Movies: written by women about women. Part 3: 2010s


The list of 'Movies: Written by Women About Women' has come as a result of the conversation with my friend, the focal point of which was the movie 'Bridget Jones Diary' (2001) and how it only gets better every time you watch it. And it is while talking to my friend I realised that actually the movie was based on the novel Bridget Jones's Diary (1996) written by Helen Fielding. The fictional character is so real that every woman in one way or the other can identify with her. And then, I thought of other movies based on novels and screenplays written by women about women and the present list of the last three decades has emerged. In it, the movies are arranged in a chronological order and not in order of any preferences or other such merit. I intentionally highlighted only the information about authors or screenwriters and not directors of the listed movies for I want the focus to be on female creators of the written word.


The movies are grouped in three parts: 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s. This allows to see the common traits for each decade and also ponder over each period and what was chosen to be produced. For the ease of recognition and reference the list does not include independent or arthouse movies, but internationally known films that have been seen by many.



The Help (2011)

Based on the novel 'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett

Charlotte Phelan: Courage sometimes skips a generation. Thank you for bringin' it back to our family.


About Kathryn Stockett:


Kathryn Stockett is an American novelist. She is known for her 2009 debut novel, The Help, which is about African-American maids working in white households in Jackson, Mississippi, during the 1960s.


Kathryn Stockett worked in magazine publishing while living in New York City before publishing her first novel. The Help took her five years to complete, and the book was rejected by 60 literary agents before agent Susan Ramer agreed to represent Stockett. The Help has since been published in 42 languages. As of August 2012, it has sold ten million copies and spent more than 100 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list.




The Hunger Games (2013)

Based on the young adult dystopian novel 'Catching Fire' by Suzanne Collins

Screenplay by Suzanne Collins

Produced by Nina Jacobson


Katniss Everdeen: Any last advice? Haymitch Abernathy: Stay alive.


About Suzanne Collins:


Suzanne Collins (born August 10, 1962) is an American television writer and author. She is known as the author of The New York Times best-selling series The Underland Chronicles and The Hunger Games.


Collins graduated from the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham in 1980 as a Theater Arts major. She completed her bachelor of arts degree from Indiana University Bloomington in 1985 with a double major in theater and telecommunications. In 1989, Collins earned her Master of Fine Arts in dramatic writing from the New York University Tisch School of the Arts.


Suzanne Collins began her career in 1991 as a writer for children's television shows. She worked on several shows for Nickelodeon, including Clarissa Explains It All, The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo, Little Bear, and Oswald. She was also the head writer for Scholastic Entertainment's Clifford's Puppy Days. In September 2008, Scholastic Press released The Hunger Games, the first book of a trilogy by Collins. The Hunger Games was partly inspired by the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. Another inspiration was her father's career in the Air Force, which gave her insight to poverty, starvation, and the effects of war. The trilogy's second book, Catching Fire, was released in September 2009, and its third book, Mockingjay, was released on August 24, 2010. Within 14 months, 1.5 million copies of the first two Hunger Games books were printed in North America alone.


In March 2012, Amazon announced that Suzanne Collins had become the best-selling Kindle author of all time.


Lions Gate Entertainment acquired worldwide distribution rights to a film adaptation of The Hunger Games, produced by Nina Jacobson's Color Force production company. Collins adapted the novel for film herself.



About Nina Jacobson:


Nina Jacobson (born September 15, 1965) is an American film executive who, until July 2006, was president of the Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. With Dawn Steel, Gail Berman and Sherry Lansing, she was one of the last of a handful of women to head a Hollywood film studio since the 1980s. She established her own production company called Color Force in 2007, and was the producer of The Hunger Games film series.




Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

Based on the novel by Erika Leonard AKA E. L. James

Directed by Samantha Louise Taylor - Johnson


Anastasia: So, to what do you owe your success? Grey: I exercise control on all thing, Miss Steele. Anastasia: It must be really boring.



About Erika Leonard:


Erika Leonard known by her pen name E. L. James, is a British author. She wrote the bestselling erotic romance-trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed, along with the companion novels Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian and Darker: Fifty Shades Darker as Told by Christian. The Fifty Shades novels have sold over 125 million copies worldwide, over 35 million copies in the United States and set the record in the United Kingdom as the fastest selling paperback of all time. In 2012, Time magazine named her one of 'The World's 100 Most Influential People.'



About Samantha Louise Taylor-Johnson:


Samantha Louise Taylor-Johnson, (née Taylor-Wood, born 4 March 1967) is an English filmmaker and photographer. Her directorial feature film debut came in 2009 with Nowhere Boy, a film based on the childhood experiences of the Beatles songwriter and singer John Lennon. She is one of a group of artists known as the Young British Artists.


