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The 270 Best Movies Directed By Women of the 21st Century

For Women’s History Month, Rotten Tomatoes is commemorating the work of women directors throughout the 21st Century. Our guide to the 270 best-reviewed movies by women filmmakers since 2000 includes documentary marvels like Nanfu Wang’s One Child Nation and Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson as well as unforgettable narrative features like Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Ava DuVernay’s Selma. The movies on the list cover an expansive breadth of topics, characters, and stories. They dispel the fallacy that women directors can only tell one type of story, one gorgeous image after moving story after another.

Women have been shaping cinema since its earliest days. Silent era pioneers like Alice Guy-Blaché and Lois Weber blazed a trail as influential as their male counterparts; screenwriters like Francis Marion and editors like Margaret Booth were celebrated for their work, and Booth would go on to be one of the most influential voices on the MGM Studio lot. But as the film business became more lucrative, women were largely and unceremoniously pushed out of the creative and decision-making side of filmmaking. While many broke through with incredible work — among them Dorothy Arzner, Elaine May, Agnès Varda, and Kathryn Bigelow, who became the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Director for her film The Hurt Locker — the decades after the silent era and through the end of the 20th century saw filmmaking, especially in the mainstream, increasingly dominated by men. 

The past two decades have seen some great movement, though, and some major milestones hit (that Oscar win for Bigelow; Patty Jenkins’ historic work on Wonder Woman). The directors on this list include Lulu Wang, whose touching movie The Farewell won critical and industry acclaim, as well as Céline Sciamma for her latest film, Portrait of a Lady on Fire. (Now, if only the Academy would acknowledge their efforts…). There’s also Waad Al-Kateab, who with fellow director Edward Watts, brought her searing personal experience of the Syrian conflict to viewers around the world in For Sama, and Dominga Sotomayor Castillo, who took audiences with her back to 1990s Chile in her coming-of-age drama Too Late to Die Young. Sabaah Folayan’s feature debut Whose Streets? sits near Agnès Varda’s final documentaries Varda by Agnès and Faces Places.

To make the list, we looked at the top Certified Fresh films rated 90% and above directed by women since 2000, including those in directing teams. We ordered them reverse chronologically: At the end you’ll see 2022’s additions, including Till, Aftersun, The Woman King, Women Talking, Catherine Called Birdy, Bodies Bodies Bodies, Fresh, and She Said.

Enjoy the following list as a guide to some of the best movies by women directors so far this century. No two movies are alike in their ability to entertain, inform or reach us. – Monica Castillo 


Page 1: Movies from 2020-present | Page 2: Movies from 2010-2019 | Page 3: Movies from 2000-2009
#1

V/H/S/99 (2022)
76%

#1
Adjusted Score: 78087%
Critics Consensus: Like most anthologies, V/H/S/99 has its ups and downs -- but more often than not, this collection of shorts continues the franchise's recent creative rebound.
Synopsis: V/H/S/99 harkens back to the final punk rock analog days of VHS, while taking one giant leap forward into the... [More]

#2

Girl Picture (2022)
99%

#2
Adjusted Score: 102173%
Critics Consensus: Sensitively written and beautifully acted, Girl Picture captures the whirlwind of teenage emotions without sacrificing narrative maturity and depth.
Synopsis: Best friends Mimmi and Rönkkö work after school at a food court smoothie kiosk, frankly swapping stories of their frustrations... [More]
Directed By: Alli Haapasalo

#3

Till (2022)
96%

#3
Adjusted Score: 106032%
Critics Consensus: Till reframes an historically horrific murder within a mother's grief, brought heartwrenchingly to life by Danielle Deadwyler's tremendous performance.
Synopsis: Till is a profoundly emotional and cinematic film about the true story of Mamie Till Mobley's relentless pursuit of justice... [More]
Directed By: Chinonye Chukwu

#4

Sissy (2022)
96%

#4
Adjusted Score: 99286%
Critics Consensus: Sissy weaves timely themes into its rich blend of horror and dark humor, topped off by terrific work from a talented cast led by Aisha Dee.
Synopsis: Cecilia and Emma were tween-age BFFs who were going to grow old together and never let anything come between them,... [More]
Directed By: Hannah Barlow, Kane Senes

#5

Turning Red (2022)
95%

#5
Adjusted Score: 110546%
Critics Consensus: Heartwarming, humorous, beautifully animated, and culturally expansive, Turning Red extends Pixar's long list of family-friendly triumphs.
Synopsis: In "Turning Red", Mei Lee is a confident, dorky thirteen-year-old torn between staying her mother's dutiful daughter and the chaos... [More]
Directed By: Domee Shi

#6

The Woman King (2022)
94%

#6
Adjusted Score: 108662%
Critics Consensus: All hail Viola Davis! The Woman King rules.
Synopsis: The Woman King is the remarkable story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom... [More]
Directed By: Gina Prince-Bythewood

#7
Adjusted Score: 105090%
Critics Consensus: Sexual awakening stories aren't in short supply, but Good Luck to You, Leo Grande proves you can still tell one with a refreshing -- and very funny -- spin.
Synopsis: In GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE, two-time Academy Award winner Emma Thompson (Love, Actually) embodies the candor and apprehension... [More]
Directed By: Sophie Hyde

#8

Aftersun (2022)
96%

#8
Adjusted Score: 108890%
Critics Consensus: Led by Frankie Corio's tremendous performance, Aftersun deftly ushers audiences to the intersection between our memories of loved ones and who they really are.
Synopsis: At a fading vacation resort, 11-year-old Sophie treasures rare time together with her loving and idealistic father, Calum (Paul Mescal).... [More]
Directed By: Charlotte Wells

