The disparity between the number of male stories being told on film and the number of female stories being told on film is still too conspicuous. But every year, there are bright and encouraging spots: box office winners, women creators lauded by critics, and female-centric bits of history finally getting their day in the sun. One month into 2017 and it appears that the slate of upcoming releases has a potential in all three of those areas. From dark comedy to major sci-fi franchises to historical psycho-drama, women will make a new mark in film this year. Take a look at these 19 2017 movies that every woman should see and start adding some dates to your iCal.
It's been slow going in the march to equal opportunity and representation. But women should be cheering for the big advances of 2016: Hidden Figures went number one at the box office and earned a Best Picture nomination; Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso led a group of rebels in a pivotal Star Wars mission; and Natalie Portman produced and starred in a thrilling and intimate biopic about one of history's most famous and least understood women. (And those are just a sample.) What will women be talking about at the movies in 2017? Here's a preview:
1. A United Kingdom (Feb. 10)
A prince returns to Botswana with his new English wife in A United Kingdom. Belle director Amma Asante brings her lush style to another true story about race, culture clash, and love.
2. Catfight (Mar. 3)
Passive-aggressive conflicts turn into actual fisticuffs in this black comedy, featuring Anne Heche and Sandra Oh as two frenemies to the death.
3. Before I Fall (Mar. 3)
Sam knows she's going to die. But the universe traps her in a never-ending loop of her final day until she can come to peace with it.
4. Logan (Mar 3)
Until now, the women in the Wolverine franchise have been villains or love interests. Logan finds the mutant training and caring for a young girl with whom he shares some similar qualities.
5. Beauty & The Beast (Mar. 17)
Disney's most bookish princess gets a live-action reboot. And if Belle were real, she'd love to know that she's played by IRL activist and feminist Emma Watson.
6. The Zookeeper's Wife (Mar. 31)
Jessica Chastain leads a historical drama about the heroic actions of the couple who kept the Warsaw Zoo during the Nazi invasion of Poland. Bonus: the director, screenwriter, and author of the book the movie adapts are all women.
7. Wonder (Apr. 7)
Julia Roberts plays the loving mom of a courageous boy (Jacob Tremblay) who takes life on with zeal, despite the prejudices he faces due to his deformity.
8. Gifted (Apr. 12)
Chris Evans puts down the shield to play the protective guardian of a young girl who is discovered to be an intellectual prodigy. Hidden Figures only made me hungrier to see female genius portrayed on screen.
9. The Circle (Apr. 28)
While it looks like things aren't going to turn out great for her there, it's quietly revolutionary to have a female protagonist leading a film about a Silicon Valley juggernaut of a company.
10. Snatched (May 12)
Here's an unusual spring release for a sexist and ageist industry: a comedy with a red-band trailer led by two female comedians, including one in her 70s.
11. Wonder Woman (June 2)
DC beats Marvel to handing a standalone film to a female hero. I hope and expect that the box office will reward their choice.
12. Rock That Body (June 16)
Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Demi Moore, Jillian Bell, and Ilana Glazer all appear in this comedy from Broad City writers Lucia Aniello and Paul Downs about a bachelorette party weekend gone horribly wrong.
13. My Cousin Rachel (July 14)
Seeing at least one provocative period pot-boiler per year is good for the soul, especially if it stars Rachel Weisz as an enigmatic object of affection.
14. Girls Trip (July 21)
Can't take off with your own friends for a crazy, life-changing weekend? Then live vicariously through Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Tiffany Haddish.
15. The Coldest City (July 28)
Charlize Theron as a glamorous Cold War spy? Where do I send my money?
16. A Bad Moms Christmas (Nov. 3)
The Bad Moms are back for what definitely won't be a good, ol' fashioned family Christmas.
17. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Dec. 15)
Catch up with the Force-senstive bae Rey and say goodbye to Carrie Fisher again when the prime Star Wars franchise picks back up in December.
18. Pitch Perfect 3 (Dec. 22)
The Bellas will be back before the year is out, making it a full trilogy for this melodic series about female friendship, body positivity, and hitting that high C.
19. The Glass Castle (TBD)
It doesn't have a release date yet, but that's no reason not to get excited about Oscar winner Brie Larson bringing Jeannette Walls' bestselling memoir about her unimaginably difficult childhood to life.
2017 is young, and this list should only be the beginning of a groundbreaking year for women in movies.