A Call To Spy & More Movies By Women To Stream This Weekend

2020 was supposed to be a huge year for women directors. But with most on-going Hollywood sets on indefinite hiatus, thousands out of work, prominent indie festivals cancelled, and the releases of Wonder Woman, Black Widow and Mulan postponed until further notice, it’s hard not to feel as if that female future of film is now on hold. 

It doesn’t have to be. 


We may not know when we’ll get to see Kumail Nanjiani’s sculpted abs in Chloe Zhao’s The Eternals, but there are more than enough women-directed films now streaming online to keep you busy until then. If you’re lucky enough to be looking for a distraction, this is the perfect time to catch up one some movies you may have missed the first time around. Whether you’re in the mood for a deep dive into the work of some of Hollywood’s earliest pioneers, a documentary about the punk scene in Los Angeles in the late 1970s, a lesbian love story that’s almost too beautiful to handle, or Sabrina Carpenter's latest movie, let this list be a reminder that though things seem bleak right now, women have always found a way to make incredible art. One day, we’ll all be back in theaters together watching Diana Prince lasso the patriarchy into submission.

Take a break from rewatching The Office and immerse yourself a multitude of cinematic worlds imagined and designed by women. And if you’ve already streamed your way through these offerings, don’t worry. We’ll be updating this list weekly. 

Have suggestions? Drop them in the comments! 

A Call To Spy

Directed by: Lydia Dean Pilcher
Watch it on: VOD

Sarah Megan Thomas' script shines a light on the forgotten soldiers of World War II: Britain's circle women spies. Led by the fearsome Vera Atkins (Stana Katic), who would later inspire James Bond's Moneypenny, these women were dropped into German-occupied France to gather intelligence, lead the resistance and help the Allies win the war. With strong performances by Radikha Apte and Megan Thomas herself, it's a must-see for history buffs.

Lingua Franca

Directed by: Isabel Sandoval
Stream it on: Netflix

Quadruple threat Sandoval wrote, directed, edited and stars in this magnificent film about an undocumented trans Filipinx caregiver who falls for her employer's grandson. Produced by Ava DuVernay's ARRAY, the film is Sandoval's first since transitioning and is a tender, beautiful snapshot of life in all its messy complexity.

An Easy Girl

Directed by: Rebecca Zlotowski
Stream it on: Netflix

When Cannes-native Naïma (Mina Farid) turns 16 on the last day of school, she's expecting a summer like all the others. But when her 22-year-old cousin Sofia (Zahia Dehar) comes to visit, she's drawn into the glitzy, glamorous world of the French riviera, with all the hedonism and cruelty that goes with it.

Selah and the Spades (2020)

Directed by: Tayarisha Poe
Stream it on: Amazon Prime Video

Philadelphia's elite Haldwell School is run by five teen factions, the most fearsome of which is led by queen bee Selah Summers (Lovie Simone). As graduation looms and her reign comes to a close, Selah ponders how her legacy will be remembered. Following in the footsteps of Machiavelli himself, she wonders: Is is better to be feared, or loved?

When They See Us' Jharrel Jerome co-stars as Selah's best friend Maxie, along with newcomer Celeste O'Connor.

She Dies Tomorrow

Directed by: Amy Seimetz
Rent it on: VOD or digital

Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) knows she's going to die tomorrow. She just knows. And like a virus, that dread is spreading to every single person she encounters.

I Used To Go Here

Directed by: Kris Swangberg
Rent it on: VOD or digital

Gillian Jacobs stars as Kate Conklin, an author who returns to her alma matter after the publication of her first novel. Lost in her own life, she starts to get involved with a group of college students and wonders what could have been.

Summerland (2020)

Directed by: Jessica Swale
Rent it on: Virtual Theaters

Gemma Arterton gives an unforgettable performance as Alice, a reclusive and curmudgeonly writer living on the coast of England, with only her bittersweet memories for company. As World War II rages, she's forced to take in a young evacuee from London. But though she initially chafes at the constant interruptions and responsibilities that come with hosting Frank, she soon find they have something unlikely in common.

The Short History Of The Long Road (2020)

Directed by: Ani Simon-Kennedy
Rent it on: Amazon Prime Video

Sabrina Carpenter shines in this beautiful father-daughter road trip coming-of-age story. Teenage Nola (Carpenter) has grown up in her dad Clint's (Steven Ogg) ramshackle van, as the two criss-cross the country in pursuit of an off-the-grid existence. But when tragedy strikes, she's forced to figure out who she wants to be in the world.

I Will Make You Mine (2020)

Directed by: Lynn Chen
Rent it on: iTunes

Chen's feature directorial debut was supposed to premiere at SXSW this year, but now you can catch it from your catch  — and you should. The film follows three women as they grapple with pressure, expectations and let-downs, all while examining their past relationships with the same man.