#9

Hatching (2022)
93%

#9
Adjusted Score: 99659%
Critics Consensus: A message movie in a hard horror shell, Hatching perches between beauty and revulsion -- and establishes director Hanna Bergholm as a bright new talent.
Synopsis: In HATCHING, 12-year-old gymnast, Tinja (Siiri Solalinna), is desperate to please her image-obsessed mother, whose popular blog 'Lovely Everyday Life'... [More]
Directed By: Hanna Bergholm

#10

God's Creatures (2022)
89%

#10
Adjusted Score: 93430%
Critics Consensus: Painfully raw yet rewarding, God's Creatures explores the limits of a mother's love with an outstanding Emily Watson leading the way.
Synopsis: In a windswept fishing village, a mother is torn between protecting her beloved son and her own sense of right... [More]

#11

Piggy (2022)
91%

#11
Adjusted Score: 95773%
Critics Consensus: Brought hauntingly to life by Laura Galán's committed performance, Piggy deftly deploys genre thrills in service of sharp social commentary.
Synopsis: With the summer sun beating down on her rural Spanish town, Sara hides away in her parent's butcher shop. A... [More]
Directed By: Carlota Pereda

#12

Deadstream (2022)
91%

#12
Adjusted Score: 93332%
Critics Consensus: Proof that there's still life in the found-footage gimmick, Deadstream is a scarily good bit of B-movie fun.
Synopsis: After a public controversy left him disgraced and demonetized, a washed up internet personality tries to win back his followers... [More]

#13

Nanny (2022)
90%

#13
Adjusted Score: 97174%
Critics Consensus: Led by Anna Diop's strong central performance, the smartly disquieting Nanny is a promising debut for writer-director Nikyatu Jusu.
Synopsis: In this psychological horror fable of displacement, Aisha (Anna Diop), a woman who recently emigrated from Senegal, is hired to... [More]
Directed By: Nikyatu Jusu

#14

Women Talking (2022)
90%

#14
Adjusted Score: 105918%
Critics Consensus: While Women Talking sometimes forsakes entertaining drama in favor of simply getting its points across, its message is valuable -- and effectively delivered.
Synopsis: Do nothing. Stay and fight. Or leave. In 2010, the women of an isolated religious community grapple with reconciling a... [More]
Directed By: Sarah Polley

#15

Alcarràs (2022)
93%

#15
Adjusted Score: 95315%
Critics Consensus: While it may lack a narrative punch, Alcarràs captures this rural world and its heritage with a gripping sense of nostalgia for things forever gone.
Synopsis: In a small village in Catalonia, the peach farmers of the Solé family spend every summer together picking fruit from... [More]
Directed By: Carla Simón

#16

Vesper (2022)
91%

#16
Adjusted Score: 93830%
Critics Consensus: More visually impressive than narratively engaging, Vesper rewards patient viewers with immersive world-building and intelligent ideas.
Synopsis: After the collapse of Earth's ecosystem, Vesper, a 13-year-old girl struggling to survive with her Father, must use her wits,... [More]

#17

One Fine Morning (2022)
93%

#17
Adjusted Score: 100460%
Critics Consensus: Finely wrought to a fault, One Fine Morning presents a subtle, well-acted look at life and love.
Synopsis: Sandra, a young mother who raises her daughter alone, pays regular visits to her sick father. While she and her... [More]
Directed By: Mia Hansen-Løve

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 94430%
Critics Consensus: Bringing a beloved book brilliantly to life, Catherine Called Birdy proves a well-told coming-of-age story can feel fresh regardless of the period setting.
Synopsis: The year? 1290. In the Medieval English village of Stonebridge, Lady Catherine (known as Birdy) is the youngest child of... [More]
Directed By: Lena Dunham

#19

She Said (2022)
88%

#19
Adjusted Score: 102663%
Critics Consensus: Although She Said struggles to add cinematic flair to its fact-based story, it remains a worthy, well-acted tribute to journalistic integrity.
Synopsis: Two-time Academy Award® nominee Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman, An Education) and Zoe Kazan (The Plot Against America limited series,... [More]
Directed By: Maria Schrader

#20

Watcher (2022)
88%

#20
Adjusted Score: 95574%
Critics Consensus: Although its story may lack surprises, Watcher benefits from director Chloe Okuno's chilling grip on the material -- and Maika Monroe's terrific work in the leading role.
Synopsis: As a serial killer stalks the city, Julia -- a young actress who just moved to town with her boyfriend... [More]
Directed By: Chloe Okuno

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 90001%
Critics Consensus: My Father's Dragon will soar particularly high with very young viewers, but this animated adventure has something to offer audiences of all ages.
Synopsis: Struggling to cope after a move to the city with his mother, Elmer runs away in search of Wild Island... [More]
Directed By: Nora Twomey

#22

Corsage (2022)
87%

#22
Adjusted Score: 94917%
Critics Consensus: Corsage puts a refreshingly irreverent spin on period biopic formulas, further elevated by Vicky Krieps' terrific turn in the central role.
Synopsis: Empress Elizabeth of Austria is idolized for her beauty and renowned for inspiring fashion trends. But in 1877, 'Sissi' celebrates... [More]
Directed By: Marie Kreutzer

#23

Causeway (2022)
85%

#23
Adjusted Score: 93775%
Critics Consensus: Causeway takes a powerfully subdued look at the lingering effects of trauma, led by gripping performances from Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry.
Synopsis: "Causeway" is an intimate portrait of a soldier struggling to adjust to her life after returning home to New Orleans.... [More]
Directed By: Lila Neugebauer

