Spotlight on women

By Zainab Khawaja
Tue, 01, 19

As per our tradition, here is a list of some of our favourite women-oriented/family movies of 2018 which we have lovingly compiled for our readers. We are sure you will thank us after watching them...


As per our tradition, here is a list of some of our favourite women-oriented/family movies of 2018 which we have lovingly compiled for our readers. We are sure you will thank us after watching them...


In a semi-autobiographical story that takes us back to early-1970s Mexico City and the site of his family’s splintering, writer/director Alfonso Cuaron shines a light on Cleo ( Yalitza Aparicio), the quiet domestic worker/nanny who was a second maternal figure to him. ‘Roma’ feels grandiose, but it stays grounded in a powerful and personal story about family. First-time actress Yalitza Aparicio brings a quiet intensity to Netflix’s tale of a put-upon maid in a middle-class home during a time of civil and personal unrest.

‘Roma’ is as much an ode to ordinary women who make an extraordinary impact as it is about a man rediscovering a dear beacon of unconditional love and hope. There’s an indescribable magic about this deeply personal and intimate movie that makes you reconsider your own childhood, and gives you a deeper appreciation for the adults who defined your life.


Life on the margins is imagined in multifaceted terms by Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda in ‘Shoplifters’, an achingly empathetic story about a makeshift Japanese household that steals to survive. Shoplifters’ is an aching pleasure, a family drama that challenges convention and is rife with moments of quirky humor. Kore-eda imbues his film with the hum and hush of real life, all the necessary detail and texture. It’s a film of gentleness and compassion, brought to life by an ensemble of actors as committed to the playfulness and poetry of ordinary life as the director who brought them together.

If Beale Street Could Talk

Barry Jenkins’ dazzling adaptation of a 1974 novel by James Baldwin approaches the blossoming love between Tish (Kiki Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James) with great reverence. ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ is packed to the brim with details that instate a dreamlike quality on this Harlem period romance. With all the racism in today’s world seemingly getting louder, Jenkins smartly chooses to keep the novel within the era it was written to send a message of love that feels more classic than contemporary, while also dealing with issues disturbingly still relevant today. ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ is a beautiful, expressive film, at times feeling like a tone poem or lyrical plaint. It’s hard not to fall under the film’s beautiful, somber, lustrous spell, and as a story about black American life framed as a love story, its images are indelible.


A deliciously wicked, loosely historically based drama from Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos , ‘The Favourite’ is a dark comedy about three women: Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), her closest friend and adviser Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz), and the young woman (Emma Stone) who joins the household and starts to usurp Sarah’s coveted spot.

The film’s luxurious interiors, cockeyed sensibility, and complex trio of female characters with frank views on power, sexuality, and what they want out of life make for a film that’s both entertaining and loaded with pathos. ‘The Favourite’ is a costume drama for a new age, aware of the cliches and trappings of its genre and giving them mischievous tweaks. It’s also an unabashedly queer film, playful and unfussed about its transgressions and never leering in its gaze.

Eight Grade

Teenagerdom is tough, and Bo Burnham’s ‘Eighth Grade’ captures the difficult ups and downs of that universal experience with amusing and moving realism. ‘Eighth Grade’ is a startlingly empathetic, wincingly honest, completely charming story of a girl living through the last week of eighth grade and coming to terms with herself. In this surprisingly resonant drama, a middle school girl (Elsie Fisher) struggling to find her identity uses the Internet to fabricate an image of self-confidence - and tries hard to pretend it’s true. ‘Eight Grade’ is a sensitive movie about what it’s like to grow up in the selfie generation, surrounded by iPhone cameras and webcams. The film is for everyone is full of compassion, too.

Can You Forgive Me?

Based on Lee Israel’s memoir of the same name, ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me’? stars Melissa McCarthy as a successful celebrity biographer who falls on dire financial straits in the early 1990s and later turns to literary forgery and theft. Directed by Marielle Heller, the film touches upon the way that women navigate and protect themselves in their careers. Set in wintry 1990s Manhattan, ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me’? probes serious matters - loneliness, addiction, illness, and trying to make a living - while also being thoroughly entertaining.


Directed by Steve McQueen, ‘Widows’ is a smart, sharp thriller. Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms. ‘Widows’ gives its women the authority to effectively overturn those tables for their own monetary benefit and survival. It’s a story that doesn’t seek to redeem any of its characters, but rather present each as a necessary commodity for the other in a corrupt world.

The Tale

In 2018, the #MeToo movement forced us to reflect on the disturbing sexual experiences of our past, the encounters we brushed off simply because they were just so commonplace. ‘The Tale’, written and directed by Jennifer Fox, goes beyond that, exploring how our memory protects us from trauma by distorting images into something digestible. Laura Dern plays the grown-up version of Fox as she’s slowly forced to grapple with the fact that the relationship she once had with her 40-year-old swim coach wasn’t a relationship between two consenting adults. In turn, we witness Fox’s search for her place in her own story - is she a victim? A survivor? A heroine? The Tale is not a film that wears its importance on its sleeve, because it’s deeply personal. But it feels prescient, almost prophetic.