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

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. Among 2023’s additions include Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall and Celine Song’s Past Lives (each nominated for the 2024 Best Picture Oscar), Kelly Fremon Craig’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret., Emma Seligman’s Bottoms, Raine Allen Miller’s Rye Lane, Sammi Cohen’s You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, and Adele Lim’s Joy Ride.

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.


Page 1: Movies from 2020-present | Page 2: Movies from 2010-2019 | Page 3: Movies from 2000-2009
#115

Sword of Trust (2019)
94%

#115
Adjusted Score: 98789%
Critics Consensus: Expertly drawn characters and a strong senes of humanity make Sword of Trust an enjoyable -- if at times meandering -- journey.
Synopsis: A cantankerous pawnshop owner and his man-child employee team up with an out-of-town couple who are trying to hawk a... [More]
Directed By: Lynn Shelton

#117

Sword of Trust (2019)
94%

#117
Adjusted Score: 98789%
Critics Consensus: Expertly drawn characters and a strong senes of humanity make Sword of Trust an enjoyable -- if at times meandering -- journey.
Synopsis: A cantankerous pawnshop owner and his man-child employee team up with an out-of-town couple who are trying to hawk a... [More]
Directed By: Lynn Shelton

#118

Honey Boy (2019)
95%

#118
Adjusted Score: 107358%
Critics Consensus: Honey Boy serves as an act of cinematic therapy for its screenwriter and subject -- one whose unique perspective should strike a chord in audiences from all backgrounds.
Synopsis: When 12-year-old Otis begins to find success as a television star, his abusive, alcoholic father returns and takes over as... [More]
Directed By: Alma Har'el

#119
Adjusted Score: 97228%
Critics Consensus: As sharp, funny, and scathingly irreverent as its subject, Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins pays entertaining tribute to a brilliant writer.
Synopsis: The life and work of Molly Ivins, a political journalist from Texas, best-selling author, and Bill of Rights warrior.... [More]
Directed By: Janice Engel

#120

The Mustang (2019)
95%

#120
Adjusted Score: 101569%
Critics Consensus: The Mustang finds fresh perspectives in a familiar redemption tale brought brilliantly to life by powerful performances from Bruce Dern and Matthias Schoenaerts.
Synopsis: A violent convict is given the chance to participate in a rehabilitation therapy program centered around the training of wild... [More]

#121
Adjusted Score: 115318%
Critics Consensus: Much like the beloved TV personality that inspired it, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood offers a powerfully affecting message about acceptance and understanding.
Synopsis: Lloyd Vogel is an investigative journalist who receives an assignment to profile Fred Rogers, aka Mr. Rogers. He approaches the... [More]
Directed By: Marielle Heller

#122

Little Women (2019)
95%

#122
Adjusted Score: 118658%
Critics Consensus: With a stellar cast and a smart, sensitive retelling of its classic source material, Greta Gerwig's Little Women proves some stories truly are timeless.
Synopsis: In the years after the Civil War, Jo March lives in New York and makes her living as a writer,... [More]
Directed By: Greta Gerwig

#123

Hail Satan? (2019)
96%

#123
Adjusted Score: 102516%
Critics Consensus: Hail Satan? challenges preconceived notions of its subject with a smart, witty, and overall entertaining dispatch from the front lines of the fight for social justice.
Synopsis: Lucien Greaves co-founds the Satanic Temple, a religious movement that calls for a revolution to save the nation's soul.... [More]
Directed By: Penny Lane

#124

American Factory (2019)
95%

#124
Adjusted Score: 99288%
Critics Consensus: American Factory takes a thoughtful -- and troubling -- look at the dynamic between workers and employers in the 21st-century globalized economy.
Synopsis: In post-industrial Ohio, a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant. Early... [More]
Starring: Sherrod Brown

#125

Booksmart (2019)
96%

#125
Adjusted Score: 116428%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced, funny, and fresh, Booksmart does the seemingly impossible by adding a smart new spin to the coming-of-age comedy.
Synopsis: Academic overachievers Amy and Molly thought keeping their noses to the grindstone gave them a leg up on their high... [More]
Directed By: Olivia Wilde

#126
Adjusted Score: 99791%
Critics Consensus: Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound pays an all-too-rare tribute to an aspect of filmmaking that's utterly fascinating but often overlooked.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Midge Costin examines how visionary directors work with sound designers to create the most exciting moviegoing experiences.... [More]
Directed By: Midge Costin

#127

The Kingmaker (2019)
97%

#127
Adjusted Score: 99452%
Critics Consensus: The Kingmaker aims a disquieting spotlight at the private life of a divisive public figure -- as well as the ways in which unchecked power seduces and corrupts.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Lauren Greenfield examines the controversial history of Filipino politician Imelda Marcos and her family.... [More]
Directed By: Lauren Greenfield

#128

The Farewell (2019)
97%

#128
Adjusted Score: 115487%
Critics Consensus: The Farewell deftly captures complicated family dynamics with a poignant, well-acted drama that marries cultural specificity with universally relatable themes.
Synopsis: Billi's family returns to China under the guise of a fake wedding to stealthily say goodbye to their beloved matriarch... [More]
Directed By: Lulu Wang

#129

One Child Nation (2019)
98%

#129
Adjusted Score: 102622%
Critics Consensus: As illuminating as it is accessible, One Child Nation probes a painful chapter in Chinese history with piercing clarity.
Synopsis: After becoming a mother, a filmmaker uncovers the untold history of China's one-child policy and the generations of parents and... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang

#130

For Sama (2019)
98%

#130
Adjusted Score: 102790%
Critics Consensus: As intimate as it is heartbreakingly resonant, For Sama powerfully distills the difficult choices faced by citizens of war-torn regions.
Synopsis: A young woman is followed through five years during the revolution in Aleppo, Syria - through love, marriage and motherhood.... [More]