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 97374%
Critics Consensus: Impeccably cast and smartly written, Bodies Bodies Bodies is an uncommonly well-done whodunit.
Synopsis: When a group of rich 20-somethings plan a hurricane party at a remote family mansion, a party game goes awry... [More]
Directed By: Halina Reijn

#25

Glorious (2022)
87%

#25
Adjusted Score: 89486%
Critics Consensus: With thought-provoking themes lurking beneath its absurd premise, Glorious is a brightly blood-spattered genre treat from director Rebekah McKendry.
Synopsis: A heartbroken man finds himself trapped in a bathroom with a strange voice who says he may be the only... [More]
Directed By: Rebekah McKendry

#26

Rosaline (2022)
74%

#26
Adjusted Score: 77629%
Critics Consensus: Rosaline covers well-trod territory, but Kaitlyn Dever's engaging performance in the title role makes this period romance easy to love.
Synopsis: "Rosaline" is a fresh and comedic twist on Shakespeare's classic love story "Romeo & Juliet," told from the perspective of... [More]
Directed By: Karen Maine

#27

Master (2022)
75%

#27
Adjusted Score: 83089%
Critics Consensus: It can be didactic rather than truly suspenseful, but Master is an impressively well-crafted horror outing with a lot on its mind.
Synopsis: At an elite New England university built on the site of a Salem-era gallows hill, three women strive to find... [More]
Directed By: Mariama Diallo

#28

Next Exit (2022)
80%

#28
Adjusted Score: 82202%
Critics Consensus: Much like a good long drive, Next Exit is a road trip movie whose uneven stretches of boredom and excitement somehow serve to sweeten the journey.
Synopsis: When a research scientist makes national news proving she can track people into the afterlife, Rose sees a way out... [More]
Directed By: Mali Elfman

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 88630%
Critics Consensus: Mr. Malcolm's List references countless Regency romps without particularly distinguishing itself from the pack, but it gently entertains as a diversely-cast ode to Jane Austen's works.
Synopsis: When she fails to meet an item on his list of requirements for a bride, Julia Thistlewaite (Zawe Ashton) is... [More]
Directed By: Emma Holly Jones

#30

Fresh (2022)
81%

#30
Adjusted Score: 91889%
Critics Consensus: As gripping as it is upsetting, Fresh makes a provocative meal out of the horror of modern dating.
Synopsis: FRESH follows Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones), who meets the alluring Steve (Sebastian Stan) at a grocery store and -- given her... [More]
Directed By: Mimi Cave

#31

Call Jane (2022)
82%

#31
Adjusted Score: 88774%
Critics Consensus: Although its focus is somewhat narrow, Call Jane is an entertaining and dramatically effective dramatization of a pivotal chapter in American history.
Synopsis: Chicago, 1968. As the city and the nation are poised on the brink of political upheaval, suburban housewife Joy (Elizabeth... [More]
Directed By: Phyllis Nagy

#32

Alice, Darling (2022)
84%

#32
Adjusted Score: 89974%
Critics Consensus: Flawed but quietly powerful, Alice, Darling offers a haunting look at how difficult it can be to leave an abusive relationship -- and the value of a solid support network.
Synopsis: In the taut thriller ALICE, DARLING, Oscar® nominee Anna Kendrick ("Up in the Air") stars as a woman pushed to... [More]
Directed By: Mary Nighy

#33

Do Revenge (2022)
84%

#33
Adjusted Score: 87744%
Critics Consensus: Do Revenge could have used a bit more bite, but Maya Hawke and Camila Mendes make this a sweet dish best served to viewers who understand that high school can be hell.
Synopsis: Drea (Camila Mendes) is at the peak of her high school powers as the Alpha it-girl on campus when her... [More]

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 89858%
Critics Consensus: Elevated by impeccable work from Claire Denis and Juliette Binoche, Both Sides of the Blade is a relationship drama that cuts deep.
Synopsis: Juliette Binoche is Sara, a woman whose life spirals out of control when she becomes involved in a passionate love... [More]
Directed By: Claire Denis

#35

Pray Away (2020)
92%

#35
Adjusted Score: 93629%
Critics Consensus: Pray Away presents a compassionate picture of the damage wrought by so-called conversion therapy -- on its subjects as well as its proponents.
Synopsis: Five evangelicals in the 1970s break away and form Exodus International, a group that claims that gay people can become... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Kristine Stolakis

#36

Shiva Baby (2020)
97%

#36
Adjusted Score: 105337%
Critics Consensus: A ruefully funny calling card for debuting director Emma Seligman, Shiva Baby transcends its sitcom setup with strong performances and satisfying insights.
Synopsis: While at a Jewish funeral service with her parents, a college student has an awkward encounter with her sugar daddy... [More]
Directed By: Emma Seligman

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 98211%
Critics Consensus: Together Together explores love and parenthood from unexpected angles, capturing a broad spectrum of emotions through Patti Harrison and Ed Helms' starring performances.
Synopsis: When young loner Anna is hired as the gestational surrogate for Matt, a single man in his 40s who wants... [More]
Directed By: Nikole Beckwith

#38

V/H/S/94 (2021)
91%

#38
Adjusted Score: 93596%
Critics Consensus: V/H/S/94 gets the franchise back on track with a gory buffet of shorts that should delight horror anthology fans.
Synopsis: A Shudder Original Film, V/H/S/94 is the fourth installment in the hit horror anthology franchise and marks the return of... [More]

#39

Ailey (2021)
90%

#39
Adjusted Score: 93400%
Critics Consensus: Ailey pays invigorating tribute to its subject's brilliant legacy -- and offers a tantalizing introduction to the rest of a fascinating story.
Synopsis: Alvin Ailey was a trailblazing pioneer who found salvation through dance. AILEY traces the full contours of this brilliant and... [More]
Directed By: Jamila Wignot

