It’s a great summer for women in cinema. The recent box office successes of a slew of films featuring female-driven stories is proving that it’s not just the boys buying tickets. In the last few months we’ve seen hits with musical comedy Pitch Perfect 2 (directed and written by women, with an almost all-female cast), the post-apocalyptic action adventure Mad Max: Fury Road (where Charlize Theron steals the spotlight from the title character as badass Imperator Furiosa) and Pixar’s brilliant, animated Inside Out (which takes place almost completely “in the mind” of an 11-year old girl). And we’re just getting started. Here are 5 of this summer’s movies we can’t wait to see:
1. Trainwreck – Release date: July 17, 2015
Amy Schumer — possibly the most talked about comedian of the moment — is getting her first big Hollywood break as a “commitment-phobic career woman” who does not believe in monogamy in this romantic comedy. With director Judd Apatow, the godfather of the bromance and a great supporter of funny women (as producer of Bridesmaids and HBO-show Girls), and an ensemble cast that includes Tilda Swinton, Vanessa Bayer and Bill Hader, there’s a ton of comedy firepower here. If it’s half as smart and funny as Schumer’s Comedy Central show, we’re in for a treat.
2. Ricki and the Flash – Release date: August 7, 2015
You’ve seen her as a nun, as Margaret Thatcher, as a concentration camp survivor and as a devious magazine editor — but this time Meryl Streep is transforming herself into a leather-clad rock musician who abandons her family to pursue a career as lead singer for a cover band. While you’ve seen her sing before (never forget Mamma Mia) for this role, she spent months learning to play the guitar and recorded a dozen covers (including Tom Petty’s American Girl and Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance) in front of a live audience. And in case you need more reasons to see this movie: the director’s seat is taken by Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs), who’s worked with rockstars including Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Talking Heads – and the script is in the hands of Diablo Cody, the woman who went from a career as a stripper to winning every award imaginable for her screenwriting debut Juno.
3. The Diary of a Teenage Girl – Release date: August 7, 2015
One of this year’s most anticipated indies, The Diary of a Teenage Girl is the directorial debut of actress Marielle Heller and has already received rave reviews at the Sundance and Berlin film festivals. It’s a classic coming-of-age story, centered around Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley), a precocious teen and aspiring comic book artist growing up in 1970s San Francisco. Her world gets turned upside down when she loses her virginity…to her mom’s boyfriend (played by Alexander Skarsgard). Heller based her screenplay on the acclaimed graphic novel by Phoebe Gloeckner, turning it into a clever hybrid between live-action and animation, which — at least according to Indiewire — is “shocking but genuine, poignant and hilarious”. Kristen Wiig plays Minnie’s hard-partying mother.
4. Mistress America – Release date: August 14, 2015
After 2012’s excellent Frances Ha, Greta Gerwig has teamed up again with her romantic and creative partner Noah Baumbach for another neurotic comedy exploring female friendship. Gerwig co-wrote, produced and stars as Brooke, an ebullient, adventurous “gal about town” who takes her soon-to-be stepsister Tracy under her wing. Gone Girl’s Lola Kirke plays Tracy, a lonely and bored college freshman. The two go on a series of farcical mini-adventures in New York City — including a confrontation with Brooke’s arch-enemy, a woman who, she says, “stole my ideas and my fiance and then literally stole my cats”. If the trailer and early reviews are any indication, we’re set for another fast-paced, quick-witted and astute movie about being young in the big city.
5. Grandma – Release date: August 21, 2015
It’s almost unbelievable that Lily Tomlin — one of America’s all-time greatest comediennes — hasn’t had a starring role since 1988’s Big Business. At age 75, she’s back in full force with Grandma, starring as an acerbic lesbian poet who takes her granddaughter on a road trip. It’s a low-budget comedy-drama about three generations of women, with men only appearing as auxiliary characters. Surprisingly enough, it sprung from the mind of director Paul Weitz, who wrote the movie with Tomlin in mind, and who also has American Pie and Little Fockers on his record (to be fair, About A Boy is on there, too). Nevertheless, the movie was well received at Sundance, with Variety heaping a lot of praise on the “constantly surprising character piece” and predicting some much-deserved awards chatter for Tomlin.