In August 2008, Taylor-Johnson was chosen to direct Nowhere Boy, a biopic about the childhood of John Lennon. Speaking about her experience directing the film, in September 2010, Taylor-Johnson said:


'I thought, I'm in too deep and if I mess this up I'm just never gonna make a film again, and I went into a panic. I got into the car and said, I just have to call these producers and pull out. I got into the car and I put the key into the ignition and Lennon's voice came straight out of the radio and it was Starting Over. It was one of those moments where I thought it was a sign: OK I'm gonna do it.'


The 53rd annual London Film Festival screened the film as its closing presentation on 29 October 2009. The film was released in the UK on Boxing Day, 2009 to positive reviews.


Taylor - Johnson directed the film adaptation of E. L. James' best-selling erotic novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, made by Universal Pictures and Focus Features. She was in pole position to direct Fifty Shades Darker (the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey), but decided to walk away from the much-discussed franchise after she was involved in a number of disagreements with author E.L. James. In June 2017, Taylor-Johnson said that she regretted directing the first film of the series.




Me Before You (2016)

Based on the novel by Pauline Sara Jo Moyes

Screenplay by Pauline Sara Jo Moyes

Directed by Thea Sharrock


Louisa (Lou) Clark: I’m happy here. Will Traynor: Well, you should not be. You own your own life. Actually, it’s your duty to live it as fully as possible.


About Pauline Sara Jo Moyes:


Pauline Sara Jo Moyes (born 4 August 1969) known professionally as Jojo Moyes, is an English journalist and, since 2002, a romance novelist and screenwriter.


Early in her writing career, Moyes wrote three manuscripts that were all initially rejected. With one child, another baby on the way, and a career as a journalist, Moyes committed to herself that if her fourth book was rejected, she would stop her efforts. After submitting the first three chapters of her fourth book to various publishers, six of them began a bidding war for the rights.


Moyes became a full-time novelist in 2002, when her first book Sheltering Rain was published. The 2012 novel Me Before You sold six million copies, went to number one in nine countries, and reinvigorated her back catalogue resulting in three of her novels being on the New York Times bestseller list at the same time. Moyes would later write two sequels starring Louisa Clark, the protagonist of Me Before You: After You in 2015 and Still Me in 2018. She is one of only a few authors to have twice won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award by the Romantic Novelists' Association and has been translated into 28 languages.


About Thea Sharrock:


Thea Sharrock (born 1976) is an English theatre and film director. In 2001, when at age 24 she became artistic director of London's Southwark Playhouse, she was the youngest artistic director in British theatre.


After leaving Oxford early, before completing her degree, Sharrock took the directors course at the Royal National Theatre, and worked as an assistant director on a number of productions at London Theatres and on tour. In the summer of 2000, she won the James Menzies Kitchin Trust Award (JMK Trust Award), which allowed her to mount a production of Top Girls at the Battersea Arts Centre. The show was a success and toured the UK twice, before a brief run at a West End theatre.


In addition to work at the Playhouse, she served as an associate director on the long-running West End production of 'Art', directed works for the Royal National Theatre and English Touring Theatre, and began her association with the Peter Hall Company. Sharrock left the Southwark Playhouse in late 2003, and became artistic director at the Gate Theatre in August 2004. She left this post in 2006, and had been widely tipped to take over at the Royal Court Theatre 'Inspirational' new director for Royal Court. She served on the selection panel for the 2005 biennial Linbury Prize for Stage Design, and is now a JMK Award trustee.


Thea Sharrock's feature film debut, an adaptation of the novel Me Before You, was announced in 2014. The film was released in 2016 and grossed $207 million worldwide. She is currently directing her next project The One and Only Ivan, based on the book of the same name.




Lady Bird (2017)

Written and directed by Greta Gerwig


Lady Bird: I hate California. I want to go to the East Cost. I wanna go where culture is, like New York or at least Connecticut or New Hampshire where writers live in the woods...


About Greta Celeste Gerwig:


Greta Celeste Gerwig (born August 4, 1983) is an American actress and filmmaker. She first garnered attention after working on and appearing in several mumblecore films. Between 2006 and 2009, she appeared in a number of films by Joe Swanberg, some of which she co-wrote or co-directed, including Hannah Takes the Stairs (2007) and Nights and Weekends (2008).


Since the early 2010s, Gerwig has collaborated with her partner Noah Baumbach on several films, including Greenberg (2010), Frances Ha (2012), for which she received a Golden Globe Award nomination, and Mistress America (2015).