#40

Martyrs Lane (2021)
90%

#40
Adjusted Score: 91629%
Critics Consensus: Well-acted by its young leads, Martyrs Lane tells a slow-burning ghost story that gathers real emotional weight.
Synopsis: In this unsettling ghost story, Leah, 10, lives in a large, old house with her family but can't quite work... [More]
Directed By: Ruth Platt

#41

Passing (2021)
90%

#41
Adjusted Score: 102414%
Critics Consensus: While Passing's delicate approach has a dampening effect on its story, debuting director Rebecca Hall makes the most of an impressive cast -- and handles thorny themes with impressive dexterity.
Synopsis: In 1920s New York City, a Black woman finds her world upended when her life becomes intertwined with a former... [More]
Directed By: Rebecca Hall

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 96191%
Critics Consensus: Drawing on another terrific performance from Honor Swinton Byrne, The Souvenir Part II continues its story with profound emotional complexity and elegant storytelling.
Synopsis: In the aftermath of her tumultuous relationship with a charismatic and manipulative older man, Julie begins to untangle her fraught... [More]
Directed By: Joanna Hogg

#43

El Planeta (2021)
95%

#43
Adjusted Score: 96308%
Critics Consensus: El Planeta taps into real-life economic anxiety to present a darkly humorous glimpse of life spent teetering on the edge of financial ruin.
Synopsis: Amidst the devastation of post-crisis Spain, mother and daughter bluff and grift to keep up the lifestyle they think they... [More]
Directed By: Amalia Ulman

#44
Adjusted Score: 99366%
Critics Consensus: Like the show whose groundbreaking creation it commemorates, Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street is as enlightening as it is purely entertaining.
Synopsis: Street Gang will take us inside the minds and hearts of the Sesame Street creators to help us understand not... [More]
Directed By: Marilyn Agrelo

#45
Adjusted Score: 101066%
Critics Consensus: An affecting profile of screen legend Rita Moreno, Just a Girl is at once a sharp critique of the industry's crushing inequities and a beautiful homage to an artist who never backed down despite the odds.
Synopsis: Over a 70+ year career, Rita Moreno defied both her humble upbringing and relentless racism to become a celebrated and... [More]
Directed By: Mariem Pérez Riera

#46

Plan B (2021)
96%

#46
Adjusted Score: 97898%
Critics Consensus: Plan B doesn't overplay its timely message -- and it doesn't have to, thanks to a sharp, funny script and the sparkling chemistry between its charming stars.
Synopsis: After a regrettable sexual encounter, a straight-laced student and her best friend have 24 hours to hunt down a Plan... [More]
Directed By: Natalie Morales

#47
#47
Adjusted Score: 98059%
Critics Consensus: Gripping and clear-eyed, In the Same Breath captures history as it's being written -- and governmental failures as they amplify worldwide tragedy.
Synopsis: IN THE SAME BREATH recounts the experiences of people on the ground in the earliest days of the novel coronavirus... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Nanfu Wang

#48

The Novice (2021)
93%

#48
Adjusted Score: 96668%
Critics Consensus: A remarkable first feature for writer-director Lauren Hadaway, The Novice paints a thrilling -- and disturbing -- portrait of obsession.
Synopsis: Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan) plays Alex Dall, a queer college freshman who joins her university's rowing team and undertakes an obsessive... [More]
Directed By: Lauren Hadaway

#49

I'm Your Man (2021)
96%

#49
Adjusted Score: 102779%
Critics Consensus: With a thought-provoking concept brought to humorous life by a pair of well-matched leads, I'm Your Man is an AI rom-com whose intelligence is anything but artificial.
Synopsis: In order to obtain funds for her research, Alma (Maren Eggert) is persuaded to participate in an extraordinary study. For... [More]
Directed By: Maria Schrader

#50

Petite Maman (2021)
97%

#50
Adjusted Score: 107697%
Critics Consensus: Small in narrative scope but deeply impactful, Petite Maman is a delicate, powerfully acted meditation on grief.
Synopsis: Céline Sciamma continues to prove herself as one of the most accomplished and unpredictable contemporary French filmmakers with her follow... [More]
Directed By: Céline Sciamma

#51

The Rescue (2021)
96%

#51
Adjusted Score: 100526%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The Rescue chronicles the enthralling, against-all-odds story that transfixed the world in 2018: the daring rescue of twelve boys and... [More]

#52

Attica (2021)
100%

#52
Adjusted Score: 102005%
Critics Consensus: Attica revisits the titular riot with intelligence, compassion, and anger, presenting a version of events that honors history as much as it exemplifies the art of documentary filmmaking.
Synopsis: During the summer of 1971, tensions between inmates and guards at the Attica Correctional Facility are at an all-time high.... [More]
Starring: Clarence Jones

#53
#53
Adjusted Score: 100221%
Critics Consensus: As visually thrilling as it is edifying, Becoming Cousteau pays fitting tribute to a pioneering explorer and environmental advocate.
Synopsis: Adventurer, filmmaker, inventor, author, unlikely celebrity and conservationist: For over four decades, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his explorations under the ocean... [More]
Directed By: Liz Garbus

#54

Julia (2021)
96%

#54
Adjusted Score: 100741%
Critics Consensus: Befitting the culinary aesthetic favored by the brilliant chef it honors, Julia uses fresh, simple ingredients to create a sumptuous documentary feast.
Synopsis: JULIA tells the story of the legendary cookbook author and television superstar who changed the way Americans think about food,... [More]
Directed By: Julie Cohen, Betsy West

