You can count on one hand the number of female directors who have been nominated for a Best Director Oscar in the award’s 90-year history. You can count on one finger the number of female directors who have won the Best Director prize. But despite their meager showing at awards ceremonies, female directors are thriving in the independent and film festival circuit, with films like Lynne Ramsay‘s lean thriller You Were Never Really Here winning the Cannes screenplay prize or Debra Granik‘s quietly devastating survival drama Leave No Trace earning raves at Sundance. Marielle Heller helmed the Telluride Film Festival darling Can You Ever Forgive Me, which earned a whopping three Oscar nominations for acting and screenplay.
But despite the inroads female filmmakers have made, the Best Director category found itself reverting back to the all-male status quo once again.
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At the beginning of 2018, Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig became only the fifth woman in history to be nominated for a Best Director award at the Oscars. “That’s one hand!” she enumerated to USA Today following her indoctrination into the sadly small mile-high club. It’s a club that unfortunately looks to remain small as most female directors remain out of the awards conversation and new reports emerge that female filmmakers saw their numbers shrink in 2018.
But before you write off 2018 as a bad year for women — or at least a step backwards after 2017’s industry-shattering breakthrough success with Gerwig, Patty Jenkins, and more — I implore you to take a closer look. Last year saw Anna Boden, along with Ryan Fleck, taking the helm for Marvel’s upcoming Captain Marvel, and the announcement of Cathy Yan directing Birds of Prey for DC and Warner Bros. And the slate of Sundance darlings were overwhelmingly female-fronted — from Sarah Colangelo‘s unnerving The Kindergarten Teacher, to Desiree Akhavan‘s ebullient The Miseducation of Cameron Post, to Jennifer Fox‘s harrowing abuse drama The Tale. Lynne Ramsay, Josephine Drecker, and Chloe Zhao achieved some of the highest critical acclaim of the year for their films You Were Never Really Here, Madeline’s Madeline, and The Rider, respectively. Hell, there were two movies about Ruth Bader Ginsburg directed by women in 2018.
The numbers may not be speaking, but the quality remains unquestionable. Female directors are slowly making inroads in Hollywood, and while they may not be breaking the Top 100 — or may get unjustly snubbed by the Oscars yet again — don’t believe anyone when they say there are no female directors. Here 18 movies directed by women in 2018 that you should watch.
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Scottish filmmaker Lynne Ramsay, who turned heads earlier this year with the Joaquin Phoenix thriller You Were Never Really Here, has revealed a few more details about her next film – and she’s heading into horror territory. Read more about the upcoming Lynne Ramsay horror movie below. Read More »
Lynne Ramsay was never really trying to break the mold. The director of this year’s critical darling You Were Never Really Here chooses her movies with discretion, with a six-year gap between the Joaquin Phoenix-starring noir thriller and her last film, the haunting psychological drama We Need to Talk About Kevin. Only four feature films total populate Ramsay’s entire catalogue, each of them critically beloved, each of them inflicting a different kind of violence upon the audience. “We’ve seen a lot of violence in film that it’s become almost banal,” Ramsay told /Film in an interview ahead of You Were Never Really Here‘s digital release on the Amazon Prime streaming platform. “It’s actually more scary not to show it.”
That’s the genius of You Were Never Really Here, a taut and moody thriller centering around Phoenix’s PTSD-suffering hit man who rescues trafficked girls. In other hands, the film would paint Phoenix as a glamorous lone wolf, an anti-hero who beats down societal corruption with his bare fists. But in Ramsay’s hands and in Phoenix’s gaunt, weary performance, You Were Never Really Here shows us a different kind of anti-hero.
Here is what Ramsay had to say about defying the “knight in shining armor” clichés, Phoenix’s role in shaping the character of Joe, and what Ramsay thinks about Phoenix’s current role as the Joker.
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You know you’re not going to see an average genre piece from writer-director Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin). With her new Joaquin Pheonix-led movie, You Were Never Really Here, Ramsay has made an unflinching thriller that follows its own rules instead of conventions. Based on Jonathan Aames‘ (Bored to Death) novel, Ramsay uses a few familiar genre elements to tell a story that’s as much about PTSD as it is about an assassin searching for a kidnapped teen.
A thriller told through Ramsay’s lens has the physical action play off-screen, and what’s going on within Phoenix’s character take center stage in almost every frame. The way Ramsay and her collaborators depict the character’s point-of-view and New York City is unnerving, sometimes hellish. Even a shot of a jelly bean is hard to shake after watching You Were Never Really Here.
We recently spoke with Ramsay about her fourth feature film, her first experience shooting digitally, making her first genre piece, Johnny Greenwood‘s score, and more.
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(In our Spoiler Reviews, we take a deep dive into a new release and get to the heart of what makes it tick…and every story point is up for discussion. In this entry: Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here.)
There’s a lot going on in Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, and we see almost none of it. And yet, we still see everything we need to see. With a shockingly sparse presentation, Ramsay has concocted a lean, mean movie that skimps on specifics yet still packs a wallop. It’s one of the most remarkable examples of less-is-more storytelling in recent memory.
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Revenge thrillers are usually a dime a dozen. A bad guy messes with the wrong guy at the wrong time in the wrong way, and all hell breaks loose. These kind of movies seem to have gotten even more redundant ever since Taken became a hit and revitalized this subgenre of action films, but thankfully there are also standouts like Blue Ruin and John Wick proving that these kind of movies can still kick-ass and feature quality filmmaking. Now, another revenge thriller has come along, this time for the arthouse crowd to eat up.
You Were Never Really Here follows Joaquin Phoenix as a hired gun recruited on the down-low through a simple but secretive operator service to deliver pain to people who have done some bad things. In the hands of a blockbuster filmmaker, this would be a straightforward action movie, but in the hands of We Need to Talk About Kevin director Lynne Ramsay, the experience is so much more cerebral. This film, based on Jonathan Ames’ novel of the same name, is also painfully brutal and intense. Read More »
After a six year break from features, director Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin) is back with You Were Never Really Here, a film that looks to be a cross between Taken and Taxi Driver. This violent drama debuted at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and earned high praise from those who caught it, and it’s easy to see why: this movie looks like it rules. Check out a new UK trailer for the film below.
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Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we get wild with Joaquin Phoenix, get Larry David involved in a real life murder situation, get a slice of life that feels incredibly real, get back to our teenage horror roots, light off some large firecrackers, and give it up for a smoothest dancer this side of the middle east. Read More »
Amazon wants to start producing 15 movies a year with “top filmmakers.” They’ve already collaborated with some notable directors, having joined forces with David O. Russell and Nicolas Winding Refn for some shows, in addition to distributing Kenneth Lonergan‘s Manchester by the Sea. Now, they’re producing the latest films from Todd Haynes (
Carol) and Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin), and for a good reason, the company wants their work shown in a theater like the rest of us.
Below, learn why Amazon theatrical releases matter to the distributor.
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