Valley Girl (2020)

Directed by: Rachel Lee Goldenberg
Rent it on: Amazon Prime Video

If you thought Deborah Foreman and Nicholas Cage had gotten the last word on the Valley Girl story, you were like totally wrong! Written by Amy Talkington and directed by Goldenberg, the musical remake pays homage to Martha Coolidge's 1983 cult film, with as many 80s dance moves and leotards as you can handle. Get ready to fall in love with Jessica Rothe and Josh Whitehouse.

And when you're done? Go back and revisit Coolidge's version, now available to stream for the first time ever.

Clementine (2020)

Directed by: Lara Jean Gallagher
Rent it on: In Virtual Cinemas

Gallagher's feature directorial debut centers around Karen (Otmara Marrero), who copes with a bad breakup by breaking into her ex's gorgeous lake house in the Pacific Northwest. There, she meets Lana (Sydney Sweeney), a mesmerizing and alluring younger woman.

How To Build A Girl (2020)

Directed by: Coky Giedroyc
Rent it on: Amazon Prime Video

Beanie Feldstein proves she's a bonafide leading lady in this hilarious adaptation of Caitlin Moran's 2014 novel.

Sixteen-year-old Johanna Morrigan (Feldstein) has a big heart, and an even bigger imagination. So, when she gets the opportunity to become a teen rock critic for a London magazine, she's taking that drama to the max.

Bonus: This is a perfect mother's day movie, that understands the pain of being (emotionally) distant from your mom.


CRSHD (2020)

Directed by: Emily Cohn
Rent or buy on: Digital and On-Demand

College freshman Izzy Alden (Isabelle Barbier) wants to lose her virginity. To help her out, her two best friends, Anuka (Deeksha Ketkar) and Fiona (Sadie Scott) decide to get her to a "crush party."

Cohn's film, which she premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2019, has been praised for its innovative and realistic use of social media, which makes sense, since she filmed her directorial debut when she was just 22.

The Other Lamb (2020)

Directed by: Małgorzata Szumowska
Stream it on: Amazon Prime Video

Released on VOD April 3, this movie is as much a visceral experience as it is a narrative one. Taking place in a remote forest cult dwelling, you can smell the rotten leaves strewn about the cabins, and practically feel the biting cold air nipping at your neck as you stroll through the wilderness. For Selah (Raffey Cassidey), the cult worshipping a leader known as Shepherd (Michiel Huisman) is all she's ever known. But as puberty and womanhood —  and the sexual submission they entail in this context — grow closer, she starts to question the teachings of a flawed, limited man.

Portrait of a Lady On Fire (2019)

Directed by: Céline Sciamma
Stream it on: Hulu

There are almost no men in Céline Sciamma’s film about a young woman hired to paint a portrait of a miserable would-be bride before her wedding. Marianne (Noémie Merlant) first presents herself as a walking companion to Heloise (Adèle Haenel), who has rejected every previous (male) painter hired by her mother. But as the two grow closer, we get sucked into their enclosed and intimate universe, where women can laugh together, cry together, love together, and be entirely themselves. In other words, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a stunning escape, a moment of true bliss far from the terrors and traumas of the real world. And the best part? The movie is now streaming on Hulu, so a vacation to a truly perfect dream land is just a click away.

Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers

Stream it on: Netflix

Let’s take it all the way back to the beginning. Women creators, directors, editors, and screenwriters thrived in the silent era of early Hollywood, helping to shape a new artform. This collection, curated by Kino Lorber in partnership with the Library of Congress, celebrates the achievements of artists like Lois Weber, Alice Guy Blache, Maron E. Wong, and Grace Cunard, among others. It’s a timely reminder that even as women fight to carve out space in Hollywood, they’ve always been an essential part of its history. 

American Honey (2016)

Directed by: Andrea Arnold
Stream it on: Netflix

Part love story, part coming-of-age tale, American Honey is the kind of movie that sucks you in gradually. By the end of the two and a half hour runtime, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Sasha Lane plays Star, a teen whose dream of escaping her abusive Oklahoma home is instantly realized when she meets Jake (Shia LaBeouf), the charismatic and troubled leader of a group of teen misfits who sell magazine subscriptions while criss-crossing the country.


The Farewell (2019)

Directed by: Lulu Wang
Stream it on: Amazon Prime Video

No movie this year hit me as hard as Lulu Wang’s semi-autobiographical film starring Awkwafina. Based on Wang’s own family story, The Farewell centers around Billi (Awkafina), a New York-based struggling writer who finds out that her beloved grandmother, Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhou), has been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer back in China. Even worse, her family, in keeping with Chinese tradition, refuses to tell her anything is wrong. Instead, the whole clan gathers in their hometown of Changchun using the excuse of a cousin’s wedding to say goodbye to the matriarch. In a world where many are living far away from their families and worried about their loved ones, The Farewell’s themes of learning to cope with loss and grief resonate more than ever. It’s a movie that’s highly specific in its story and setting, but universal in its scope. Make sure to have some tissues handy. 