#131

Atlantics (2019)
96%

#131
Adjusted Score: 103795%
Critics Consensus: An unpredictable supernatural drama rooted in real-world social commentary, Atlantique suggests a thrillingly bright future for debuting filmmaker Mati Diop.
Synopsis: Arranged to marry a rich man, young Ada is crushed when her true love goes missing at sea during a... [More]
Directed By: Mati Diop

#132

Varda by Agnès (2019)
98%

#132
Adjusted Score: 102122%
Critics Consensus: An encomium that should prove illuminating for casual viewers and satisfying for fans, Varda by Agnès finds a brilliant filmmaker looking back on her own terms.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Starring: Agnès Varda

#133
#133
Adjusted Score: 101505%
Critics Consensus: Brought to life by a breakout performance by Camila Morrone, Mickey and the Bear finds affecting drama at the crossroads of a young woman's coming-of-age journey.
Synopsis: A Montana teenager navigates a loving but volatile relationship with her single, veteran father. In a desperate search for independence... [More]
Directed By: Annabelle Attanasio

#134

Honeyland (2019)
100%

#134
Adjusted Score: 106515%
Critics Consensus: Honeyland uses life in a remote village to offer an eye-opening perspective on experiences that should resonate even for audiences halfway around the world.
Synopsis: A woman utilizes ancient beekeeping traditions to cultivate honey in the mountains of North Macedonia. When a neighboring family tries... [More]
Starring:

#135
#135
Adjusted Score: 114868%
Critics Consensus: A singularly rich period piece, Portrait of a Lady on Fire finds stirring, thought-provoking drama within a powerfully acted romance.
Synopsis: In 1770 the young daughter of a French countess develops a mutual attraction to the female artist commissioned to paint... [More]
Directed By: Céline Sciamma

#136

The Assistant (2019)
93%

#136
Adjusted Score: 105639%
Critics Consensus: Led by a powerhouse performance from Julia Garner, The Assistant offers a withering critique of workplace harassment and systemic oppression.
Synopsis: Jane, a recent college graduate and aspiring film producer, just landed her dream job as a junior assistant to a... [More]
Directed By: Kitty Green

#137

Hope (2019)
98%

#137
Adjusted Score: 99727%
Critics Consensus: A movingly personal work from writer-director Maria Sødahl, Hope sees stars Bræin Hovig and Stellan Skarsgård powerfully portraying a turning point in one couple's long love story.
Synopsis: ANJA lives with TOMAS in a large family of biological children and stepchildren. For a number of years the two... [More]
Directed By: Maria Sødahl

#138

Saint Maud (2019)
92%

#138
Adjusted Score: 101801%
Critics Consensus: A brilliantly unsettling blend of body horror and psychological thriller, Saint Maud marks an impressive debut for writer-director Rose Glass.
Synopsis: The debut film from writer-director Rose Glass, Saint Maud is a chilling and boldly original vision of faith, madness, and... [More]
Directed By: Rose Glass

#139

First Cow (2019)
96%

#139
Adjusted Score: 107523%
Critics Consensus: First Cow finds director Kelly Reichardt revisiting territory and themes that will be familiar to fans of her previous work -- with typically rewarding results.
Synopsis: Two travelers, on the run from a band of vengeful hunters in the 1820s Northwest, dream of striking it rich... [More]
Directed By: Kelly Reichardt

#140
#140
Adjusted Score: 105127%
Critics Consensus: Clever, funny, and original, Blow the Man Down is a cinematic journey that's not to be missed.
Synopsis: Welcome to Easter Cove, a salty fishing village on the far reaches of Maine's rocky coast. Grieving the loss of... [More]

#141

The Long Walk (2019)
96%

#141
Adjusted Score: 97728%
Critics Consensus: The Long Walk may require patience from some viewers, but they'll be rewarded with a thoughtful and alluringly atmospheric ghost story.
Synopsis: An old man walks the dusty roads between his isolated farm and the nearby rural village in the company of... [More]
Directed By: Mattie Do

#142

Science Fair (2018)
97%

#142
Adjusted Score: 100394%
Critics Consensus: Science Fair offers further proof that real-life academic competition can make for effortlessly entertaining - and ultimately uplifting - cinema.
Synopsis: Filmmakers follow nine high school students from around the globe as they compete at an international science fair. Facing off... [More]

#143

Free Solo (2018)
98%

#143
Adjusted Score: 106375%
Critics Consensus: Free Solo depicts athletic feats that many viewers will find beyond reason - and grounds the attempts in passions that are all but universal.
Synopsis: Alex Honnold completes the first free solo climb of famed El Capitan's 3,000-foot vertical rock face at Yosemite National Park.... [More]

#144

On Her Shoulders (2018)
96%

#144
Adjusted Score: 98164%
Critics Consensus: On Her Shoulders traces one woman's incredible journey to offer an inside look at modern political advocacy - and a challenge to viewers yearning to effect their own change.
Synopsis: Nadia Murad, a 23-year-old Yazidi genocide and ISIS sexual slavery survivor, is determined to tell her story. As her journey... [More]
Directed By: Alexandria Bombach

#145

Rafiki (2018)
94%

#145
Adjusted Score: 97688%
Critics Consensus: Rafiki tells a familiar story with bracing originality, marking director/co-writer Wanuri Kahiu as a talent to watch.
Synopsis: Kena and Ziki live very different lives in Nairobi. Kena works in her father's shop and awaits the start of... [More]
Directed By: Wanuri Kahiu

#146
Adjusted Score: 99160%
Critics Consensus: To All the Boys I've Loved Before plays by the teen rom-com rules, but relatable characters and a thoroughly charming cast more than make up for a lack of surprises.
Synopsis: A teenage girl's love letters are exposed and wreak havoc on her life.... [More]
Directed By: Susan Johnson

