8 Actresses Worth Watching This 2014

Even with the handful of female-centric films coming out these next few months, the summer 2014 movie season doesn't exactly scream "feminist." Per usual, there's the guy-heavy sequels (X-Men, 22 Jump Street, Transformers 4), the male-led fantasy films (Godzilla, Guardians of the Galaxy), and a few supposedly "equal" movies that feature a one-dimensional female character alongside her complex, more important male counterpart (we're looking at you, Edge of Tomorrow ). It's frustrating and repetitive, and as half the moviegoing audience (and, you know, population), women have a right to see more.

Thankfully, we're about to. Eight actresses, from Charlize Theron to Angelina Jolie, are set to take over theaters for the remainder of 2014. These women are taking on multiple starring roles in movies that are sure to do well, if they aren't already box office successes. We're not talking about small, supporting parts in male-dominated movies, or indie films that might be great, but no one will see — we're talking big, highly-anticipated projects, with leading parts that seem worthy of these women's talents. As a woman and moviegoer, I only have one response: it's about damn time.

The eight actresses set to dominate the rest of 2014:

1. Charlize Theron

Movies Out: A Million Ways to Die in the West (5/30), pictured above; Dark Places (9/5)

Good for Women? A Million Ways is a maybe — Seth MacFarlane is the "I Saw Your Boobs" guy, don't forget. Dark Places, though, based on Gillian Flynn's bestseller and coming right after Gone Girl, should be huge.

2. Rose Byrne

Movies Out: Neighbors (5/9), pictured above; This is Where I Leave You (9/12); Annie (12/19)

Good for Women? Yup. Neighbors is surprisingly feminist, with Byrne's character just as hilarious, nuanced, and relatable as Rogen and Efron's. This is Where I Leave You, a star-studded adaptation, features several great women (Tina Fey! Connie Britton!), and the new version of Annie seems far more centered on its female characters than its male ones.

3. Emma Stone

Movies Out: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (5/2), pictured above; Magic in the Moonlight (7/25); Birdman (10/17); Untitled Cameron Crowe Project (12/25)

Good for Women? It's too early to tell, but so far, so good. Spider-Man's Gwen Stacy is an equal match to Peter Parker, and Magic director Woody Allen, for all his off-screen issues, tends to write dynamic female characters.

4. Jennifer Lawrence

Movies Out: X-Men: Days of Future Past (5/23), pictured above; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 (11/21)

Good for Women? X-Men is so-so, but Mockingjay will be a definitive yes. Lawrence may not have as many movies coming out this year as the others on this list, but the ones she does have are sure to make quite an impact.

5. Keira Knightley

Movies Out: Begin Again (7/4), pictured above; Laggies (9/26); The Imitation Game (11/21)

Good for Women? They definitely could be. Begin Again is by the director of Once, which gave wonderfully complex roles to both its male and female leads. Laggies is by Lynn Shelton, a director known for her great, nuanced on-screen portrayal of women. The Imitation Game has Knightley in a smaller role, but from the info available, an impressive one.

6. Angelina Jolie

Movies Out: Maleficent (5/30), pictured above; Unbroken (12/25)

Good for Women? Most definitely. Maleficent , starring two women, will be huge, and while Unbroken, a potential Oscar bait, stars a man, Jolie is its director, a big deal when only two of the top-grossing 100 movies of 2013 were directed by women.

7. Melissa McCarthy

Movies Out: Tammy (7/2), pictured above; St. Vincent de Van Nuys (10/24)

Good for Women? Without question. Women everywhere should be thankful that Melissa McCarthy exists, and that directors are smart enough to cast her in their movies.

8. Chloe Moretz

Movies Out: If I Stay (8/22), pictured above; Dark Places (9/5); Laggies (9/26); The Equalizer (9/26)

Good for Women? 100%. At 17, Moretz is doing more for women than plenty of actresses twice her age. Who said teens are lazy?

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