Mudbound (2017)

Directed by: Dee Rees
Stream it on: Netflix

Mudbound earned four Oscar nominations in 2018, all of them record-breaking. Director Dee Rees, who also wrote the script, was the first Black woman ever to get a nod for Best Adapted Screenplay. Likewise, cinematographer Rachel Morrison became the first woman ever nominated in that category. With nods in both Best Original Song and Best Supporting Actress, Mary J. Blige became the first performer to be nominated in both categories. Also starring Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, and Jason Mitchell, the film centers around the lives of two families — one white, one Black —  in the post-World War II Jim Crow South. 

The Decline of Western Civilization (1981)

Directed by: Penelope Spheeris
Stream it on: Tubi

Spheeris spent two years documenting the punk rock scene in Los Angeles, and the result is nothing short of a banger. Featuring performances by Black Flag, Alice Bag Band, the Circle Jerks, X, the Germs, Catholic Discipline, and Fear, the film marks the first installment of the director’s trilogy of music subcultures. The second movie, The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (1988) covers the L.A. heavy metal scene, and the third, called — you guessed it —  The Decline of Western Civilization III (1998), follows homeless punk teens in the 1990s. 

But I'm A Cheerleader (1999)

Directed by: Jamie Babitt
Stream it on: Tubi

Critics didn’t particularly like But I’m A Cheerleader when it hit theaters in 1995. But 20 years later, Babitt’s biting satire of conversion therapy feels more urgent than ever. Natasha Lyonne plays Megan Bloomfield, a cheerleader who refuses to believe she’s a lesbian even after her parents stage a coming out intervention. But when she’s enrolled in True Directions, a program run by the terrifying Mary Brown (Cathy Moriarty), who pushes binary gender roles to their absolute (and ridiculous) extreme, she realizes that things aren’t just pink or blue. 

Late Night (2019)

Directed by: Nisha Ganatra
Stream it on: Amazon Prime Video

Late night shows are on hold right now, so get your fix with this Mindy Kaling-penned comedy instead. Emma Thompson plays Katherine Newbury, a veteran late night host who’s lost her edge and is on the verge of being fired by her new boss (Amy Ryan). In an attempt to boost ratings, she hires Molly (Kaling), the only woman of color in an all-male writing room. Loosely based on Kaling’s personal experience in Hollywood, the movie is basically the Devil Wears Prada meets 9 to 5. Bonus: Fantastic suit inspo.

The Bling Ring (2013)

Directed by: Sofia Coppola
Stream it on: Netflix

With so many celebrities in the doghouse right now, think of this as schadenfreude. Based on a Vanity Fair article by Nancy Jo Sales, The Bling Ring is the original summer of scam movie. The scammers: a group of fame-obsessed teens played by Emma Watson, Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Taissa Farmiga, and Claire Julien. The scammees? Celebrities like Paris Hilton, who finds her home — and closets —  have been broken into and robbed. 

Blow The Man Down (2020)

Directed by: Bridget Savage Cole & Danielle Krudy
Stream it on: Amazon Prime Video

June Squibb didn’t stand outside in nine-degree Maine winter weather for you to sleep on this movie. When Mary Beth (Morgan Saylor) and Priscilla Connolly’s (Sophie Lowe) mother dies after a long battle with cancer, she leaves them with an over-mortgaged house and a failing fish business. What they don’t know is that the growing pile of unpaid bills isn’t the only thing they have to worry about— their hometown of Easter Cove, ME is hiding a deep, dark secret, and they’re about to find themselves smack in the middle of the intrigue. If you’re craving a salty, murder mystery scored with soaring sea chanties, Blow the Man Down is for you. 

Atlantics (2019)

Directed by: Mati Diop
Stream it on: Netflix

Diop’s feature directorial debut transcends conventional genres. It’s a ghost story and a love story, a mystical story, and a story deeply rooted in a harsh reality, all at once. Mame Sané plays 17-year-old Ada, engaged to a rich man in Dakar but in love with another. When her lover Suleiman joins a convoy of migrants sailing to Europe in search of economic opportunity, Ada accepts she will never see him again. And indeed, Suleiman and his entire group perish at sea — or do they? Suddenly, Ada starts receiving messages from her paramour. But is it really Suleiman?

Skate Kitchen (2018)

Directed by: Crystal Moselle
Stream it on: Hulu

Moselle is returning to the Skate Kitchen universe in May with Betty, an HBO spinoff series that follows the film’s all-women skateboarding crew as they navigate this male-dominated space. That means it’s the perfect time to get acquainted with Camille (Rachelle Vinberg), a shy teen who becomes enamored with a group called Skate Kitchen, who film themselves doing stunts in New York City parks. It’s a coming-of-age story on skateboards — you know you’re curious. 

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