#147

Dark Money (2018)
96%

#147
Adjusted Score: 97930%
Critics Consensus: Dark Money does an impressive job of tackling a complicated subject in easily understandable -- and, for many viewers, utterly enraging -- terms.
Synopsis: In the wake of the Citizens United ruling, dark money floods elections nationwide, but Montanans are standing up to stop... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Kimberly Reed

#148

Kusama: Infinity (2018)
94%

#148
Adjusted Score: 96633%
Critics Consensus: Kusama: Infinity shines a richly deserved spotlight on its subject's brilliant work while opening a fascinating - albeit necessarily incomplete - window into her personal life.
Synopsis: Artist Yayoi Kusama's journey from a conservative upbringing in Japan to her brush with fame in America during the 1960s.... [More]
Starring: Yayoi Kusama
Directed By: Heather Lenz

#149

Little Woods (2018)
95%

#149
Adjusted Score: 99917%
Critics Consensus: Led by standout work from Tessa Thompson, Little Woods tells a grimly absorbing tale that marks a commendable debut for writer-director Nia DaCosta.
Synopsis: In North Dakota, two estranged sisters are driven to extremes when their mother dies, leaving them with one week to... [More]
Directed By: Nia DaCosta

#150

Private Life (2018)
94%

#150
Adjusted Score: 99211%
Critics Consensus: Private Life uses one couple's bumpy journey to take an affecting look at an easily identifiable - and too rarely dramatized - rite of adult passage.
Synopsis: A couple coping with infertility struggle to keep their marriage going as they navigate through the world of adoption and... [More]
Directed By: Tamara Jenkins

#151
Adjusted Score: 100448%
Critics Consensus: Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché aims an overdue spotlight on a cinematic innovator's career, with the added benefit of absorbing historical context.
Synopsis: The life and work of the first female film director.... [More]
Starring: Jodie Foster
Directed By: Pamela B. Green

#152

Birds of Passage (2018)
96%

#152
Adjusted Score: 104727%
Critics Consensus: Birds of Passage traces the familiar arc of the drug crime thriller from a different direction that's as visually absorbing as it is hard-hitting.
Synopsis: The origins of the Colombian drug trade, as seen through eyes of an indigenous Wayuu family that becomes involved in... [More]

#153

RBG (2018)
93%

#153
Adjusted Score: 102547%
Critics Consensus: RBG might be preaching to the choir of viewers who admire Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, but it does so effectively.
Synopsis: An intimate portrait of an unlikely rock star: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With unprecedented access, the filmmakers explore how her... [More]
Directed By: Betsy West, Julie Cohen

#154
#154
Adjusted Score: 99926%
Critics Consensus: Pick of the Litter has all the fluffy adorableness audiences expect from a puppy documentary, along with a story that's as edifying as it is heartwarming.
Synopsis: Following five spirited puppies from the moment they're born through their quest to become guide dogs for the blind.... [More]
Starring:

#155

The Chambermaid (2018)
99%

#155
Adjusted Score: 102101%
Critics Consensus: The Chambermaid uses one woman's experiences to take audiences inside a life -- and a culture -- that's as bracingly unique as it is hauntingly relatable.
Synopsis: A young chambermaid working in one of the most luxurious hotels in Mexico City enrolls in the hotel's adult education... [More]
Directed By: Lila Avilés

#156
#156
Adjusted Score: 115803%
Critics Consensus: Deftly directed and laced with dark wit, Can You Ever Forgive Me? proves a compelling showcase for deeply affecting work from Richard E. Grant and Melissa McCarthy.
Synopsis: Lee Israel is a frustrated, hard-drinking author who can barely afford to pay her rent or bills in 1990s New... [More]
Directed By: Marielle Heller

#157
#157
Adjusted Score: 98222%
Critics Consensus: Too Late to Die Young uses one family's experiences as the foundation for a dreamily absorbing drama with a poignant, lingering warmth.
Synopsis: During the summer of 1990 in Chile, three kids face their first loves and fears.... [More]
Directed By: Dominga Sotomayor

#158

Leave No Trace (2018)
100%

#158
Adjusted Score: 113763%
Critics Consensus: Leave No Trace takes an effectively low-key approach to a potentially sensationalistic story -- and further benefits from brilliant work by Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie.
Synopsis: A father and daughter live a perfect but mysterious existence in Forest Park, a beautiful nature reserve near Portland, Ore.,... [More]
Directed By: Debra Granik

#159

Night Comes On (2018)
98%

#159
Adjusted Score: 100280%
Critics Consensus: Steadily drawing viewers into its harrowing tale with equal parts grim intensity and startling compassion, Night Comes On heralds the arrivals of debuting director Jordan Spiro and her magnetic young stars.
Synopsis: Released from juvenile detention, a teen and her 10-year-old sister embark on a quest to avenge the death of their... [More]
Directed By: Jordana Spiro

#160

Wonder Woman (2017)
93%

#160
Adjusted Score: 119992%
Critics Consensus: Thrilling, earnest, and buoyed by Gal Gadot's charismatic performance, Wonder Woman succeeds in spectacular fashion.
Synopsis: Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior.... [More]
Directed By: Patty Jenkins

#161
#161
Adjusted Score: 95753%
Critics Consensus: Most Beautiful Island plunges audiences into a little-seen sector of society, with writer-director Ana Asensio's fearless performance leading the way.
Synopsis: An illegal immigrant struggling to begin a new life in New York City is offered a great opportunity, but as... [More]
Directed By: Ana Asensio

#162

School Life (2017)
94%

#162
Adjusted Score: 95752%
Critics Consensus: School Life offers a warm-hearted glimpse of an educational institution that may leave audiences as inspired as the students.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Starring: Unknown Actor
Directed By: David Rane