Greta Gerwig has had two solo directorial ventures, the coming-of-age films Lady Bird (2017) and Little Women (2019), both of which earned nominations for the Academy Award for Best Picture. For the former, she received Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, and for the latter, she was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.


Gerwig's films tend to be based on her own experiences. In a behind-the-scenes video on the set of Lady Bird she said:


'I tend to start with things from my own life, then pretty quickly they spin out into their own orbit.'


Greta Gerwig presses her actors to incorporate their personalities into their performances as well, and says of her writing and directing, 'it's all about actors.' In addition, she allows little line improvisation and the script is followed fairly closely.


Her works have common themes: the growth and emotional maturation of the leading woman, and relationships among family members, friends, and significant others, with a special interest in female dynamics. Characters are reportedly never villainised, and all are sympathetic.



The Beguiled (2017)

Written and directed by Sofia Coppola

Martha Farnsworth: You are the most unwelcome visitor and we do not propose to entertain you. John McBurney: You find them easily amused? Martha Farnsworth: You will not be here long enough for that.


About Sofia Coppola:


Sofia Carmina Coppola (born May 14, 1971) is an American screenwriter, director, producer, and former actress.


Sofia arrived at a career in filmmaking with a background by means of acting, modelling, and design. All of which have influenced her directorial work. Her background in fashion, especially, has played a large part in the aesthetic tones of her films and has heightened the roles of design and style in her work. She made her feature-length directorial debut with the coming-of-age drama The Virgin Suicides (1999).


After winning an Oscar for Lost in Translation (2004) and becoming the third woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director, Sofia Coppola was accused by some critics of displaying the social and cultural privileges of her own childhood.


In 2006, Coppola directed the historical drama Marie Antoinette, starring Dunst as the title character. In 2010, with the drama Somewhere, Coppola became the first American woman (and fourth American filmmaker) to win the Golden Lion, the top prize at the Venice Film Festival. In 2013, she directed the satirical crime film The Bling Ring, based on the crime ring of the same name which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.


At the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, Coppola became the second woman in the festival's history to win the Best Director award, for the drama film The Beguiled.


Sofia Coppola has cited her own perceptions of gaps in the film industry as her own inspiration, explaining that she has always made the films that she herself would have wanted to see as a younger person. She has described this younger demographic of girls as deprived of high-quality videography and as disrespected as an audience. She has also said that she likes making films for a young audience because she perceives them as smarter and more sophisticated than they are often given credit for.


She is currently working on her next major motion picture, titled On the Rocks.




The Kissing Booth (2018)

Based on the novel by Beth Reekles

Elle Evans: Soo, will you work the kissing booth? Noah: Absolutely not. Elle Evans: Awesome.


About Beth Reekles:


Beth Reekles (born June 7, 1995) is a British author. She published five books by 2019, including the 2013 novel The Kissing Booth, which was made into a film in 2018.


The Kissing Booth she wrote at age 17 and published it gradually to the online platform Wattpad on which it was read more than 19 million times. At 17, she was contracted by Random House UK while writing her final exams. Other novels include Rolling Dice, Cwtch Me If You Can, Out of Tune and The Kissing Booth Novella The Beach House.


After graduating, Beth Reekles studied physics at the University of Exeter and works in the IT industry. In 2013 she was named one of the 16 most influential teenagers by Time magazine and in August 2014 she was ranked 6th by The Times among the 'Top 20 under 25'.


A sequel to The Kissing Booth is scheduled to appear on Netflix in 2020.




Little Women (2019)

Based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott

Written and directed by Greta Gerwig


Laurie: What women are allowed into the club of geniuses anyway?


About Louisa May Alcott:


Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888) was an American novelist, short story writer and poet best known as the author of the novel Little Women (1868) and its sequels Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886).


Alcott's family suffered from financial difficulties, and while she worked to help support the family from an early age, she also sought an outlet in writing. She began to receive critical success for her writing in the 1860s. Early in her career, she sometimes used the pen name A. M. Barnard, under which she wrote novels for young adults that focused on spies and revenge.


Published in 1868, Little Women is set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts, and is loosely based on Alcott's childhood experiences with her three sisters, Abigail May Alcott Nieriker, Elizabeth Sewall Alcott, and Anna Alcott Pratt. The novel was well-received at the time and is still popular today among both children and adults. It has been adapted many times to the stage, film, and television.


Alcott was an abolitionist and a feminist and remained unmarried throughout her life. All her life she was active in such reform movements as temperance and women's suffrage.



About Greta Gerwig:


Greta Celeste Gerwig (born August 4, 1983) is an American actress and filmmaker. She first garnered attention after working on and appearing in several mumblecore films. Between 2006 and 2009, she appeared in a number of films by Joe Swanberg, some of which she co-wrote or co-directed, including Hannah Takes the Stairs (2007) and Nights and Weekends (2008).


