With awards season in full swing, it’s no wonder there’s a movie buzz in the air. And it’s exciting to see females in film less frequently depicted solely as heroines in danger or secondary characters, and instead more akin to the strong, independent, take-no-BS women we know and admire. Get your Netflix queue and to-watch lists ready for these upcoming films — more than half of which are directed by women! — with leading ladies who are marvelously multidimensional.
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Release date: February 1, 2019
In this remake of a 2011 action film of the same name, Gina Rodriguez stars as a young woman who gets pulled into the dangerous world of drug cartels in Tijuana, Mexico, and has to use her strength and ingenuity to save herself and her family. According to Hardwicke, 95 percent of the film’s cast and crew are Latinx, making this one of the most diverse of the year.
Director: Adam Shankman
Release date: February 8, 2019
In a comedy that flips the script of Nancy Meyers’ What Women Want,Taraji P. Henson plays an ambitious sports agent who gets passed over for a promotion, and then after a visit to a psychic discovers she can hear men’s thoughts. She wastes no time using her newfound power to give herself an advantage in her male-dominated industry.
3 "The Rhythm Section"
Director: Reed Morano
Release date: February 22, 2019
This spy thriller, based on novels by Mark Burnell and directed by the female EP of The Handmaid’s Tale, stars Blake Lively as a woman who seeks revenge after her family is killed in a plane crash that she learns was no accident. She assumes a new identity during her mission to uncover the truth. Film fact: Production was temporarily suspended after Lively underwent two hand surgeries (yikes!) for an injury sustained while performing a stunt.
Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Release date: March 8, 2019
Marvel Studios’ first movie to feature a female superhero in the lead role introduces us to Carol Danvers, played by Brie Larson, a former Air Force pilot who develops superpowers after an accident, and subsequently enters a galactic battle against alien forces. Kids and teens of the ‘90s will appreciate that the action is set in the Blockbuster Video era.
Director: Richard Linklater
Release date: March 22, 2019
Based on a bestseller by Maria Semple, this dramedy stars Cate Blanchett as an eccentric woman with agoraphobia who goes missing just before a family trip. The story is told from the perspective of her teen daughter, who sets off on a journey with her father to find Bernadette. The supporting cast includes the fabulous Kristen Wiig and Judy Greer.
Director: Jon Favreau
Release date: July 19, 2019
With Beyoncé Knowles set to star as brave Nala — Simba’s childhood friend and eventual wife — in this live-action Disney adaptation, you know I couldn’t leave this movie off the list. If the trailer is any indication, this is bound to be an epic take on the beloved tale. Hardcore Disney fans likely won’t be disappointed.
Director: Michael Engler
Release date: September 20, 2019
Fans of the UK’s historical TV drama that made its way across the pond and into the hearts of Anglophiles everywhere, have been eagerly awaiting this film, which will star the original principal cast, including the amazing Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, and Michelle Dockery, who, respectively, play three generations of feisty Crawley family matriarchs.
Director: Andrea Berloff
Release date: September 20, 2019
In this crime drama, set in 1978, funny ladies Melissa McCarthy, Elisabeth Moss, and Tiffany Haddish star as New York housewives who after their Irish mobster husbands are sent to prison are tasked with taking over the mafia business for them and end up doing a bang up job.
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Release date: November 1, 2019
Banks is back in the director’s chair (post-Pitch Perfect 2) to helm—and possibly star as the voice of Charlie—in another reboot of the TV hit from the ‘70s and ‘80s, featuring a kickass trio of female detectives. Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska are expected to star as the title characters.
Director: Greta Gerwig
Release date: December 25, 2019
This classic female-centric story returns to the big screen, directed by the woman who gave us a more modern version of the coming-of-age trope in Lady Bird. The latest adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel, which follows the lives of the multifaceted March sisters in the late 1800s, will star Saoirse Ronan as Jo, Emma Watson as Meg, Florence Pugh as Amy, Eliza Scanlen as Beth, Meryl Streep as Aunt March, and Laura Dern as Marmee March.