The best female-led movies coming this autumn

With the summer blockbuster season ending, the coming season promises to deliver more long-awaited films to screens big and small.

The variety of films offered this autumn might surprise audiences as the industry provides pre-pandemic levels of output, and produces a wealth of films focusing on the experiences of its female leads. If the latest film festivals are any indication of what’s to come, this season’s biggest titles are set to present a wide range of leading ladies.

If the 79th Venice Film Festival has demonstrated anything beyond a catalogue of global film, it’s that celebrity culture is alive and thriving. Behind-the-scenes personal drama threatened to overshadow the premiere of Olivia Wilde’s psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling. The film will follow leading lady Florence Pugh as Alice, a young suburban house-wife slowly disillusioned by the strange company town she moves into. With the cast and crew at the head of the scandal, the film’s premiere further cemented speculations of creative differences and personal vendettas. Despite being highly anticipated, the picture received mixed reviews from critics ahead of its September 23rd release date.

From Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of a talented yet tortured classical composer in Tár to Tilda Swinton as both mother and daughter in The Eternal Daughter, there is no shortage of promising female-led film showcased at Venice set to release this autumn. Ana de Armas is expected to shine as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde after receiving a 14-minute standing ovation for her performance in the psychological drama. Monroe was a public topic of discussion earlier this year following Kim Kardashian’s appearance at the Met Gala wearing a dress previously owned by the actress, raising questions of the Hollywood star’s place in popular culture as a sex symbol comparable to that of Kardashian. In the wake of this media presence, the film will launch in theatres at the end of September and is available to stream September 23rd on Netflix.

The streaming giant Netflix (…)  also has a slate of female-led films set to release this season

The streaming giant isn’t stopping there. Netflix has a slate of female-led films set to release this season. Beginning with September 16th’s release, with Maya Hawke and Camila Mendes in leading roles, the black comedy Do Revenge is a camp and colourful revision of Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, directed by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, that was met with delight from audiences. Netflix will broaden its collection of crime drama as Alison Janney is the eponymous lead in Lou, coming on September 23rd, and Jessica Chastain plays the protagonist of The Good Nurse, coming October 19th. The popularity of Netflix and other streaming platforms alike over the coming months is assured, though theatrical releases this autumn are still sure to attract audiences.

Theatres will play host to the many Hollywood big-budget productions released this autumn, with such epics as The Woman King directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, which marches into theatres September 16th. Following the box office success of Halloween Kills in 2021, Jamie Lee Curtis proves the viability of female-fronted horror and franchise films by reprising her role as Laurie Strode for the seventh time on October 14th in Halloween Ends. But horror isn’t just a psychopath in a mask this autumn. Horror is real and recognisable in Maria Schrader’s She Said coming to theatres November 18th. The film will follow The New York Times journalists Megan Twohey and Jodi Cantor, played by Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan respectively, and their exposure of Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual abuse.

Wherever films are watched this autumn, the diversity of the biggest titles offered will be assured by the wide variety of women that will lead them. Though the future of film is far from female, the growing presence of women on-screen could encourage and support the presence of women within production and the industry altogether.