#163

The Breadwinner (2017)
95%

#163
Adjusted Score: 100267%
Critics Consensus: The Breadwinner's stunning visuals are matched by a story that dares to confront sobering real-life issues with uncommon -- and richly rewarding -- honesty.
Synopsis: Parvana is an 11-year-old girl who lives under Taliban rule in Afghanistan in 2001. After the wrongful arrest of her... [More]
Directed By: Nora Twomey

#164
Adjusted Score: 99622%
Critics Consensus: Inspiring and tragic, Bombshell is a bittersweet celebration and reclamation of Hedy Lemarr's journey from Hollywood legend to technology genius.
Synopsis: Austrian actress Hedy Lamarr fled an oppressive marriage to create a name for herself as one of Hollywood's top leading... [More]
Directed By: Alexandra Dean

#165

Step (2017)
96%

#165
Adjusted Score: 101032%
Critics Consensus: Step tells an irresistibly crowd-pleasing story in a thoroughly absorbing way -- and while smartly incorporating a variety of timely themes.
Synopsis: The senior year of a girls' high school step team in inner-city Baltimore is documented, as they try to become... [More]
Starring: Blessin Giraldo
Directed By: Amanda Lipitz

#166

Mudbound (2017)
97%

#166
Adjusted Score: 107947%
Critics Consensus: Mudbound offers a well-acted, finely detailed snapshot of American history whose scenes of rural class struggle resonate far beyond their period setting.
Synopsis: Set in the rural American South during World War II, Dee Rees' Mudbound is an epic story of two families... [More]
Directed By: Dee Rees

#167

Whose Streets? (2017)
98%

#167
Adjusted Score: 102095%
Critics Consensus: Whose Streets? takes a close-up look at the civil unrest that erupted after a shocking act of violence in Ferguson, Missouri - and the decades of simmering tension leading up to it.
Synopsis: An account of the Ferguson uprising as told by the people who lived it. The filmmakers look at how the... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Sabaah Folayan

#168

Good Manners (2017)
96%

#168
Adjusted Score: 97752%
Critics Consensus: Good Manners adroitly juggles disparate tonal shifts while taking a uniquely smart and sensitive look at female relationships.
Synopsis: A mysterious and wealthy woman hires a lonely nurse named Clara to be the nanny of her soon-to-be born child.... [More]
Directed By: Juliana Rojas, Marco Dutra

#169

Trophy (2017)
96%

#169
Adjusted Score: 97929%
Critics Consensus: Trophy offers a thought-provoking look at big-game hunting that should challenge, trouble, and enrage viewers regardless of their personal perspective.
Synopsis: This in-depth look into the powerhouse industries of big-game hunting, breeding and wildlife conservation in the U.S. and Africa unravels... [More]

#170

Lady Bird (2017)
99%

#170
Adjusted Score: 121542%
Critics Consensus: Lady Bird delivers fresh insights about the turmoil of adolescence -- and reveals writer-director Greta Gerwig as a fully formed filmmaking talent.
Synopsis: A teenager (Saoirse Ronan) navigates a loving but turbulent relationship with her strong-willed mother (Laurie Metcalf) over the course of... [More]
Directed By: Greta Gerwig

#171

Faces Places (2017)
99%

#171
Adjusted Score: 106491%
Critics Consensus: Equal parts breezily charming and poignantly powerful, Faces Places is a unique cross-generational portrait of life in rural France from the great Agnès Varda.
Synopsis: Director Agnès Varda and photographer and muralist JR journey through rural France and form an unlikely friendship.... [More]
Starring: Agnès Varda, JR
Directed By: Agnès Varda, JR

#172

Outside In (2017)
96%

#172
Adjusted Score: 97811%
Critics Consensus: Brilliantly brought to life by tenderly empathetic performances from Jay Duplass and Edie Falco, Outside In tells a sobering -- yet thoroughly absorbing -- story.
Synopsis: An ex-convict tries to readjust to life in his small town and forms an intense relationship with his former high... [More]
Directed By: Lynn Shelton

#173

Western (2017)
96%

#173
Adjusted Score: 99275%
Critics Consensus: Western earns the viewer's attention with an unpredictable, patiently told tale that evokes the spirit of the titular genre while adding its own unique touches.
Synopsis: When some German construction workers begin a challenging new job in the Bulgarian countryside, their sense of adventure is awakened,... [More]
Directed By: Valeska Grisebach

#174

The Rider (2017)
97%

#174
Adjusted Score: 107246%
Critics Consensus: The Rider's hard-hitting drama is only made more effective through writer-director Chloé Zhao's use of untrained actors to tell the movie's fact-based tale.
Synopsis: After a riding accident leaves him unable to compete on the rodeo circuit, a young cowboy searches for a new... [More]
Directed By: Chloé Zhao

#175

Summer 1993 (2017)
100%

#175
Adjusted Score: 104798%
Critics Consensus: Summer 1993 (Estiu 1993) finds writer-director Carla Simón drawing on personal memories to create a thoughtful drama elevated by outstanding work from its young leads.
Synopsis: Six-year-old Frida looks on in silence as the last objects from her recently deceased mother's apartment in Barcelona are placed... [More]
Directed By: Carla Simón

#176
Adjusted Score: 99577%
Critics Consensus: Subversive, gorgeously shot, and suitably visceral, Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts injects timely feminist themes into a neo-western grindhouse framework.
Synopsis: When a young widow is raped and her cattle are stolen, she fights back and kills several of her attackers.... [More]
Directed By: Mouly Surya

#177
#177
Adjusted Score: 102794%
Critics Consensus: Tigers Are Not Afraid draws on childhood trauma for a story that deftly blends magical fantasy and hard-hitting realism - and leaves a lingering impact.
Synopsis: When a girl's mother disappears leaving her on her own, she goings a gang of street children, leading to a... [More]
Directed By: Issa López

