Finding films written by, directed by, or even just featuring women in meaningful roles is not always easy. Thankfully, IMDb now has the F-rating, a category of movies devoted entirely to films with a strong female presence in front of or behind the camera. There is an impressive 21,735 movies currently tagged with the rating, but if you are looking for a good place to start delving into all of this feminist movie goodness, I've got your back. There are at least 17 F for Female list movies you need to watch right now, if you haven't seen them yet.
If you want to find the list for yourself, just navigate over to IMDb and type "F-rated" into the search bar. A category with the same name will pop up, and once you click it, the list will be revealed. Some of the titles you find there might just surprise you, especially those listed in the top 50.
The films included range from overtly feminist tales like Boys Don't Cry to teen favorites like Bend it Like Beckham. Then there's a few headscratchers like Happy Feet, which is included because Judy Morris was on the writing and directing team. If the list feels daunting right now, don't worry, once you start perusing it, the reasoning behind each films inclusion begins to make sense.
For now, let me help you plan your next movie night with 17 landmark films on the F is for Female list that you absolutely must see.
1. The Babadook
Written and directed by Jennifer Kent, The Babadook is not only a strikingly original horror film, it is also one of the most honest portrayals of dealing with depression ever committed to the screen.
Tragedy brought art into Frida Kahlo's life and gave the world a master of surrealism in the process. Salma Hayek does a stunning job of making the brilliant Frida's story come to life.
3. Thelma & Louise
If you have never seen this feminist classic, it is time for you to see what all the hype is about. And yes, it is just as good as everyone says it is.
4. Boys Don't Cry
The story of Brandon Teena's life is both beautiful and tragic. The film won Hilary Swank an Oscar, but it should be remembered for the way it challenged Hollywood to tell more LGBTQ stories.
5. Cloud Atlas
The Wachowski sisters never make dull films, but even by their standards, Cloud Atlas is a visually adventurous journey through multiple times and perspectives. Strange and wondrous, this is the perfect film to get lost in on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
6. Winter's Bone
Winter's Bone marked Jennifer Lawrence's arrival in Hollywood as a star. Under the careful direction of Debra Granik, Lawrence brought ferocity to the role of a poverty-stricken teen determined to safeguard her family, no matter the cost.
7. Lost In Translation
As a director and writer, Sofia Coppola always manages to find just the right balance between capturing stunning images and exposing the humanity in the loneliest of people. Lost in Translation remains her masterwork.
8. The Kids Are All Right
The children of two moms go in search of their biological father, and the result is a messy, wondrous look at a modern family.
9. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
An Iranian vampire western movie exists, and you need it in your life. A true feminist masterpiece, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is both a horror film and an illuminating vision of female power.
10. North Country
Based on the true story of Lois Elaine Jenson, North Country is a working class tale about the lengths one women went to in the name of changing the outdated sexual harassment laws in the United States.
British period dramas rarely have room for black characters, never mind making them the lead. Belle, directed by Amma Asante, challenges the pre-conceived perception of what a costume drama should be by focusing on the story of a biracial young gentlewoman and the challenges she faces in 1700s England.
Waitress is made all the more poignant by the fact that its promising writer-director Adrienne Shelly was murdered shortly before its release. She left behind a beautiful romantic comedy about a woman who finds the strength to leave an abusive relationship behind for herself and her daughter.
13. The Fits
Anna Rose Holmer's debut film as a writer-director is a small-scale movie with a whole lot to say on the subjects of race, gender expectations, and the harrowing experience of growing up.
14. Wuthering Heights
Wuthering Heights gets a dreamy upgrade in this underrated 2011 adaptation.
15. The Namesake
Leave it to Mira Nair to direct a gorgeous and honest film about the bond between a father and son. The Namesake is the story of a young man who is a child of immigrants, and his slow journey toward understanding the sacrifices his father made to ensure he had a wonderful life.
16. The Tempest
A gender-swapped Shakespearean film starring Helen Mirren exists. You don't need to know anything else, just go watch it immediately.
17. Tiny Furniture
Before Girls, Lena Dunham told the ultimate millennial tale of disaffection and aimlessness in her first indie comedy. Watch as one of the most important feminist voices in Hollywood today made her perfectly awkward grand entrance.
The F-Rated list deserves to be bookmarked and explored often, but these 17 movies are an excellent place to start your journey.