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TMW's 10 Best Women Directed Movies Of 2019

holiday 2019 movie
Our favourite 2019 movies directed by women.

2019 gave us another strong crop of movies from women filmmakers. Along with the emergence of exciting new talent we saw some established women filmmakers continue to deliver on the promise of earlier work.

Here, in alphabetical order, are the 10 movies directed by women that most impressed us in 2019.

Birds of Passage (Cristina Gallego w/ Ciro Guerra)
birds of passage
We said: "Birds of Passage adds a touch of South American magic realism to a gritty crime drama, making it the freshest take on the gangster narrative to arrive in decades."

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Marielle Heller)
can you ever forgive me
We said: "Heller employs Hitchcockian suspense techniques to inveigle us into Lee Israel's crimes to such a degree that when the net begins to close around her, we almost feel as if we, the audience, are accomplices. Unlike the letters that made Israel initially rich and ultimately a wanted criminal, Heller's film is the real deal."

The Farewell (Lulu Wang)
the farewell
We said: "Wang's film is impeccably directed, precise in its framing and displaying an envious understanding of mise-en-scene. By telling such a personal true story ("based on an actual lie") with incredible finesse, The Farewell is a magnificent calling card for the adept Lulu Wang."

Holiday (Isabella Eklöf)
holiday 2019 movie
We said: "Holiday is essentially a workplace drama decked out in genre scrubs. It has much to say about the power dynamic between employers and employees, and the abuse so many workers are willing to accept simply because they aren't willing to walk away from the lifestyle their wages have accustomed them to."

Honey Boy (Alma Har'el)
honey boy
We said: "A more effective look at mental illness than the more crude approach of JokerHoney Boy might be the best movie about PTSD since Hal Ashby's Coming Home."

Lullaby (Lucie Borleteau)
lullaby 2019 movie
We said: "We're now seeing the formation of a new wave of women shock merchants, with Borleteau taking her place alongside Eklöf, Ducournau and Fargeat. Lullaby is a welcome addition to their growing canon."

The Party's Just Beginning (Karen Gillan)
The Party’s Just Beginning
We said: "In The Party’s Just Beginning, as in these small towns we live in, life just meanders as we wait for something to happen. Let’s hope that this auspicious debut is the beginning of a fruitful directorial career for Gillan."

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Céline Sciamma)
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
We said: "Portrait of a Lady on Fire owes as much to gothic horror as gothic romance. It confirms Sciamma as a powerfully intoxicating filmmaker."

The Souvenir (Joanna Hogg)
the souvenir
We said: "The Souvenir is at once Hogg's most accessible and accomplished work to date, a heartfelt tribute to those who make it out the other side of toxic partnerships, and to those who succumb along the way."

Too Late to Die Young (Dominga Sotomayor Castillo)
Too Late to Die Young
We said: "While Castillo's film is concerned with its physical and natural environment, and how its characters interact and coexist within their surrounds, it's first and foremost the story of a young woman fumbling her way out of the cocoon of adolescence and attempting to spread her adult wings."