#178

Oh Lucy! (2017)
98%

#178
Adjusted Score: 100338%
Critics Consensus: Oh Lucy! roots its narrative quirks in universal themes and deep empathy for its characters, all brought to life by strong performances from a talented cast led by the thoroughly charming Shinobu Terajima.
Synopsis: A lonely woman in Tokyo discovers her alter ego when she takes an English class.... [More]
Directed By: Atsuko Hirayanagi

#179

Zama (2017)
96%

#179
Adjusted Score: 101793%
Critics Consensus: Zama offers a series of scathingly insightful observations about colonialism and class dynamics -- and satisfyingly ends a long wait between projects from writer-director Lucrecia Martel.
Synopsis: Zama, an officer of the Spanish Crown born in South America, waits for a letter from the King granting him... [More]
Directed By: Lucrecia Martel

#180

I Am Not a Witch (2017)
96%

#180
Adjusted Score: 99978%
Critics Consensus: I Am Not a Witch approaches real-life injustices with a beguiling blend of sorrow, anger, and humor, marking debuting writer-director Rungano Nyoni as an exciting new talent.
Synopsis: Shula is the first child taken to a traveling witch camp, where she is told that should she cut the... [More]
Directed By: Rungano Nyoni

#181

Sand Storm (2016)
93%

#181
Adjusted Score: 94202%
Critics Consensus: Sand Storm marks an impressive first feature for debuting writer-director Elite Zexer that offers a perceptive -- and crucial -- look at patriarchal traditions.
Synopsis: In Southern Israel, a teen's (Lamis Ammar) forbidden love affair challenges the traditions of her Bedouin mother and father.... [More]
Directed By: Elite Zexer

#182

Toni Erdmann (2016)
93%

#182
Adjusted Score: 104395%
Critics Consensus: Toni Erdmann pairs carefully constructed, three-dimensional characters in a tenderly funny character study that's both genuinely moving and impressively ambitious.
Synopsis: A film by Maren Ade.... [More]
Directed By: Maren Ade

#183

Queen of Katwe (2016)
94%

#183
Adjusted Score: 102680%
Critics Consensus: Queen of Katwe is a feel-good movie of uncommon smarts and passion, and outstanding performances by Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo help to elevate the film past its cliches.
Synopsis: Living in the slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona (Madina Nalwanga) and her... [More]
Directed By: Mira Nair

#184

Nuts! (2016)
94%

#184
Adjusted Score: 95715%
Critics Consensus: Nuts! lives up to its title in the best way, offering a delightfully unorthodox look at a bizarre -- and largely unexplored -- chapter in American history.
Synopsis: The mostly true story of Dr. John Romulus Brinkley, an eccentric genius who built an empire with his goat-testicle impotence... [More]
Directed By: Penny Lane

#185

All This Panic (2016)
94%

#185
Adjusted Score: 95407%
Critics Consensus: All This Panic offers an unvarnished look at the lives of young American women whose less compelling moments are more than balanced out by documentarian Jenny Gage's empathetic approach.
Synopsis: A group of teenage girls, coming of age in Brooklyn, navigates the ephemeral and fleeting transition between childhood and adulthood.... [More]
Directed By: Jenny Gage

#186
#186
Adjusted Score: 104371%
Critics Consensus: The Edge of Seventeen's sharp script -- and Hailee Steinfeld's outstanding lead performance -- make this more than just another coming-of-age dramedy.
Synopsis: Everyone knows that growing up is hard, and life is no easier for high school junior Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), who... [More]
Directed By: Kelly Fremon Craig

#187

The Love Witch (2016)
95%

#187
Adjusted Score: 99890%
Critics Consensus: The Love Witch offers an absorbing visual homage to a bygone era, arranged subtly in service of a thought-provoking meditation on the battle of the sexes.
Synopsis: Elaine (Samantha Robinson), a beautiful young witch, is determined to find a man to love her. In her gothic Victorian... [More]
Directed By: Anna Biller

#188

The Innocents (2016)
95%

#188
Adjusted Score: 99889%
Critics Consensus: The Innocents isn't always easy to watch, but its nuanced exploration of complex themes -- and its refreshing perspective -- are well worth the effort.
Synopsis: In December 1945, a Red Cross doctor (Lou de Laâge) tries to help a group of pregnant Benedictine nuns at... [More]
Directed By: Anne Fontaine

#189

13TH (2016)
97%

#189
Adjusted Score: 101583%
Critics Consensus: 13th strikes at the heart of America's tangled racial history, offering observations as incendiary as they are calmly controlled.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation's... [More]
Directed By: Ava DuVernay

#190

Bar Bahar (2016)
98%

#190
Adjusted Score: 100380%
Critics Consensus: In Between takes a light yet nuanced approach to dramatizing complex, timely themes, further enriched by outstanding cinematography and powerful performances.
Synopsis: Three Arab-Israeli women share an apartment in Tel Aviv and try to balance their traditions with the modern world.... [More]
Directed By: Maysaloun Hamoud

#191

Kedi (2016)
98%

#191
Adjusted Score: 103863%
Critics Consensus: Kedi is a cat fancier's dream, but this thoughtful, beautifully filmed look at Istanbul's street feline population offers absorbing viewing for filmgoers of any purr-suasion.
Synopsis: Hundreds of thousands of cats have roamed the metropolis of Istanbul freely for thousands of years, wandering in and out... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Ceyda Torun

#192

Weiner (2016)
96%

#192
Adjusted Score: 104015%
Critics Consensus: Weiner uses sharp insight and untrammeled access to offer a portrait of a political and personal collapse that's as queasy as it is undeniably compelling.
Synopsis: Former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) runs for mayor of New York in 2013, but a new sex scandal ruins his... [More]

