Don't deny it. You love a good rom-com. But what might make you love them even more is if they had a more feminist touch. Specifically, you might think it would be nice to see more
romantic comedies for women by women. Well, you're in luck, because this list looks at 19 rom-coms that were written, directed, and, in some cases, written and directed by women. After all, who better to tell a woman's story than a woman?
Some of these films will be familiar to cinephiles, like
Bridesmaids, which was written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo. Others are movies that you grew up loving, like Amy Heckerling's Clueless, which always deserves another re-watch. And yet some of these rom-coms are completely underrated. Becase, seriously, have you seen Lake Bell's directorial debut In A World...? Well, now is as good a time as any.
But what's so great about these sweet and funny movies is that most of them actually have
women getting the last laugh, which is unfortunately pretty rare in Hollywood. Well, the joke's on anyone who doesn't think women's movies can be funny and romantic and smart all at the same time, because this list proves that rom-coms made by women for women deserve your time. So, feel free to take a little time now to figure out which one of these movies you should watch first.
This modern rom-com,
directed by Gillian Robespierre and co-written by Anna Bean and Karen Maine, is a love letter to a woman's right to choose. Jenny Slate plays Donna, a comedian who has a one-night stand after getting dumped by her longtime boyfriend and ends up getting pregnant. She decides to get an abortion, and the film never questions her choice. Instead, it looks at how one's life changes after a decision like this. In the end, the movie is for anyone who's had to make a difficult life choice, letting them know you can go on, you can find love, and, most importantly, you can find yourself.
'Kissing Jessica Stein' (2001)
Sixteen years ago, Jennifer Westfeldt and Heather Juergensen wrote a film about a single copywriter (Westfeldt) who is looking for love in NYC but just keeps getting stuck on some seriously blind dates. That is, until she responds to a personal ad from Helen Cooper, a bisexual art gallerist played by Juergensen. The movie dealt with what it's like to have your first same-sex relationship in the public sphere. Especially how hard it is to ignore everyone else's unsolicited opinions about your love life, something that everyone, no matter their sexual preference, has dealt with.
In a world where women are still struggling to get a fair shake in Hollywood, Lake Bell's directorial debut, which she also wrote and starred in, looks at one woman's journey to become the voice in a trailer for a big budget movie. Oh, and she might find love in the process, but what you'll love is how Bell's Carol Solomon's real goal is to achieve her dream. Maybe we
can have it all.
Not include Amy Heckerling's reimagining of Jane Austen's
Emma on a list of rom-coms made by women? As if! No matter how you feel about Cher falling majorly, totally, butt-crazy in love with her former step-brother, this is a modern classic that you shouldn't be watching sporadically.
Most rom-coms focus on young love, but
Enough Said, from writer and director Nicole Holofcener, looks at what it's like to find love again when you're in your late 40s. Eva, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, has been divorced, has a daughter, and has a better idea of what she wants from love. But all of this somehow makes it harder for her to find it, and her journey is funny, sweet, and worth watching.
'Lost In Translation' (2003)
Not a traditional rom-com by any means, but Sofia Coppola's 2003 film looks at what it's like to be with someone but still feel alone. Loneliness is what brings Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) and Bob Harris (Bill Murray) together and gets them thinking about what they really want. It may be one another, but they know that their connection can't last forever and that's what makes this love story so bittersweet.
'You've Got Mail' (1998)
Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks find love in a hopeless place. That place being both the space between the little shop around the corner and the Fox books, and the internet. In those AOL days when online dating involved emails back and forth instead of swiping left, these two show that opposites attract.
written and directed by Zoe Lister-Jones, who also stars, is not about a meet cute, but about how a couple stays together after all that initial cuteness seems to have gone to the wayside. Turns out, starting a band where you write songs based on all your fights might help.
'Bridget Jones' Diary' (2001)
We have all been
Bridget Jones: singing "All By Myself" all by ourselves, in our pajamas, with a bottle of wine in our hand. That's probably why this film, directed by Sharon Maguire and based on Helen Fielding's book, is so relatable. If Bridget can find her Darcy after slogging through a whole slew of bad partners and even worse questions about her failing love life, we can, too.
This modern romantic comedy, starring Reese Witherspoon and written/directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer, looks at a woman who moves back to her hometown after separating from her husband. She ends up running into three young filmmakers who need a place to stay. Since this is a movie, she lets them move into her guest house, but she also ends up letting them into her heart. Through these three young men, Witherspoon's Alice ends up learning a lot about herself.
'Love & Basketball' (2000)
Separately, these two things are great, but put them together and you get one of the most underrated rom-coms of all time. Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps star in this film from Gina Prince-Bythewood about two prospective athletes whose journeys intersect. What's clear is that all is fair in love and basketball, but that doesn't mean it isn't frustrating and disheartening. Seriously, grab the tissues for an emotional four quarters.
'It's Complicated' (2009)
Complicated doesn't even begin to describe this movie from Nancy Meyers, where Meryl Streep is stuck in a love triangle between her ex-husband (Alec Baldwin) and her new architect (Steve Martin). While you might get mad at Streep for her choices, — don't worry, she's aware, and, for the most part, agrees — her kitchen is something you'll never get mad at. Seriously, it's a work of art.
Director Jerusha Hess brings you to a land straight out of a Jane Austen novel — quite literally, since Austenland is a theme park for Austen enthusiasts. It's here that Keri Russell's Jane is looking for a Darcy of her own. She wants to make her fantasy a reality, but she soon realizes that life is stranger than fiction and that isn't a bad thing.
'Bend It Like Beckham' (2002)
Sure, this movie is about one girl's love of soccer, but it's really about her love for her family. Jess Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) is trying to find herself while also trying not to disrespect her strict Indian parents. This culture-shock rom-com looks at how hard it is to balance the two. (Spoiler alert: it's as hard as learning to bend it like David Beckham.)
'Me And You And Everyone We Know' (2005)
For all those indie film lovers out there, Miranda July made a rom-com that is as twee as she is. That might be a lot for some people, but just try not to fall in love with July's dance-loving eldercare-driving Christine as she falls for a recently divorced shoe salesman, played by John Hawkes. It's so precious it just might break your heart.
'Sleeping With Other People' (2015)
raunchier take on When Harry Met Sally , directed by Leslye Headland, looks at Laney (Alison Brie) and Jake (Jason Sudeikis), who first slept together when they were in college. Years later, when they meet again, it's obvious they should start doing it again. Well, it's obvious to everyone but them, which is what makes their love story just the right amount of infuriating.
This movie hits all the right notes by focusing on the love these women have of music. Sure, Beca's (Anna Kendrick) crush on Jesse (Skylar Austin) is sweet, but it's a B storyline. The real story is how the Barden Bellas learn to work together as an aca-amazing family.
Can you have a list of rom-coms made by women without this movie from Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo? Definitely not, since it started a resurgence of women-driven comedies, for better or, in
some cases, worse. The film looks at the love between friends who are in different stages of their lives. But this movie makes it OK to laugh at the silly things we do — including pooping in a sink.
Tiffany Haddish isn't the only reason to take a trip with the Flossy Posse. The rom-com, written by Tracy Oliver and Kenya Barris, is a wild romp that isn't afraid to get real about the kind of conversations women have with one another about sex. Seriously, if you didn't
know what grapefruiting was, you sure do now. And what's also obvious from the success of is that we need more films like it. Girls Trip
These rom-coms made by women for women have an audience that is looking to see smarter, sweeter, and more feminist movies. It's about time Hollywood started listening.