Best movies of 2015–Women

I love to watch films that tell women’s stories.  Sadly, they are not as prevalent as they could be.  So here’s a supplement to my top list of 2015 films.  These are the best films I watched this year that tell some aspect of what it’s like being a woman in the world.

A New Leaf
I’m quibbling with my choice of including this on my list, because the main character is Walter Matthau, but a woman wrote, directed and starred in it, plus it’s a pretty fun movie.  So it stays.

Sigourney Weaver!  She  is awesome.

Begin Again
Another movie with a man as a (possibly the) main character, but it stays on the list because it also manages to capture several different aspects of being female in the music world.  Or even just the world.

Finding one’s way in life, in a new country, in a relationship.  It’s all there.

The classic template for female existence, not reinvented, but incredible to watch.  That dance at the ball!

Inside Out
It’s the inside of a girl’s brain and the two emotions we spend the most time with are voiced by females.

Martha Marcy May Marlene
Elizabeth Olsen is fantastic as a former cult member trying to find her footing.

Mistress America
It’s a screwball comedy with two awesome female leads.

Short Term 12
Bre Larson is in command as the head of a short term care facility.

Skeleton Twins
Kristen Wiig captures layers of depression with a nuance that hopefully means she will have a long career making movies.

The Intern
Surprisingly, a tale of a female executive who is trying to make the best choices for her company, her relationship and her family.

The first movie I’ve seen that directly deals with feelings around becoming a mother. (It’s very weird that there are not more films that deal with this subject.)

We Are The Best
Punk rock girls in Sweden are the best!

Zero Motivation
Hilarious and funny tale about being female in the Israeli army.

Best movies of 2015

Here’s my top pick for the year.  You must see this film!

I’ve got a top 17, broken into two categories:
Top 10 New Movies (movies I watched in 2015 at the movie theater)
Top 7 Discoveries (movies I watched in 2015 on DVD)

Top 10 New Movies:
(in alphabetical order)
Dear White People
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Love and Mercy
Mistress America
The Big Short
The Intern
Zero Motivation

Top 7 Discoveries
(In alphabetical order)
Begin Again
Short Term 12
Tonight You’re Mine (aka You Instead)
We Are The Best

Honorable mentions New Movies:
Bridge of Spies
Furious 7
Skeleton Twins
Sleeping With Other People
Straight Outta Compton
The End of the Tour
The Man From UNCLE
The Martian

Honorable mentions Discoveries:
A New Leaf
All the Real Girls
Inside Llewyn Davis
Like Crazy
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Now You See Me
Only Lovers Left Alive
Thanks for Sharing
The Art of the Steal
The Grand Seduction
Two Night Stand

Top movies of June 2015

13 movies watched

new_leafA New Leaf
Elaine May’s dark romantic comedy lives up to my youthful remembrances.

place_in_the_sun_ver2A Place in the Sun
Great mid-20th century class commentary and a good argument for why abortion should be legal. (I say this only partially tongue-in-cheek.)

now_you_see_meNow You See Me
It’s a heist movie with magicians and is populated with fabulous actors.

aint_them_bodies_saintsAin’t Them Bodies Saints
Join the Casey Affleck Aficionado Club.  Enjoy Rooney Mara too.

sessionsThe Sessions
Ignore Helen Hunt’s accent and marvel at John Hawkes performance.

love_and_mercyLove & Mercy
Get inside the mind of Brian Wilson in this not-traditional biopic.

Enjoy the best movie about being a teenage boy since Kings of Summer was released.

lifeguardThe Lifeguard
Cringe at Kristen Bell’s inappropriate choices while enjoying everyone’s acting. Contemplate how ugly those lifeguard suits are.

Top Movies of January-May 2015

New Feature!

Because I watch so many movies, I thought it would be handy to have a summary at the end of the month of my top movies of that month.  These are movies I watched during the month that I feel are worth watching, for a variety of reasons. Just like my viewing patterns, movies will be both first-run and from the back catalog. I will include a total of movies* watched in the month and a sentence or two explaining why I’m recommending this movie to you.  After this catch-up post, this will be a monthly feature.

*For our purposes “movies” will include both films and the DVDs of TV show seasons.

(6 total movies watched)
dear_white_people_ver2   skeleton_twins   zero_motivation_ver2

Dear White People
Come for the peek into college campus life via Black characters, stay for Lionel, the nerd.

Skeleton Twins
Hollywood is littered with the broken careers of post-Saturday Night Live actors.  Watch this for two alumni, attempting/succeeding at serious drama.

Zero Motivation 
You will probably have to work to find this comedy, an Israeli Army female version of Office Space, but it will be worth it.


(2 total movies watched)

Treme Season 1
Travel back to just after Katrina and watch a multi-racial cast attempt to put their lives back together.


(11 total movies watched)
Cinderella (2015)
Marvel at how well Disney translates an animated classic into a live-action movie.  Become verklempt during the ballroom scene and gasp just how well the dress works.


(9 total movies watched)
twelve_years_a_slave      short_term_twelve   furious_seven_ver2

12 Years a Slave
Watch it because the acting is first rate and the subject matter is important.

Short Term 12
Recommended for its heart (it’s so much better than those movies designed to inspire you) and for its female-centered plot.

Furious 7
Only watch this after you have enjoyed numbers 1, 4, 5, & 6 of the series and marvel at how well they sent off Paul Walker


(12 total movies watched)

ex_machina now voyager      me_and_orson_welles    while_were_young    mikey-and-nicky-movie-poster-1976-1010724664   like_crazy

Ex Machina
A great movie for post-viewing conversation and spellbinding to watch.

Now, Voyager
Female centered 1950s drama (not the sci-fi film I thought it was) about a woman of a certain age finding her path

Me and Orson Welles
A very good backstage drama of Wells’s 1937 production of Julius Caesar.

Like Crazy
Quietly acted and improvised realistic love story.

While We’re Young
Smart and funny and a good time capsule of current life for 20- and 40-somethings.

Mikey & Nicky
Look to Elaine May for a different kind of gangster film.