#193

Cameraperson (2016)
99%

#193
Adjusted Score: 103583%
Critics Consensus: Fresh and inventive yet immediately accessible, Cameraperson distills its subject's life and career into an experience that should prove immediately absorbing even for those unfamiliar with her work.
Synopsis: Cinematographer Kirsten Johnson exposes her many years behind the camera through a memoir made up of decades of footage shot... [More]
Directed By: Kirsten Johnson

#194

Things to Come (2016)
99%

#194
Adjusted Score: 105683%
Critics Consensus: A union to cherish between a writer-director and star working at peak power, Things to Come offers quietly profound observations on life, love, and the irrevocable passage of time.
Synopsis: A passionate middle-aged philosophy professor (Isabelle Huppert) rethinks her already much-examined life after an unforeseen divorce.... [More]
Directed By: Mia Hansen-Løve

#195
#195
Adjusted Score: 95763%
Critics Consensus: The Hunting Ground isn't director Kirby Dick's strongest work as a filmmaker, but the movie's powerful message more than trumps any technical weaknesses.
Synopsis: Many college students who have been raped on campus face retaliation and harassment as they fight for justice.... [More]
Directed By: Kirby Dick

#196
#196
Adjusted Score: 97286%
Critics Consensus: Respectful without veering into hagiography and inquisitive without being intrusive, Janis: Little Girl Blue offers an insightful glimpse into the life of a rock 'n' roll legend.
Synopsis: Archival footage and interviews highlight the life and career of singer-songwriter Janis Joplin, from her musical rise in the 1960s... [More]
Starring: Cat Power
Directed By: Amy Berg

#197
#197
Adjusted Score: 102937%
Critics Consensus: Boldly unconventional and refreshingly honest, Diary of a Teenage Girl is a frank coming-of-age story that addresses its themes -- and its protagonist -- without judgment.
Synopsis: In 1970s San Francisco, a precocious 15-year-old (Bel Powley) embarks on an enthusiastic sexual odyssey, beginning with her mother's current... [More]
Directed By: Marielle Heller

#198

Heart of a Dog (2015)
96%

#198
Adjusted Score: 99703%
Critics Consensus: Of a piece with much of director Laurie Anderson's idiosyncratic output, Heart of a Dog delves into weighty themes with lyrical, haunting grace.
Synopsis: Musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson reflects on the deaths of her husband Lou Reed, her mother and her beloved... [More]
Directed By: Laurie Anderson

#199

Mustang (2015)
97%

#199
Adjusted Score: 104153%
Critics Consensus: Mustang delivers a bracing -- and thoroughly timely -- message whose power is further bolstered by the efforts of a stellar ensemble cast.
Synopsis: In a Turkish village, five orphaned sisters (Günes Sensoy, Doga Zeynep Doguslu, Elit Iscan) live under strict rule while members... [More]
Directed By: Deniz Gamze Ergüven

#200
#200
Adjusted Score: 100860%
Critics Consensus: The Second Mother's compelling characters serve an artfully drawn, thought-provoking story that's beautifully brought to life by a talented cast.
Synopsis: Unspoken class barriers that exist within a home come crashing down when the live-in housekeeper's daughter suddenly appears.... [More]
Directed By: Anna Muylaert

#201

Dark Horse (2015)
96%

#201
Adjusted Score: 99286%
Critics Consensus: Dark Horse offers a thoroughly crowd-pleasing look at an incredible -- and inspirational -- real-life story that will thrill equine enthusiasts and novices alike.
Synopsis: A barmaid in a poor Welsh mining village convinces some of her fellow residents to pool their resources to compete... [More]
Directed By: Louise Osmond

#202

Sherpa (2015)
98%

#202
Adjusted Score: 99143%
Critics Consensus: A heartbreaking story told with tremendous narrative and visual skill, Sherpa exposes the audience to a side of Mount Everest that many have never seen or considered.
Synopsis: After an ice slide kills 16 Sherpas on Everest, they unite in grief and anger to reclaim the mountain.... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Jennifer Peedom

#203

The Fits (2015)
96%

#203
Adjusted Score: 100749%
Critics Consensus: As gripping as it is unique, the thrillingly kinetic The Fits marks debuting writer-director Anna Rose Holmer as a singular talent.
Synopsis: An 11-year-old tomboy (Royalty Hightower) tries to fit in with her peers after joining an all-girl dance team.... [More]
Directed By: Anna Rose Holmer

#204
Adjusted Score: 91157%
Critics Consensus: She's Beautiful When She's Angry takes an entertaining, informative look at the dawn of the American women's movement -- and the oft-overlooked activists who fought for it.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Mary Dore chronicles the events, the movers and the shakers of the feminist movement from 1966 to 1971.... [More]
Directed By: Mary Dore

#205
#205
Adjusted Score: 100468%
Critics Consensus: Revealing yet respectful, 20,000 Days on Earth is essential viewing for any Nick Cave fan.
Synopsis: A therapist's questions and a visit to a voluminous archive propel a dramatization of a day in the life of... [More]
Directed By: Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard

#206
Adjusted Score: 101882%
Critics Consensus: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night blends conventional elements into something brilliantly original -- and serves as a striking calling card for writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour.
Synopsis: Residents of a worn-down Iranian city encounter a skateboarding vampire (Sheila Vand) who preys on men who disrespect women.... [More]
Directed By: Ana Lily Amirpour

#207

Citizenfour (2014)
96%

#207
Adjusted Score: 102447%
Critics Consensus: Part real-life thriller, part sobering examination of 21st century civil liberties, Citizenfour transcends ideology to offer riveting, must-see cinema.
Synopsis: After Laura Poitras received encrypted emails from someone with information on the government's massive covert-surveillance programs, she and reporter Glenn... [More]
Directed By: Laura Poitras