#55

Hive (2021)
100%

#55
Adjusted Score: 103025%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by Yllka Gashi's outstanding performance, Hive leads viewers on one woman's fact-based quest for self-determination in a patriarchal society.
Synopsis: HIVE is a searing drama based on the true story of Fahrije (Yllka Gashi), who, like many of the other... [More]
Directed By: Blerta Basholli

#56
Adjusted Score: 101686%
Critics Consensus: Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror takes a fascinating deep dive that'll leave like-minded viewers making numerous new additions to their streaming queues.
Synopsis: WOODLANDS DARK AND DAYS BEWITCHED is the first feature-length documentary on the history of folk horror, exploring the phenomenon from... [More]
Directed By: Kier-La Janisse

#57

CODA (2021)
94%

#57
Adjusted Score: 108828%
Critics Consensus: CODA's story offers few surprises, but strong representation and a terrific cast -- led by Emilia Jones' brilliant performance -- bring this coming-of-age story vividly to life.
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Ruby (Emilia Jones) is the sole hearing member of a deaf family -- a CODA, child of deaf adults.... [More]
Directed By: Sian Heder

#58
#58
Adjusted Score: 112478%
Critics Consensus: Brought to life by a stellar ensemble led by Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog reaffirms writer-director Jane Campion as one of her generation's finest filmmakers.
Synopsis: Severe, pale-eyed, handsome, Phil Burbank is brutally beguiling. All of Phil's romance, power and fragility is trapped in the past... [More]
Directed By: Jane Campion

#59

Happening (2021)
99%

#59
Adjusted Score: 107174%
Critics Consensus: A tough but rewarding watch, Happening puts a personal face on an impossibly difficult choice and its heart-rending aftermath.
Synopsis: France, 1963. Anne is a bright young student with a promising future ahead of her. But when she falls pregnant,... [More]
Directed By: Audrey Diwan

#60

Hellbender (2021)
97%

#60
Adjusted Score: 99649%
Critics Consensus: Hellbender stirs a boiling cauldron of adolescent angst, serving up a coming-of-age story with dark horror overtones.
Synopsis: A teen and her mother live simply in a home in the woods, spending their time making metal music. A... [More]

#61

Neptune Frost (2021)
97%

#61
Adjusted Score: 100614%
Critics Consensus: Bursting with ideas and ambition, Neptune Frost is difficult to describe -- and just as hard to resist.
Synopsis: In an otherworldly e-waste camp made of recycled computer parts, a subversive hacking collective attempts a takeover of the authoritarian... [More]

#62

Gagarine (2020)
95%

#62
Adjusted Score: 96681%
Critics Consensus: Balancing whimsy-tinged magic realism against serious themes of community and displacement, Gagarine is as bracingly original as it is ultimately poignant.
Synopsis: Teenager Youri (gifted newcomer Alseni Bathily) has lived his whole life in the tight-knit community of Gagarine, even being named... [More]

#63

The Pink Cloud (2021)
93%

#63
Adjusted Score: 95220%
Critics Consensus: An eerily relevant debut from writer-director Iuli Gerbase, The Pink Cloud reaches into the emotional fault lines of pandemic life and comes away with striking observations about human behavior.
Synopsis: A mysterious and deadly pink cloud appears across the globe, forcing everyone to stay home. Strangers at the outset, Giovana... [More]
Directed By: Iuli Gerbase

#64

You Resemble Me (2021)
92%

#64
Adjusted Score: 93093%
Critics Consensus: A haunting look at the roots of radicalization, You Resemble Me wrings harrowing drama out of its fact-based coming-of-age story.
Synopsis: YOU RESEMBLE ME tells the true story of Hasna Ait Boulahcen, a woman who was falsely accused of being Europe's... [More]
Directed By: Dina Amer

#65

The Fallout (2021)
93%

#65
Adjusted Score: 95704%
Critics Consensus: Empathetic and well-acted, The Fallout uses the aftermath of teen trauma to grapple with the experience of grief.
Synopsis: Bolstered by new friendships forged under sudden and tragic circumstances, high schooler Vada (Jenna Ortega) begins to reinvent herself, while... [More]
Directed By: Megan Park

#66
Adjusted Score: 95439%
Critics Consensus: Narratively challenging and visually haunting, We're All Going to the World's Fair adds a uniquely ambitious and unsettling entry to the crowded coming-of-age genre.
Synopsis: Late on a cold night somewhere in the U.S., teenage Casey (Anna Cobb in her feature debut) sits alone in... [More]
Directed By: Jane Schoenbrun

#67

Murina (2021)
91%

#67
Adjusted Score: 94399%
Critics Consensus: A coming-of-age story with a uniquely sunny noir spin, Murina deftly explores dark themes against a deceptively idyllic setting.
Synopsis: Tensions rise between restless teenager Julija and her oppressive father Ante when an old family friend arrives at their Croatian... [More]

#68

Anaïs in Love (2021)
90%

#68
Adjusted Score: 92757%
Critics Consensus: The main character may be hard to like, but Anaïs in Love offers a well-acted and breezily humorous take on its admittedly well-worn themes.
Synopsis: ANAIS IN LOVE is a buoyant French comedy from filmmaker Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet. Boasting a playfully magnetic performance by star Anaïs... [More]

#69
#69
Adjusted Score: 91187%
Critics Consensus: Smartly creepy, You Are Not My Mother engages with a number of thought-provoking themes without sacrificing chills.
Synopsis: It's the week before Halloween. Char's bedridden mother, Angela, has mysteriously gone missing. All that remains is her abandoned car... [More]
Directed By: Kate Dolan

