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Stream Them Now: The 14 Highest Rated Films Directed by Women Available to Stream for Free or By Subscription

Stream Them Now: The 14 Highest Rated Films Directed by Women Available to Stream for Free or By Subscription

Perhaps the recent attention to Spike Lee’s list of films all aspiring filmmakers left you feeling a bit ignorant yourself?  The films pushed to us by studios, journalistic outlets, and film classes are overwhelmingly directed by men.  Very few women are granted the label of auteur compared to the many men who are. 

READ MORE: Spike Lee Admits He’s Wrong, Adds Eight Films By Women to His List of Essential Movies

As a Metacritic post from 2010 listing the highest rated women directors and films directed by women noted, “Admittedly, we shouldn’t have to publish this article. But even in a
year where a woman [Katherine Bigelow] took home the Academy Award for best director (for
the first time), female filmmakers still aren’t getting the same
recognition or opportunities that male directors do.”

Using that list as a jumping-off point — and also looking at the releases since it was published — here are the 14 films directed by women that scored at least 80 on Metacritic that are available to stream for free or by subscription. (Of course, Metacritic is a website that charts critics’ online reviews of films, so this list skews more recent than other lists of the best films directed by women.):

Score: 94
“Sita Sings the Blues,” Nina Paley [YouTube] []

Score: 90
“Persepolis,” Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi [Amazon]

Score: 89
“Lost in Translation,” Sophia Coppola [Netflix] [Xfinity
“The Piano,” Jane Campion [Netflix] [Amazon] [Hulu]

Score: 86
“Boys Don’t Cry,” Kim Peirce [Xfinity] [HBO GO]

Score: 85
“An Education,” Lone Scherfig [Xfinity]

Score: 84
“Old Joy,” Kelly Reichardt [Netflix]

Score: 82
“To Be Heard,” Edwin Martinez & Deborah Shaffer [Hulu]

Score: 81
“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,” Alison Klayman [Netflix]
“Bright Star,” Jane Campion [Xfinity]
“Fish Tank,” Andrea Arnold [Netflix]
“The Secret of Kells,” Tomm Moore & Nora Twomey [Netflix] [Amazon] [Hulu] [Snagfilms]

Score: 80
“Set Me Free,” Léa Pool [Hulu Plus]
“The Queen of Versailles,” Lauren Greenfield [Netflix] [Amazon]

An earlier version of this articles mentioned that Tamara Jenkins’ “The Savages” is streaming online.  That film is not available to stream for free or by subscription as earlier reported.

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Here's a list of the best movies directed by women, as decided by mostly male movie reviewers. We didn't want to do the research ourselves but we wanted the clickbait so here's some lazily filtered content we got from other websites.

Go girls!


Wow, I didn't know Campion directed a film called Big Star. Come on, Indiewire.

Nina Paley

Thanks! Let me add Sita Sings the Blues can be downloaded for free at any resolution from It's also available for streaming from Fandor, which is a great service. Don't bother with the ad-laden Hulu when you can get it through superior channels.


The list is so wrong ! Bigelow got 94 from "The Hurt Locker" and 95 from "Zero Dark Thirty". While Claire Denis got 92 with her "35 Shots of Rum", Yet these are not in this list ….

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