2017 was the year of Wonder Woman. And 2018 is looking pretty promising, offering a slew of enticing movies directed by—and often fronted by—women. From challenging teen dramas, to out of this world adventures, raunchy comedies, to provocative biopics, here’s a selection of the most enticing female-helmed titles hitting theaters this year.
Writer/Director: Quinn Shepard Logline: A drama teacher’s taboo relationship with an unstable student strikes a nerve in her jealous classmate, sparking a vengeful chain of events within their suburban high school that draws parallels to The Crucible. Cast: Quinn Shepard, Nadia Alexander, and Chris Messina Why We’re Pumped: We’ve seen it. And it’s sensational.
Opens January 5th.
Director: Sandra Kwan Yue Ng Logline: A quirky internet star, a pair of retired gangsters, and the black sheep of a prolific family of herbalists are a few of the oddball tenants that call the dilapidated apartments of Humble Grove home. Fearful of being locked out by a ruthless property developer with his eye on the building, they’ve stayed inside for years. So, when supernatural incidents befall them all on one night, instead of running, they turn to flamboyant ghost hunter Golden Ling to perform a most unusual exorcism. Cast: Alex Fong, Francis Ng, and Sandra Kwan Yue Ng Why We’re Pumped: The trailer had us at “cougar-magnet vampire.”
Opens January 5th.
Forever My Girl
Writer/Director: Bethany Ashton Wolf Logline: After being gone for a decade, a country star returns home to the love he left behind. Cast: Alex Roe, Jessica Rothe, and John Benjamin Hickey Why We’re Pumped: What can we say? We have a certain appreciation for a sexy, sweaty country singer.
Opens January 19th.
Writer/Director: Sally Potter
Janet hosts a party to celebrate her new promotion, but once the guests arrive it becomes clear that not everything is going to go down as smoothly as the red wine. Cast: Patricia Clarkson, Bruno Ganz, Cherry Jones, Emily Mortimer, Cillian Murphy, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Timothy Spall Why We’re Pumped: With films like Orlando, Yes and Ginger & Rosa, Potter has built her reputation on female-fronted films that are as daring as they are gorgeous and poignant.
Opens February 16th.
A Wrinkle In Time
Director: Ava DuVernay Logline: After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him. Cast: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, and Chris Pine Why We’re Pumped: Based on Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved novel. Written by Frozen scribe Jennifer Lee. Directed by DuVernay, and that cast, and that trailer. Pick a reason.
Opens March 9th.
You Were Never Really Here
Writer/Director: Lynne Ramsay Logline: A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe’s nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening. Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, Ekaterina Samsonov, John Doman, Alex Manette, Dane Pereira-Olsen, and Alessandro Nivola Why We’re Pumped: Ramsay made the scorching drama/maternal horror masterpiece We Need To Talk About Kevin. We’re always pumped when she’s involved.
Opens April 6th.
Writer/Director: Chloé Zhao Logline: After suffering a near fatal head injury, a young cowboy undertakes a search for new identity and what it means to be a man in the heartland of America. Cast: Brady Jandreau, Tim Jandreau, and Lilly Jandreau Why We’re Pumped: Following its lauded festival run, Zhao’s film has already picked up four Indie Spirit award nominations for Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Director, and Best Feature.
Opens April 13th.
Director: Kay Cannon Logline: Three parents try to stop their daughters from having sex on Prom night. Cast: Leslie Mann, John Cena, Kathryn Newton, and Ike Barinholtz Why We’re Pumped: The prudish premise gives us pause. But Cannon’s written for 30 Rock and New Girl, and scripted Pitch Perfect. So we’re curious about her directorial debut.
Opens April 6th.
Director: Rachel Goldenberg Logline: Set to a new wave ’80s soundtrack, a pair of young lovers from different backgrounds defy their parents and friends to stay together. A musical adaptation of the 1983 film. Cast: Mae Whitman, Chloe Bennet, Jessica Rothe, and Ashleigh Murray Why We’re Pumped: This remake gives the 1983 rom-com a musical twist! Plus it’s directed by the mind behind Deadly Adoption. And did we mention Mae Whitman is in it? Yes, her. We love her.
Opens June 29th.
The Spy Who Dumped Me
Co-Writer/Director: Susanna Fogel Logline: A pair of friends embark on an espionage adventure after one of them finds out her ex is a spy. Cast: Sam Heughan, Justin Theroux, and Mila Kunis Why We’re Pumped:: This is Fogel’s follow-up to her female friendship comedy Life Partners. Plus Kate McKinnon and Gillian Anderson are slated to make appearances.
Opens July 6th.
Writer/Director: Jennifer Kent Logline: 1825 Tasmania. A young convict woman seeking revenge for the murder of her family, takes an Aboriginal male outcast with her through the interior and gets much more than she bargained for. Cast: Sam Claflin, Aisling Franciosi, and Ewen Leslie Why We’re Pumped: Kent directed The Babadook. We’re on board to see whatever she does next.
Opens August 10th.
The Darkest Minds
Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson Logline: After a disease kills 98% of America’s children, the surviving 2% develop superpowers and are placed in internment camps. A 16-year-old girl escapes her camp and joins a group of other teens on the run from the government. Cast: Gwendoline Christie, Mandy Moore, and Amandla Stenberg Why We’re Pumped: After helming Kung Fu Panda 2 & 3, Yuh Nelson throws her talents to a live-action sci-fi thriller. The cast is just gravy.
Opens September 14th.
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Director: Marielle Heller Logline: When bestselling celebrity biographer, Lee Israel, is no longer able to get published because she has fallen out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception, abetted by her loyal friend, Jack. Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, and Dolly Wells Why We’re Pumped: Israel’s story is a fascinating one. Couple that with McCarthy taking a rare dramatic turn, a script from Nicole Holofcener, and that Heller won praise for directorial debut The Diary of a Teenage Girl, and we’re practically frothing for this one.
Opens October 19th.
Mary Queen of Scots
Director: Josie Rourke Logline: Mary Stuart’s attempt to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England, finds her condemned to years of imprisonment before facing execution. Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, and Joe Alwyn Why We’re Pumped: Royal intrigue, Ronan, and Robbie. Plus did you know Rourke is a theater director who helmed a movie adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing that starred Doctor Who’s David Tennant and Catherine Tate as Benedick and Beatrice? Yeah. So, we should all get on that.
Opens November 2nd.
Did we miss a female-directed movie you’re pumped to see in 2018? Share it in comments.
Kristy Puchko is the managing editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.