#70

Pleasure (2021)
88%

#70
Adjusted Score: 93492%
Critics Consensus: Provocative on more than one level, Pleasure peels back the curtain on unsavory aspects of the adult film industry, with Sofia Kappel's powerful performance leading the way.
Synopsis: Ninja Thyberg's debut feature film Pleasure is a journey into the Los Angeles porn industry through the lens of newcomer... [More]
Directed By: Ninja Thyberg

#71

Good Madam (2021)
86%

#71
Adjusted Score: 87371%
Critics Consensus: Even if its ambitions are occasionally unwieldy, Good Madam offers effectively slow-burning horror anchored by thought-provoking themes.
Synopsis: Tsidi, a single mother, is forced to move in with her estranged mother Mavis, a live-in domestic worker caring obsessively... [More]
Directed By: Jenna Cato Bass

#72
Adjusted Score: 88435%
Critics Consensus: A coming-of-age story with a uniquely crowd-pleasing touch, Marvelous and the Black Hole transcends its familiar story with fresh direction and charming performances.
Synopsis: A teenage delinquent (Miya Cech) befriends a surly magician (Rhea Perlman) who helps her navigate her inner demons and dysfunctional... [More]
Directed By: Kate Tsang

#73

Here Before (2021)
86%

#73
Adjusted Score: 88979%
Critics Consensus: Resting its slowly twisting tale on a magnetic Andrea Riseborough performance, Here Before is a solidly unsettling effort from debuting writer-director Stacey Gregg.
Synopsis: When a new family moves in next door, their young daughter, Megan, quickly captivates Laura, stirring up painful memories of... [More]
Directed By: Stacey Gregg

#74

She Will (2021)
85%

#74
Adjusted Score: 87970%
Critics Consensus: More unsettling than truly scary, She Will casts a thoughtful, hypnotic spell made even stronger by its restrained approach and some strong performances.
Synopsis: An aging film star retreats to the Scottish countryside with her nurse to recover from surgery. While there, mysterious forces... [More]
Directed By: Charlotte Colbert

#75
Adjusted Score: 76702%
Critics Consensus: Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon finds writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour spinning a stylishly lurid -- if somewhat narratively undercooked -- fantasy yarn.
Synopsis: When a struggling single-mother (Kate Hudson) befriends a mysterious mental institute escapee with supernatural powers (Jun Jong Seo), she sees... [More]
Directed By: Ana Lily Amirpour

#76
Adjusted Score: 82274%
Critics Consensus: The Drover's Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson occasionally struggles to cohere, but writer-director-star Leah Purcell offers a unique, compelling perspective on historic myths.
Synopsis: In 1893 on an isolated property, a heavily pregnant woman named Molly Johnson (Leah Purcell) and her children struggle to... [More]
Directed By: Leah Purcell

#77

Medusa (2021)
83%

#77
Adjusted Score: 84844%
Critics Consensus: A stylish and well-acted tonal blend, Medusa confronts religious hypocrisy and sexism with invigorating anger.
Synopsis: Mari and her friends broadcast their spiritual devotion through pastel pinks and catchy evangelical songs about purity and perfection, but... [More]

#78

Clara Sola (2021)
93%

#78
Adjusted Score: 95165%
Critics Consensus: Discomfiting and dreamy, Clara Sola brings a sensual surreality to a story of oppressed autonomy, with debuting star Wendy Chinchilla Araya providing a mesmerizing focal point.
Synopsis: In a remote village in Costa Rica, 40-year-old Clara endures a repressively religious and withdrawn life under the command of... [More]

#79
Adjusted Score: 106227%
Critics Consensus: The Forty-Year-Old Version opens a compelling window into the ebbs and flows of the artist's life -- and announces writer-director-star Radha Blank as a major filmmaking talent with her feature debut.
Synopsis: Radha, a down-on-her-luck NY playwright, is desperate for a breakthrough before 40. But when she foils what seems like her... [More]
Directed By: Radha Blank

#80
#80
Adjusted Score: 104216%
Critics Consensus: Totally Under Control does a commendable job of distilling current events into a clear-eyed overview that's as engaging as it is enraging.
Synopsis: Public health officials discuss the U.S. government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.... [More]

#81

Miss Juneteenth (2020)
99%

#81
Adjusted Score: 107204%
Critics Consensus: Like a pageant winner walking across the stage, Miss Juneteenth follows a familiar path -- but does so with charm and grace.
Synopsis: A former beauty queen and single mom prepares her rebellious teenage daughter for the "Miss Juneteenth" pageant.... [More]

#82

Kajillionaire (2020)
90%

#82
Adjusted Score: 102041%
Critics Consensus: Whether you see Kajillionaire as refreshingly unique or simply bizarre will depend on your cinematic adventurousness -- and fans of writer-director Miranda July wouldn't have it any other way.
Synopsis: Two con artists have spent 26 years training their only daughter to swindle, scam and steal at every turn. During... [More]
Directed By: Miranda July

#83
Adjusted Score: 112687%
Critics Consensus: Powerfully acted and directed, Never Rarely Sometimes Always reaffirms writer-director Eliza Hittman as a filmmaker of uncommon sensitivity and grace.
Synopsis: Faced with an unintended pregnancy and a lack of local support, Autumn and her cousin, Skylar, travel across state lines... [More]
Directed By: Eliza Hittman

#84

Athlete A (2020)
100%

#84
Adjusted Score: 102657%
Critics Consensus: Harrowing yet essential viewing, Athlete A shines an unforgiving light on horrific abuses -- as well as the culture that allowed them to continue unabated for years.
Synopsis: Reporters from The Indianapolis Star expose Dr. Larry Nassar's sexual abuse of young gymnasts.... [More]
Directed By: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk

#85
Adjusted Score: 103083%
Critics Consensus: An absorbing and affectionate tribute to a unique individual, Mucho Mucho Amor should prove fascinating for Walter Mercado fans as well as first-timers.
Synopsis: Puerto Rican astrologer and psychic Walter Mercado discusses his life, career and post-fame seclusion.... [More]
Starring: Walter Mercado

#86
Adjusted Score: 103085%
Critics Consensus: All In: The Fight for Democracy lives up to its title as a galvanizing rallying cry for voters to exercise -- and preserve -- their right to be heard.
Synopsis: Filmmakers Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortes examine the history of voter suppression and the activists who fight for the rights... [More]
Starring: Stacey Abrams
Directed By: Lisa Cortes, Liz Garbus

#87
#87
Adjusted Score: 104033%
Critics Consensus: Dick Johnson Is Dead celebrates a life with bittersweet humor and grace, offering a deeply resonant perspective on mortality in the bargain.
Synopsis: A filmmaker and her elderly father stage his death in various ways to help them face his inevitable demise.... [More]
Starring: Dick Johnson
Directed By: Kirsten Johnson

#88

Relic (2020)
92%

#88
Adjusted Score: 105565%
Critics Consensus: Relic ratchets up its slowly building tension in an expertly crafted atmosphere of dread, adding up to an outstanding feature debut for director/co-writer Natalie Erika James.
Synopsis: A woman links her mother's increasingly volatile behavior to an evil presence at their family's decaying country home.... [More]
Directed By: Natalie Erika James

#89
#89
Adjusted Score: 118147%
Critics Consensus: A hauntingly powerful reflection on larger-than-life figures, One Night in Miami finds Regina King in command of her craft in her feature directorial debut.
Synopsis: On one incredible night in 1964, four icons of sports, music, and activism gathered to celebrate one of the biggest... [More]
Directed By: Regina King

#90

Les Nôtres (2020)
90%

#90
Adjusted Score: 91559%
Critics Consensus: Les Nôtres deftly hits expected beats to tell a story of betrayal whose finely calibrated direction and performances make it all the more harrowing.
Synopsis: To the tight-knit community of Sainte-Adeline, Quebec, Magalie appears as a normal suburban high school sophomore surrounded by friends. But... [More]
Directed By: Jeanne Leblanc

#91

Beginning (2020)
90%

#91
Adjusted Score: 92170%
Critics Consensus: A striking debut from director/co-writer Dea Kulumbegashvili, Beginning grapples convincingly with complex ideas while offering a brilliant showcase for star Ia Sukhitashvili.
Synopsis: A missionary's life spirals out of control after extremists burn down a Jehovah's Witnesses church in a remote Georgian village.... [More]
Directed By: Dea Kulumbegashvili

#92

Beans (2020)
91%

#92
Adjusted Score: 93343%
Critics Consensus: Beans opens a compelling window into the indigenous coming-of-age experience -- and serves as an affecting debut for Kiawentiio.
Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Beans is on the edge: torn between innocent childhood and reckless adolescence; forced to grow up fast and become... [More]
Directed By: Tracey Deer

#93
Adjusted Score: 94230%
Critics Consensus: Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation lives up to its title with an absorbing and revealing look at a pair of American literary giants.
Synopsis: The work, lives, and personal journeys of iconic American artists Truman Capote and Tennesee Williams coalesce with creative combustion in... [More]

#94

Holler (2020)
92%

#94
Adjusted Score: 95510%
Critics Consensus: It's hard not to hear echoes of similarly desperate stories, but Holler drowns them out with strong performances and palpable empathy.
Synopsis: In a forgotten pocket of Southern Ohio where American manufacturing and opportunity are dying up, a determined young woman finds... [More]
Directed By: Nicole Riegel

#95
#95
Adjusted Score: 94742%
Critics Consensus: A heartwarming look at the way a meaningful bond can transcend just about any barrier, this documentary will leave you asking your friends to come and see My Octopus Teacher with you.
Synopsis: A diver swims with an octopus that lives in a kelp forest off the coast of South Africa.... [More]
Starring: Craig Foster
Directed By: Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed

#96

True Mothers (2020)
91%

#96
Adjusted Score: 92804%
Critics Consensus: True Mothers uses an intractable conflict to explore the bonds of parenthood with director/co-writer Naomi Kawase's usual sensitivity and grace.
Synopsis: An adopted son's mother receives an unexpected visit from the boy's biological mother.... [More]
Directed By: Naomi Kawase

#97

Wildfire (2020)
95%

#97
Adjusted Score: 96560%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by the believable bond between its leads, Wildfire tells a heartfelt and realistic story of sisters peering into their family's past.
Synopsis: Two reunited Irish sisters uncover secrets from their mother's past.... [More]
Directed By: Cathy Brady

#98

Wildland (2020)
93%

#98
Adjusted Score: 94438%
Critics Consensus: Wildland reaches past the familiar tropes of its gangster drama setup to tell an evocative and refreshingly original coming-of-age story.
Synopsis: Following a car accident, which kills her mother, 17-year-old Ida moves in with her estranged aunt and her aunt's grown... [More]
Directed By: Jeanette Nordahl

#99

Lucky (2020)
93%

#99
Adjusted Score: 96205%
Critics Consensus: A rich blend of thrilling horror and sharp social commentary, Lucky acts as a bloody good calling card for director Natasha Kermani and writer-star Brea Grant.
Synopsis: A self-help book author finds herself stalked by a threatening figure who returns to her house night after night. She... [More]
Directed By: Natasha Kermani

