29 Exciting New Movies Directed by Women

The Academy, please take note.

29 Exciting New Movies Directed by Women
(Image credit: Getty/Shuttershock)

Even if the major award shows continue to fail to recognize the movies and television shows directed by women, we sure as hell won't. These 29 picks are just some of the eagerly anticipated new films that will be released in 2020 and are directed by women, from big names like Clea DuVall to up-and-comers just breaking into the game. From a movie about a group of women taking down the Miss World pageant to the sequel to Wonder Woman, sit back and enjoy our list of the most exciting women-directed films of the year—so far.

'The Turning,' directed by Floria Sigismondi

Release Date: January 24

Starring: Mackenzie Davis, Finn Wolfhard, Brooklynn Prince

What it's about: Sigismondi's movie is a modern-day re-telling of the Henry James novel, The Turn of the Screw. The story follows a governess starting a new job at a very creepy mansion. She'll be in charge of two children who mysteriously lost their parents. Let's just say these kids aren't exactly angels.

'The Rhythm Section,' directed by Reed Morano 

Release Date: January 31

Starring: Blake Lively, Jude Law, Sterling K. Brown

What it's about: From the same director of Hulu's Handmaid's Tale comes this action thriller of a woman (Lively) who is out to seek revenge on the bad guys who were behind the plane crash that killed her family.

'Birds of Prey,' directed by Cathy Yan

Release Date: February 7

Starring: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ewan McGregor

What it's about: Consider it a sequel of sorts to the 2016 film Suicide Squad. Except, in this story, Harley Quinn has broken up with the Joker, and she's ready to fight the bad guys on her own, along with the help of some more women.

'The Lodge,' directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala

Release Date: February 7

Starring: Richard Armitage, Riley Keough, Alicia Silverstone

What it's about: Two kids and their soon-to-be stepmom are snowed in during a lodge getaway in the middle of nowhere after the kid's father is whisked away on business. The group seems to be trucking along fine...until some peculiar things start happening out of their control.

'The Photograph,' directed by Stella Meghie

Release Date: February 14

Starring: Issa Rae, Chelsea Peretti, Courtney B. Vance, LaKeith Stanfield, and Y'lan Noel

What it's about: When the famous photographer mom of Mae (played by Rae) dies unexpectedly, Mae finds in the photographs from her mom's past a romance she never knew about. As she uncovers her mom's history, she finds herself falling in love with the journalist tasked to write about her mother's legacy.

'The Last Thing He Wanted,' directed by Dee Rees

Release Date: February 21

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, Willem Dafoe, Rosie Perez

What's it about: Based on the Joan Didion novel of the same name, this story follows a war journalist who finds out that the story she's trying to break might hit closer to home than she realizes.

'Emma,' directed by Autumn de Wilde 

Release Date: February 21

Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Bill Nighy, Johnny Flynn, Mia Goth, Miranda Hart, Josh O'Connor

What's it about: Jane Austen lovers rejoice: It's a brand-new retelling of one of the writer's most beloved stories, Emma. If you're unfamiliar with the plot line, it's about a queen bee who likes to play matchmaker despite not being able to find a love for herself. And if you're still lost, the 1995 film Clueless is based on the same Austen novel. 

'First Cow,' directed by Kelly Reichardt 

Release Date: March 6

Starring: John Marago, Orion Lee, Rene Auberjonois

What's it about: Set in the early nineteenth-century, loner but skilled cook (Margaro) finds himself in the West with a bunch of fur trappers. Soon, he becomes friends with a Chinese immigrant (Lee), and the two set off to make a life for themselves with a nearby prized milking cow.

'Lost Girls,' directed by Liz Garbus

Release Date: March 13

Starring: Amy Ryan, Thomasin McKenzie, Lola Kirke, Gabriel Byrne

What's it about: Mari Gilbert's daughter disappears mysteriously one night. A self-investigation brings Mari to a gated Long Island community that seems abandoned. When the police get there, they find over a dozen murdered sex workers, but not Gilbert's daughter—and then things start to get really interesting.

'Never Rarely Sometimes Always,' directed by Eliza Hittman

Release Date: March 13 

Starring: Ryan Eggold, Théodore Pellerin, Talia Ryder

What's it about? Two teenage girls from a small town in Pennsylvania set out to New York City for medical help after one of them finds out she's pregnant..

'Mulan,' directed by Niki Caro

Release Date: March 27

Starring: Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Ling Gong

What's it about: The live-action remake of Disney's 1998 film of the same name follows a young girl who disguises herself as a man to take her father's place in the army.

'Saint Maud,' directed by Rose Glass

Release Date: March 27

Starring: Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle, and Marcus Hutton

What it's about: A young girl who is a hospice nurse because obsessed with saving the soul of her patient, and will stop at nothing to do so. Glass' debut as a director and writer is sure to be a terrifying one.