#208

The Babadook (2014)
98%

#208
Adjusted Score: 109685%
Critics Consensus: The Babadook relies on real horror rather than cheap jump scares -- and boasts a heartfelt, genuinely moving story to boot.
Synopsis: A troubled widow (Essie Davis) discovers that her son is telling the truth about a monster that entered their home... [More]
Directed By: Jennifer Kent

#209

Girlhood (2014)
96%

#209
Adjusted Score: 99263%
Critics Consensus: Powerfully acted and smartly scripted, Girlhood offers a fresh perspective on familiar cinematic territory.
Synopsis: Marieme joins an all-girl gang in the projects of Paris and is slowly turned out of her shell by her... [More]
Directed By: Céline Sciamma

#210

The Wonders (2014)
96%

#210
Adjusted Score: 98698%
Critics Consensus: The Wonders offers a charming coming-of-age tale that doubles as a quietly effective tribute to a vanishing way of life.
Synopsis: The preteen daughter (Maria Alexandra Lungu) of a Tuscan beekeeper (Sam Louwyck) enters a contest to appear on a television... [More]
Directed By: Alice Rohrwacher

#211

Selma (2014)
99%

#211
Adjusted Score: 114184%
Critics Consensus: Fueled by a gripping performance from David Oyelowo, Selma draws inspiration and dramatic power from the life and death of Martin Luther King, Jr. -- but doesn't ignore how far we remain from the ideals his work embodied.
Synopsis: Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally desegregated the South, discrimination was still rampant in certain areas, making it... [More]
Directed By: Ava DuVernay

#212
Adjusted Score: 103057%
Critics Consensus: On paper, GETT: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem might seem less than thrilling, but on the screen, it delivers two hours of nonstop, tightly wound, brilliantly acted drama.
Synopsis: An Israeli woman (Ronit Elkabetz) fights for three years to obtain a divorce from her devout husband (Simon Abkarian), who... [More]

#213
#213
Adjusted Score: 99185%
Critics Consensus: Warm, funny, and quietly profound, Appropriate Behavior serves as a thoroughly compelling calling card for writer, director, and star Desiree Akhavan.
Synopsis: A secretly bisexual Brooklynite (Desiree Akhavan) from a traditional Persian family struggles with her identity and the disintegration of her... [More]
Directed By: Desiree Akhavan

#214

Enough Said (2013)
95%

#214
Adjusted Score: 103807%
Critics Consensus: Wryly charming, impeccably acted, and ultimately quite bittersweet, Enough Said is a grown-up movie in the best possible way.
Synopsis: Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), a divorced single parent, seems generally happy but dreads her daughter's departure for college. Unexpectedly, Eva begins... [More]
Directed By: Nicole Holofcener

#215
#215
Adjusted Score: 101369%
Critics Consensus: Brutally honest and utterly compelling, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me offers a riveting, vanity-free portrait of its legendary subject while offering a few essential truths about the human condition.
Synopsis: Plagued by medical issues and memory lapses, the Broadway icon contemplates retirement and mortality as she approaches her 87th birthday... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Chiemi Karasawa

#216

The Crash Reel (2013)
96%

#216
Adjusted Score: 97313%
Critics Consensus: Smart, compassionate, and moving, The Crash Reel uses the familiar sport-doc formula to subvert expectations and ask challenging questions about ambition and achievement.
Synopsis: Snowboarder Kevin Pearce suffers a traumatic brain injury while training for the 2010 Winter Olympics. His family stands by his... [More]
Directed By: Lucy Walker

#217
#217
Adjusted Score: 101325%
Critics Consensus: Starkly emotional and beautifully directed, The Selfish Giant uses a lovely script and some powerful performances to present some of the best that modern British cinema has to offer.
Synopsis: A hyperactive boy (Conner Chapman) and his best friend, a slow-witted youth with an affinity for horses, start collecting scrap... [More]
Directed By: Clio Barnard

#218

Blackfish (2013)
99%

#218
Adjusted Score: 104739%
Critics Consensus: Blackfish is an aggressive, impassioned documentary that will change the way you look at performance killer whales.
Synopsis: The story of Tilikum, a captive killer whale that has taken the lives of several people, underscores problems within the... [More]

#219

The Square (2013)
100%

#219
Adjusted Score: 102470%
Critics Consensus: The Square offers an electrifying -- and edifying -- ground-level glimpse of life inside a real-life political revolution.
Synopsis: Egyptian revolutionaries battle their leaders and regime to build a new society.... [More]
Directed By: Jehane Noujaim

#220
#220
Adjusted Score: 100135%
Critics Consensus: The Queen of Versailles is a timely, engaging, and richly drawn portrait of the American Dream improbably composed of equal parts compassion and schadenfreude.
Synopsis: The 2008 global economic crisis threatens the fortune of Florida billionaires David and Jackie Siegel just as they are in... [More]
Directed By: Lauren Greenfield

#221

West of Memphis (2012)
95%

#221
Adjusted Score: 99981%
Critics Consensus: Both a sobering look at a true crime story and a scathing indictment of the American justice system, West of Memphis is a real-life horror story told with fury and compassion.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Amy Berg tells the story of the fight to stop the state of Arkansas from executing an innocent man.... [More]
Directed By: Amy Berg

#222

Brooklyn Castle (2012)
96%

#222
Adjusted Score: 97733%
Critics Consensus: Brooklyn Castle is a warm, engaging, and even uplifting documentary about chess-playing whiz kids.
Synopsis: Chess helps transforms a New York school into one of the city's best, but recession-driven budget cuts threaten to undermine... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Katie Dellamaggiore

#223

Sister (2012)
96%

#223
Adjusted Score: 98662%
Critics Consensus: Léa Seydoux and Kacey Mottet Klein are exceptional as downtrodden siblings in this sad and wintry character study.
Synopsis: A poor boy (Léa Seydoux) steals from wealthy patrons at a posh ski resort to support himself and his irresponsible... [More]
Directed By: Ursula Meier

