20 highly anticipated movies coming out in 2020 that were directed by women

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“Birds of Prey,” “Mulan,” and “The Photograph” are just a few of the female-directed films coming later this year.
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DC Entertainment/Disney/Perfect World Pictures
  • Although women were shut out of the best director category at this year’s Academy Awards, 2020 is still shaping up to be a strong year for female directors.
  • According to a Fandango fan survey, the four most-anticipated movies of the year (such as “Wonder Woman 1984” and “Mulan”) were directed by women.
  • Insider compiled a list of 20 must-see films made by female directors coming out this year.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Academy Awards stirred controversy when, during the nominations livestream on January 13, they failed to nominate any women in the best director category for the second year in a row – shutting out filmmakers like Greta Gerwig (“Little Women“) and Lorene Scafaria (“Hustlers“).

However, 2020 is still shaping up to be a strong year for female directors. In fact, a recent Fandango fan survey found that the four most-anticipated movies of the year (including “Wonder Woman 1984” and “Mulan“) were made by women. Netflix will also add a slew of original, female-directed films to their site with heavy hitters like “Taylor Swift: Miss Americana” and new finds like “Jezebel.”

Here are 20 movies directed by women to watch this year.


Numa Perrier’s new movie “Jezebel” explores sisterhood and the cam girl industry in the early days of the Internet.

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Tiffany Tenille in “Jezebel.”
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House of Numa

Release date: January 17

Synopsis: In the last days of her mother’s life, 19-year-old Tiffany crashes with five family members in a Las Vegas studio apartment. In order to make ends meet, her older sister, a phone sex operator, introduces her to the world of internet fetish cam girls.

Where to watch: Netflix


2. In Katie Ellwood and Amber Templemore-Finalyson’s comedy “Troop Zero,” two women create a group of girl scouts.

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Allison Janney and Viola Davis in “Troop Zero.”
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Sundance Institute

Release date: January 17

Synopsis: In rural 1977 Georgia, a misfit girl dreams of life in outer space. When a competition offers her a chance to be recorded on NASA’s Golden Record, she recruits a makeshift troop of Birdie Scouts, forging friendships that last a lifetime.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime


3. A young governess faces ghosts in Floria Sigismondi’s horror movie “The Turning.”

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Finn Wolfhard, Mackenzie Davis, and Brooklynn Prince in “The Turning.”
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Universal Pictures

Release date: January 24

Synopsis: A young governess is hired by a man who has become responsible for his young nephew and niece after the deaths of their parents.

Where to watch: In theaters


4. Kitty Green’s “The Assistant” examines Hollywood workplace abuse.

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Julia Garner in “The Assistant.”
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Forensic Films

Release date: January 31

Synopsis: A searing look at a day in the life of an assistant to a powerful executive. As Jane (Julia Garner) follows her daily routine, she grows increasingly aware of the insidious abuse that threatens every aspect of her position.

Where to watch: In theaters


5. Lana Wilson’s documentary “Taylor Swift: Miss Americana” tracks the pop star’s public political awakening.

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Taylor Swift in “Taylor Swift: Miss Americana.”
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Sundance Film Festival

Release date: January 31

Synopsis: A look at iconic pop artist Taylor Swift during a transformational time in her life as she embraces her role as a singer/songwriter and harnesses the full power of her voice.

Where to watch: Netflix


6. Harley Quinn joins a team of women superheroes in Cathy Yan’s “Birds of Prey.”

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The ensemble at the center of “Birds of Prey.”
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Claudette Barius/Warner Bros

Release date: February 7

Synopsis: After splitting with the Joker, Harley Quinn joins superheroes Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya to save a young girl from an evil crime lord.

Where to watch: In theaters


7. Céline Sciamma’s period romance “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” was technically released in 2019, but its wide release in theaters will be this Valentine’s Day.

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Adèle Haenel and Noémie Merlant in “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.”
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Neon

Release date: February 14

Synopsis: On an isolated island in Brittany at the end of the 18th century, a female painter is obliged to paint a wedding portrait of a young woman.