'Promising Young Woman,' directed by Emerald Fennell 

Release Date: April 17

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Laverne Cox and Adam Brody

What it's about: Cassie (Mulligan) had a promising future until an incident in medical school that made her drop out. Now, at night, she preys on men who aren't exactly nice guys. When the opportunity comes for her to get revenge on those who have wronged her in the past, nothing (and no one) can stop her.

'Black Widow,' directed by Cate Shortland

Release Date: May 1

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, Robert Downey Jr., Rachel Weisz, David Harbour

What's it about: Shortland's film will be the first film in the fourth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It'll follow Natasha Romanoff (Johansson) and the quest she goes on between the Avengers: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War films.

'Covers,' directed by Nisha Ganatra 

'Covers,' directed by Nisha Ganatra

(Image credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Release Date: May 8

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Ice Cube, Bill Pullman, June Diane Raphael

What's it about: It's a romance movie set in the Los Angeles music world. Ganatra also directed Late Night with Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson, so be ready for a lot of laughs. 

'Wonder Woman 1984,' directed by Patty Jenkins 

Release Date: June 5

Starring: Gal Gadot, Pedro Pascal, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig

What's it about: Not much is known about the sequel to the 2017 film Wonder Woman, except that it's set in the '80s, and this time our Diana (Gadot) is up against a new enemy, Cheetah (Wiig.)

‘Candyman,’ directed by Nia DaCosta

‘Candyman,’ directed by Nia DaCosta

(Image credit: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Release Date: June 12

Starring: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Tony Todd, Colman Domingo, Teyonah Parris

What's it about: It's a sequel to the 1992 film that probably gave you nightmares at some point. The film will still take place in Chicago, and the famous hooked-handed boogeyman continues to haunt the Cabrini-Green housing projects.

'Respect,' directed by Liesl Tommy 

Release Date: August 14

Starring: Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitataker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald

What's it about: We'll see Jennifer Hudson play the legendary Aretha Franklin in a biopic about the singer's life. Franklin herself picked Hudson to play her before she died in 2018, so get ready for goosebumps.

'Happiest Season,' directed by Clea DuVall

'Happiest Season,' directed by Clea DuVall

(Image credit: Dan MacMedan/Getty Images)

Release Date: November 25

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Dan Levy, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Jake McDorman

What it's about: A woman (Stewart) shows up to her family's holiday party on a mission to propose to her girlfriend (Davis.) Unfortunately, she finds out her partner hasn't yet come out to her conservative parents.

‘Misbehaviour,’ directed by Philippa Lowthorpe

Release Date: TBD

Starring: Keira Knightley, Jessie Buckley, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Suki Waterhouse

What's it about: Based on a true story, Misbehaviour will follow the story of a group of women who plan to take down the 1970 Miss World beauty competition in London. This U.K. film is getting a March 13 release in Britain, so we can only hope that we'll be able to see this story about some serious girl power around the same time.

‘Marry Me,’ by Kat Coiro

‘Marry Me,’ by Kat Coiro

(Image credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

Release Date: TBD

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, Sarah Silverman, Maluma

What's it about: The movie is based on the graphic novel by Bobby Crosby that tells the story of a pop star (Lopez) who finds out just moments before walking down the aisle at Madison Square Garden that her fiancé (Maluma) is cheating on her. So, naturally, the only logical response is to pick a random man (Wilson) from the crowd and get hitched with him instead.

‘The Glorias,’ by Julie Taymor

‘The Glorias,’ by Julie Taymor

(Image credit: DDimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Release Date: TBD

Starring: Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander, Bette Midler, Janelle Monáe

What's it about: It's a biopic about feminist icon Gloria Steinem. The story will follow a similar narrative as her New York Times bestselling autobiography, My Life on the Road.

‘On The Rocks,’ directed by Sofia Coppola

‘On The Rocks,’ directed by Sofia Coppola

(Image credit: James Devaney/Getty Images)

Release Date: TBD

Starring: Bill Murray, Jenny Slate, Rashida Jones, Marlon Wayans, Jessica Henwick

What's it about: The comedy-drama follows a young mom (Jones) who reconnects with her playboy dad (Murray) for an adventure through New York. 

‘The Half Of It,’ by Alice Wu

‘The Half Of It,’ by Alice Wu

(Image credit: J. Vespa/Getty Images)

Release Date: TBD

Starring: Leah Lewis, Daniel Diemer, Alexxis Lemire, Becky Ann Baker

What's it about: Netflix's next teen rom-com tells the story of a high school football star who hires Ellie, the shy, smart girl, to help him win over the girl he's crushing on. It seems simple right? Well, Ellie also has a crush on the same girl.

Bianca Rodriguez
Bianca Rodriguez

Bianca Rodriguez is the Commerce Editor/Writer at Hearst Magazines Digital Media, where she covers fashion, beauty, home, and more. She likes long walks through shopping malls, a good book, and thinks a closet without platform sneakers is a travesty.