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.
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.):
"Persepolis," Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi [Amazon]
"Boys Don't Cry," Kim Peirce [Xfinity] [HBO GO]
"An Education," Lone Scherfig [Xfinity]
"Old Joy," Kelly Reichardt [Netflix]
"To Be Heard," Edwin Martinez & Deborah Shaffer [Hulu]
"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]
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.