Where to watch: In theaters


8. Lakeith Stanfield and Issa Rae costar in Stella Meghie’s romance film “The Photograph.”

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Lakeith Stanfield and Issa Rae in “The Photograph.”
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Perfect World Pictures

Release date: February 14

Synopsis: A series of intertwining love stories set in the past and in the present.

Where to watch: In theaters


9. Autumn de Wilde’s “Emma” is a Jane Austen adaptation following the escapades of its titular matchmaker.

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Mia Goth and Anya Taylor-Joy in “Emma.”
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Focus Features

Release date: February 21

Synopsis: Based on the classic Jane Austen novel.

Where to watch: In theaters


10. Kelly Reichardt’s “First Cow” is a frontier buddy movie.

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John Magaro in “First Cow.”
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A24

Release date: March 6

Synopsis: A loner and cook has traveled west and joined a group of fur trappers in Oregon Territory, though he only finds connection with a Chinese immigrant.

Where to watch: In theaters


11. Julia Hart’s “Stargirl” is an adaptation of the beloved young adult book of the same name.

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Grace VanderWaal in “Stargirl.”
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Disney

Release date: March 13

Synopsis: A boy becomes intrigued by a mysterious and quirky student named Stargirl and spends his time trying to know more about her.

Where to watch: Disney Plus


12. Niki Caro directed the live-action adaptation of Disney’s “Mulan.” (March 27)

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Yifei Liu in “Mulan.”
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Disney

Release date: March 27

Synopsis: A young Chinese maiden disguises herself as a male warrior in order to save her father.

Where to watch: In theaters


13. In Rose Glass’s horror movie “Saint Maud,” a nurse becomes obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient.

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Morfydd Clark in “Saint Maud.”
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A24

Release date: March 27

Synopsis: Follows a pious nurse who becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient.

Where to watch: In theaters


14. A young woman named Cassie seeks revenge in Emerald Fennell’s thriller “Promising Young Woman.”

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Carey Mulligan in “Promising Young Woman.”
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Focus Features

Release date: April 17

Synopsis: A young woman, traumatized by a tragic event in her past, seeks out vengeance against men who cross her path.

Where to watch: In theaters


15. Natasha Romanoff finally gets her own Marvel movie in Cate Shortland’s superhero film “Black Widow.”

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Scarlett Johansson in “Black Widow.”
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Disney/Marvel

Release date: May 1

Synopsis: A film about Natasha Romanoff in her quests between the films “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Where to watch: In theaters


16. Diana Prince takes on the 1980s in Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman 1984.”

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Gal Gadot in “Wonder Woman 1984.”
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Warner Bros

Release date: June 5

Synopsis: A sequel to the 2017 superhero film “Wonder Woman.”

Where to watch: In theaters


17. Chloe Zhao’s Marvel movie “Eternals” follows a group of eternal beings.

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The cast and director of Marvel’s “Eternals.”
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Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Release date: November 6

Synopsis: The saga of the Eternals, a race of immortal beings who lived on Earth and shaped its history and civilizations.

Where to watch: In theaters


18. Clea Duvall’s “Happiest Season” is an LGBT holiday rom-com starring Kristen Stewart.

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Clea DuVall directed the romantic comedy “Happiest Season.”
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Jennifer Graylock/ Getty

Release date: November 20

Synopsis: A young woman with a plan to propose to her girlfriend while at her family’s annual holiday party discovers her partner hasn’t yet come out to her conservative parents.

Where to watch: In theaters


19. Alice Wu’s “The Half of It” is a lesbian coming-of-age romantic comedy.

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Alexxis Lemire and Leah Lewis star in “The Half of It.”
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Leah Lewis on Instagram

Release date: TBA

Synopsis: A shy, introverted, Chinese-American, straight-A student finds herself helping the school jock woo the girl they both secretly love.

Where to watch: Netflix


20. Anne Hathaway stars in “The Last Thing He Wanted,” Dee Rees’ adaptation of a Joan Didion novel.

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Anne Hathaway in “The Last Thing He Wanted.”
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Sundance Institute

Release date: TBA

Synopsis: A veteran D.C. journalist loses the thread of her own narrative when a guilt-propelled errand for her father thrusts her from byline to unwitting subject in the very story she’s trying to break.

Where to watch: Netflix