Lena Dunham's Girls broke the glass ceiling for funny, thoughtful twentysomethings on HBO's small screen, but this summer, more ground is being covered for women of all ages on the big ones. Today's smart, savvy women of Hollywood are producing, writing, starring, and directing some of the most compelling, original point's of view. We're hoping audiences give these independents a chance. Their extremely talented artists deserve it. Catch the five ladies who have us hitting up indie flicks this summer:
1. Greta Gerwig: We truly madly deeply love the writer and star of Frances Ha. The film's all black-and-white look might feel a tad film school 101 (at first), but like Frances (Greta Gerwig) herself, grows on you. From Manhattan to the West Coast to Paris, Frances is a young twentysomething dancer who's living from couch to couch (and briefly, at a swank château in France), but her untethered bond with her best friend Sophie (Mickey Summer) is what really freaks her out. Director Noah Baumbach (Greenberg) cowrote the script with Gerwig. The results are often hilarious ,yet the best moments examine the bond between best friends. The pals that know the difference between fighting and play-fighting are the ones you hold onto.
2. Sarah Polley: The writer and director of, Stories We Tell has starred in a few films (the fun remake of Dawn of the Dead) as such she's learned to observe the way the camera captures moments, even fake ones. After two brilliant features (Away From Her, Take This Waltz), Sarah Polley focuses on her own family with a documentary that's part 8mm footage, part interviews, part recreations: all incredibly fascinating. Beginning as a project on her parents' marriage, Stories ends up becoming so much more: a fascinating study on how all of us create our own narratives (and sometimes fictions) in an effort to cope with memory.
3. Brit Marling: As they did on their previous collaboration, Sound of My Voice (2011), writer-actress Brit Marling and director Zal Bamanglij represent those that live off the grid in The East. Ellen Page is the voice of pro-eco club The East that targets big corporations in the hopes of waking up the public via YouTube. Jane (Marling) is directed by her shady boss (Patricia Clarkson) to go undercover and bring them down. Alexander Skarsgård is their de facto buff leader. Always looking for the next "jam" (read: terrorist activity), The East avoids the clichés of cult-tales very nearly until a silly credits sequence. Still, Marling is on to something here, her character traits call to mind other strong career-minded women who too many consider as fringe as The East.
4. Sofia Coppola: Writer-director Sofia Coppola's rarefied look at industry insiders (Lost in Translation, Somewhere) have always been exclusively from those that live within the bubble. The Bling Ring—based on real events and the book The Bling Ring: How A Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked The World—about those who forever obsess about wanting to be "in," but aren't. Emma Watson does her best valley girl as do the rest of the cast of unknowns. Coppola captures everything many love about brand names and her track selection is spot on (Sleigh Bells, Kanye West, M.I.A.). Wisely, the director revels in these teens (their "I wanna rob" mantra, the Cristal overflowing) right until they all get caught.
5. Julie Delpy: Gen Xers are the target demos for director Richard Linklater 's third entry in the Before series that's followed the way two people can meet, fall in love and then meet again. All before their day ends. Growing up with these films is the true treat. When Ethan Hawke talks about being 40 and Julie Delpy her expanding waistline, the post boomers can identify completely. Like the wine they consume, writer-star Delpy and Hawke's characters get better with age. The conversations are dizzying, unexpected. The setting of Greece is transporting.
Checking out an art house flick? What about indie dudes? Sound off in the comments!