Since the early 2010s, Gerwig has collaborated with her partner Noah Baumbach on several films, including Greenberg (2010), Frances Ha (2012), for which she received a Golden Globe Award nomination, and Mistress America (2015).


Greta Gerwig has had two solo directorial ventures, the coming-of-age films Lady Bird (2017) and Little Women (2019), both of which earned nominations for the Academy Award for Best Picture. For the former, she received Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, and for the latter, she was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.


Gerwig's films tend to be based on her own experiences. In a behind-the-scenes video on the set of Lady Bird she said:


'I tend to start with things from my own life, then pretty quickly they spin out into their own orbit.'


Greta Gerwig presses her actors to incorporate their personalities into their performances as well, and says of her writing and directing, 'it's all about actors.' In addition, she allows little line improvisation and the script is followed fairly closely.


Her works have common themes: the growth and emotional maturation of the leading woman, and relationships among family members, friends, and significant others, with a special interest in female dynamics. Characters are reportedly never villainised, and all are sympathetic.




Emma. (2020)

Based on novel by Jane Austen

Screenplay by Eleanor Catton

Directed by Autumn de Wilde


Mr. Knightley: With whom will you dance? Emma Woodhouse: With you, if you will ask me. You have shown that you can dance, and we are not really so much brother and sister as to make it improper. Mr. Knightley: No, indeed.



About Jane Austen:


Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and comment upon the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Austen's plots often explore the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favourable social standing and economic security. Her use of biting irony, along with her realism, humour, and social commentary, have long earned her acclaim among critics, scholars, and popular audiences alike.


With the publications of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began another, eventually titled Sanditon, but died before its completion. She also left behind three volumes of juvenile writings in manuscript, a short epistolary novel Lady Susan, and another unfinished novel, The Watsons.


Her six full-length novels have rarely been out of print.


Austen has inspired many critical essays and literary anthologies. Her novels have inspired many films, from 1940's Pride and Prejudice to more recent productions like Sense and Sensibility (1995), Emma (1996), Mansfield Park (1999), Pride & Prejudice (2005), Love & Friendship (2016), and Emma. (2020).



About Eleanor Catton:


Eleanor Catton (born 24 September 1985) is a New Zealand novelist and screenwriter. Her second novel, The Luminaries, won the 2013 Man Booker Prize.


Catton's debut novel, The Rehearsal, was published in 2008. It was written as her Master's thesis, and deals with reactions to an affair between a male teacher and a girl at his secondary school. That year, she was awarded a fellowship to the Iowa Writers' Workshop.


In 2011, she was the Ursula Bethell Writer in Residence at the University of Canterbury. In 2016, The Rehearsal was adapted into a film that was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.


Catton wrote the screenplay for Emma., adapted from Jane Austen's novel.


In an interview at the Jaipur Literary Festival in January 2015, Catton said that the governments of Australia, Canada and New Zealand were led by


'Neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians who do not care about culture... They care about short-term gains. They would destroy the planet in order to be able to have the life they want. I feel very angry with my Government'.



About Autumn de Wilde:


Autumn de Wilde (born October 21, 1970) is an American photographer and film director best known for her portraiture and commercial work photography of musicians, as well as her music video works.


De Wilde has photographed CD covers for Miranda Cosgrove, Elliott Smith, She & Him, Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins, The Raconteurs, The White Stripes, Fiona Apple, Beck, Built to Spill, Wilco, Monsters of Folk, New Found Glory, and a number of other musicians. De Wilde's photos have appeared on the cover of Spin magazine and in the pages of Rolling Stone, Filter, Nylon, Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, and The New York Times. Autumn de Wilde also documents the couture designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte.


In 2010, De Wilde offered commentary in a series of reissues for the back catalog of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, appearing in the accompanying documentaries entitled 'Do You Love Me Like I Love You.'


In 2011, her work was extensively featured in the Limited Edition Deluxe Box version of The Decemberists album The King Is Dead. The box set included a one-of-a-kind Polaroid photograph by Autumn from the Impossible Project/Decemberists series, as well as a 72-page hardcover book featuring over 250 unique Polaroid photographs by Autumn and illustrations by Carson Ellis.


De Wilde made her directorial feature film debut with the 2020 film Emma., adapted from Jane Austen's novel of the same name.



Part 1: 1990s Part 2: 2000s


List compiled by Seraphima Bogomolova.




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Seraphima Bogomolova

cinematographer, screenwriter, author

10711 Berlin, Germany