right thing when her sister Deb (Lily James) arrives on her doorstep in need of help. As the sisters try to get the money together to stop their family home from being reposed, Ollie must go back to the dangerous way of life she thought she’d left behind.
Crossing the Line is a modern Western and it is great. The performances from Thompson and James are brilliant and it’s a grim yet absorbing tale of how some Americans will do anything to get the healthcare they need.
Man Up – available on Amazon Prime
Directed by: Ben Palmer | Written by: Tess Morris
Man Up is Tess Morris’s first produced feature-length screenplay. She’s also written episodes of TV shows including My Family and Hollyoakes.
When Nancy (Lake Bell) accidentally takes the place of a stranger’s blind date she meets Jack (Simon Pegg) and he may be the perfect boyfriend for her.
Man Up is a sweet and light-hearted romcom that has top notch British humour. It also has a great final declaration of love. Man Up doesn’t break the mould but because of that, it feels timeless.
Teach Us All – available on Netflix
Written and directed by: Sonia Lowman
Sonia Lowman is a documentary writer, director and producer. Teach Us All is her first film.
Teach Us All is a documentary highlighting how educational inequality remains among the most urgent civil rights issues of our time. With the focus on Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, it presents a microcosm of the inequities and challenges manifesting in classrooms all across America.
Teach Us All is a fascinating and infuriating documentary in equal measure as it shows how the schooling a child receives can differ so much depending on its location and student body. However, it also shows how amazing a lot of teachers and parents are and that there are people fighting for children’s education. Plus, its runtime is under 90 minutes which is always nice.
Hustlers – available on Amazon Prime
Written and directed by: Lorene Scafaria
Lorene Scafaria is a writer, director and producer. Her directorial debut was Seeking a Friend for the End of the World which is also available on Amazon Prime and is well worth a watch and I promise the relationship isn’t skeevy even though the age gap between Steve Carell and Keira Knightley is almost 30 years.
Inspired by the viral New York Magazine article, Hustlers follows a crew of savvy former strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients.
Hustlers is slick and fun, and I dare you to watch Hustlers and to not join in with the cries of “Jennifer Lopez should’ve been nominated for an Oscar!”
Capernaum – available on Amazon Prime
Directed by: Nadine Labaki | Written by: Nadine Labaki, Jihad Hojeily and Michelle Keserwany
Nadine Labaki is an actress, writer and director. Capernaum is her fourth feature film and it was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year at last year’s Oscars and BAFTAs. Capernaum is Michelle Keserwany’s first produced screenplay.
While serving a five-year sentence for a violent crime, twelve-year-old Zain (Zain Al Rafeea) decides to sue his parents for the neglect and the life they’ve given him.
Capernaum is fantastic. It’s sad but it’s also funny and thoughtful. With a great cast led by Zain Al Rafeea, it’s a film about family, compassion and survival. It’s a film that’s often like a punch to the gut but it’s one that leaves a lasting impression.
Talvar – available on Netflix
Directed by: Meghna Gulzar | Written by: Vishal Bharfwaj and Aditya Nimbalkar
Meghna Gulzar is a writer and director who has directed six feature films.
An experienced investigator (Irrfan Khan) confronts several conflicting theories about the perpetrators of a violent double homicide. The case gets complicated when the parents of the murdered girl emerge as the prime suspects.
Irrfan Khan gives an understated but brilliant performance as the world-weary detective in this gripping mystery that’s based on a true story.
Set It Up – available on Netflix
Directed by: Claire Scanlon | Written by: Katie Silberman
Claire Scanlon’s directing credits include The Office, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Modern Family. Set It Up is her first feature film. Katie Silberman has previously produced comedy films Hot Pursuit and How to Be Single. Set It Up is her first feature-length screenplay to make it to the screen.
Harper (Zoey Deutch) and Charlie (Glen Powell) are two stressed out assistants who each have a high maintenance boss, Kristen (Lucy Liu) and Rick (Taye Diggs). When they decide to play matchmaker, maybe they can spread some romance and get their freedom.
Set It Up is a funny and charming rom-com and is perfect viewing in these trying times. The snappy script and the great cast make it a very enjoyable film and it’s got a wonderful lead dup in Deutch and Powell.
As always, we’d love to hear what films you’ve watched recently that are made by women.