#100
#100
Adjusted Score: 95413%
Critics Consensus: Led by Alec Utgoff's impressive starring performance, Never Gonna Snow Again blends elements of sci-fi, satire, and surreal drama with an assured hand.
Synopsis: On a gray, foggy morning outside a large Polish city, Zhenia (Alec Utgoff), a masseur from the East, enters the... [More]
Directed By: Małgorzata Szumowska

#101
Adjusted Score: 96438%
Critics Consensus: Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President warmly -- and tunefully -- highlights a rarely explored facet of the 39th U.S. President's tenure.
Synopsis: A portrait showing how Jimmy Carter's lifelong passion for music gave him an unexpected edge as a presidential candidate. Through... [More]
Directed By: Mary Wharton

#102

Spring Blossom (2020)
93%

#102
Adjusted Score: 94743%
Critics Consensus: An enchanting debut for writer-director-star Suzanne Lindon, Spring Blossom captures first love with fittingly delicate beauty.
Synopsis: Suzanne (Suzanne Lindon) is sixteen. She is bored with people her own age. From the outside, everything appears lovely in... [More]
Directed By: Suzanne Lindon

#103

I Blame Society (2020)
90%

#103
Adjusted Score: 91986%
Critics Consensus: Spurts of dark humor gush out of I Blame Society's satirical approach to filmmaking and celebrity culture, prodded by sharp societal observations from writer-director-star Gillian Wallace Horvat.
Synopsis: The lines between art and real life begin to blur when an ambitious filmmaker realizes she's good at getting away... [More]

#104
#104
Adjusted Score: 101668%
Critics Consensus: A remarkable feature debut for director Heidi Ewing, I Carry You with Me finds universally resonant themes in a specific, richly detailed time and place.
Synopsis: Based on true love, this decades spanning romance begins in Mexico between an aspiring chef (Armando Espitia) and a teacher... [More]
Directed By: Heidi Ewing

#105

Slaxx (2020)
96%

#105
Adjusted Score: 99145%
Critics Consensus: A slim-cut slice of bizarre horror, Slaxx effectively balances quirk with gore -- and has the good sense to get out before its oddball premise starts showing its seams.
Synopsis: A possessed pair of jeans is brought to life to punish the unscrupulous practices of a trendy clothing company. Shipped... [More]
Directed By: Elza Kephart

#106
#106
Adjusted Score: 102388%
Critics Consensus: A slow-burning descent into desperation, Identifying Features uses one shattered family's ordeal to offer a harrowing look at the immigrant experience.
Synopsis: A middle-aged woman embarks on an increasingly dangerous journey to locate her son, who's gone missing after leaving Mexico to... [More]
Directed By: Fernanda Valadez

#107

Quo Vadis, Aida? (2020)
100%

#107
Adjusted Score: 103814%
Critics Consensus: Quo Vadis, Aida? uses one woman's heartbreaking conflict to offer a searing account of war's devastating human toll.
Synopsis: Bosnia, July 11th 1995. Aida is a translator for the United Nations in the small town of Srebrenica. When the... [More]
Directed By: Jasmila Zbanic

#108

The Stylist (2020)
90%

#108
Adjusted Score: 91560%
Critics Consensus: A slasher with flair and crafty patience for the kill, The Stylist marks writer-director Jill Gevargizian as an uncommonly sharp genre filmmaker.
Synopsis: We all dream of being someone else... but for Claire (Najarra Townsend, Contracted), that dream goes from an obsession to... [More]
Directed By: Jill Gevargizian

#109

Slalom (2020)
100%

#109
Adjusted Score: 102778%
Critics Consensus: Led by Noée Abita's outstanding central performance, Slalom offers a moving account of oppression and abuse in the guise of mentorship.
Synopsis: This riveting, Cannes-selected #MeToo drama from debut filmmaker Charlène Favier follows the relationship between a teenage ski prodigy and her... [More]
Directed By: Charlène Favier

#110

Nomadland (2020)
93%

#110
Adjusted Score: 118572%
Critics Consensus: A poetic character study on the forgotten and downtrodden, Nomadland beautifully captures the restlessness left in the wake of the Great Recession.
Synopsis: A woman embarks on a journey through the American West after losing everything during the recession.... [More]
Directed By: Chloé Zhao

#111
#111
Adjusted Score: 115000%
Critics Consensus: A boldly provocative, timely thriller, Promising Young Woman is an auspicious feature debut for writer-director Emerald Fennell -- and a career highlight for Carey Mulligan.
Synopsis: Nothing in Cassie's life is what it appears to be -- she's wickedly smart, tantalizingly cunning, and she's living a... [More]
Directed By: Emerald Fennell

#112

Stray (2021)
96%

#112
Adjusted Score: 99266%
Critics Consensus: Stray takes a patient, meditative look at the lives of Istanbul's stray dog population -- and uncovers truths of the human condition in the process.
Synopsis: STRAY explores what it means to live as a being without status or security, following three strays as they embark... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Elizabeth Lo

#113

Tove (2020)
90%

#113
Adjusted Score: 91499%
Critics Consensus: Tove's conventional approach to depicting the life of a singular talent is offset by Alma Pöysti's outstanding performance in the title role.
Synopsis: Helsinki, 1945. The end of the war brings a new sense of artistic and social freedom for painter Tove Jansson.... [More]
Directed By: Zaida Bergroth

#114
#114
Adjusted Score: 90803%
Critics Consensus: Charming performances from Laure Calamy and her four-legged co-star help make My Donkey, My Lover & I a familiar yet breezily enjoyable journey of self-discovery.
Synopsis: Antoinette, a schoolteacher, is looking forward to her long planned summer holiday with her married lover Vladimir, the father of... [More]
Directed By: Caroline Vignal

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