#224
#224
Adjusted Score: 101228%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Alison Klayman documents the life and work of Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. She showcases his artistic process as... [More]
Directed By: Alison Klayman

#225

Lore (2012)
94%

#225
Adjusted Score: 98981%
Critics Consensus: Newcomer Saskia Rosendahl gives an astonishingly assured performance in the title role, and director Cate Shortland establishes a delicate, disturbingly ominous tone in the powerful World War II drama Lore.
Synopsis: As Allied forces sweep across Germany, five children embark on a journey that challenges their notions of family, love and... [More]
Directed By: Cate Shortland

#226

Stories We Tell (2012)
94%

#226
Adjusted Score: 100476%
Critics Consensus: In Stories We Tell, Sarah Polley plays with the documentary format to explore the nature of memory and storytelling, crafting a thoughtful, compelling narrative that unfolds like a mystery.
Synopsis: Through a series of revealing interviews, filmmaker Sarah Polley investigates the truth about her family history.... [More]
Directed By: Sarah Polley

#227

Wadjda (2012)
99%

#227
Adjusted Score: 104290%
Critics Consensus: Transgressive in the best possible way, Wadjda presents a startlingly assured new voice from a corner of the globe where cinema has been all but silenced.
Synopsis: A rebellious Saudi girl (Waad Mohammed) enters a Koran recitation competition at her school and hopes to win enough money... [More]
Directed By: Haifaa Al-Mansour

#228

Call Me Kuchu (2012)
98%

#228
Adjusted Score: 99681%
Critics Consensus: Alternately horrific and uplifting, Call Me Kuchu exposes heinous systematic brutality with a clear eye and admirable precision.
Synopsis: In Uganda, openly gay David Kato and his fellow activists work to defeat new legislation in their country that would... [More]
Starring: David Bahati

#229

Pariah (2011)
95%

#229
Adjusted Score: 99463%
Critics Consensus: Pulsing with authenticity and led by a stirring lead performance from Adepero Oduye, Pariah is a powerful coming out/coming-of-age film that signals the arrival of a fresh new talent in writer/director Dee Rees.
Synopsis: Teenage Alike (Adepero Oduye) lives in Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood with her parents (Charles Parnell, Kim Wayans) and younger sister... [More]
Directed By: Dee Rees

#230
Adjusted Score: 97481%
Critics Consensus: An adept celebration of the technical ability and wonderous dream that led to the creation of a childhood icon, bringing smiles to millions around the world, this is Being Elmo: A Puppeteers Journey
Synopsis: Interviews with Frank Oz, Rosie O'Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg and others highlight a portrait of Kevin Clash, the man who brings... [More]
Directed By: Constance Marks

#231

Tomboy (2011)
96%

#231
Adjusted Score: 98216%
Critics Consensus: In tune with the emotion and tribulations of childhood, Tomboy is a charming movie that treats its main subject with warmth and heart.
Synopsis: A 10-year-old girl (Zoé Héran) moves into a new neighborhood and decides to dress like a boy.... [More]
Directed By: Céline Sciamma

#232

First Position (2011)
93%

#232
Adjusted Score: 95349%
Critics Consensus: An upbeat and visually dramatic documentary of children's ballet, First Position displays the potential of the human spirit when fostered at a young age.
Synopsis: Six young ballet students, all from different backgrounds, prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix, a competition in which dance... [More]
Directed By: Bess Kargman

#233
#233
Adjusted Score: 94027%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A 15-year-old Norwegian teen (Helene Bergsholm) is eager to explore her budding sexuality, but her encounter with the school heartthrob... [More]

#234

Sing Your Song (2011)
95%

#234
Adjusted Score: 95762%
Critics Consensus: Sing Your Song takes an absorbing -- if decidedly non-critical -- look at an incredible show business career and admirable public life.
Synopsis: Harry Belafonte rises to fame, becoming an acclaimed singer and actor, and working tenaciously throughout his career as a social... [More]
Directed By: Susanne Rostock

#235
Adjusted Score: 97216%
Critics Consensus: An affectionate portrait created with visual flair, Diana Vreeland is entertaining, informative, and stylish, due in large part to its charismatic subject.
Synopsis: The story of the legendary editor of "Harper's Bazaar" and "Vogue."... [More]

#236
#236
Adjusted Score: 102194%
Critics Consensus: Worthwhile as both a well-acted ensemble piece and as a smart, warm statement on family values, The Kids Are All Right is remarkable.
Synopsis: Lesbian couple Jules (Julianne Moore) and Nic (Annette Bening) have been together for almost 20 years and have two teenage... [More]
Directed By: Lisa Cholodenko

#237

Winter's Bone (2010)
94%

#237
Adjusted Score: 101083%
Critics Consensus: Bleak, haunting, and yet still somehow hopeful, Winter's Bone is writer-director Debra Granik's best work yet -- and it boasts an incredible, starmaking performance from Jennifer Lawrence.
Synopsis: Faced with an unresponsive mother and a criminal father, Ozark teenager Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) does what she can to... [More]
Directed By: Debra Granik

#238

Waste Land (2010)
100%

#238
Adjusted Score: 102188%
Critics Consensus: Waste Land begins with an eco-friendly premise, but quickly transforms into an uplifting portrait of the power of art and the dignity of the human spirit.
Synopsis: Located just outside Rio de Janeiro, Jardim Gramacho, Brazil, is the world's largest garbage landfill. Modern artist Vik Muniz works... [More]
Starring: Vik Muniz

#239

The Arbor (2010)
96%

#239
Adjusted Score: 97111%
Critics Consensus: Smart and inventive, The Arbor offers some intensely memorable twists on tired documentary tropes.
Synopsis: A mix of documentary and fictional elements tells the story of doomed playwright Andrea Dunbar, who wrote about the difficult... [More]
Directed By: Clio Barnard

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