10 Best Female-Led A24 Movies, Ranked
A24 is an American film distribution and production company that forever changed the modern indie film scene. It burst into the public with the release of its first movie, A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, and has since created some of the most highly acclaimed movies of the past two decades.
One of the best things about A24 is that the production company often gives voices to people of all different genders, races, and backgrounds. The company goes out of its way to produce unique stories that are relatable and imaginative stories. Some of the best A24 movies have been about the intricate lives of women. Whether facing an entangled multiverse, dealing with a family fallout, or robbing rich Hollywood actors, A24 women always steal every scene they’re in.
Updated on March 16, 2023, by Hannah Saab:
The highlight of the 95th Academy Awards was Everything Everywhere All at Once, which won an incredible seven Oscars (out of eleven nominations). EEAAO is undoubtedly A24’s most successful movie, and also earned Oscars for its female-led cast: Best Actress (Michelle Yeoh) and Best Supporting Actress (Jamie Lee Curtis).
10 ‘Spring Breakers’ (2012)
While Spring Breakers might be a movie made through the male lens, the girls who disavow the American dream to change their lives on spring break are the real leaders here. Harmony Korine‘s film is saturated in neon environments, outlandish characters, and an eccentric screenplay where three girls on spring break finally change their boring lives forever.
Spring Breakers is highly visually addicting. Between the close, physical friendships between the girls and the somber mood hanging throughout the film contrasting its jarring characters, the movie is a thumping assault on the senses. The most unforgettable scene in the movie is during the Britney Spears montage of armed, pink ski mask-clad girls.
9 ‘The Bling Ring’ (2013)
Inspired by real-life events, The Bling Ring follows a group of teenagers obsessed with fashion and robbing the homes of celebrities in Hollywood. A quintessential “trashy American teen” story, Sofia Coppola‘s foray into teenage girl deviancy was a delight.
This was Emma Watson‘s first real grown-up role after the innocence she portrayed in the Harry Potter franchise. She played the wicked Nicki wonderfully, giving an otherwise vapid character a layered performance. The thieving group of teenagers depicts a perfectly senseless state of being that is fun to watch amid an era of tabloid and celebrity obsession.
8 ‘Zola’ (2020)
Zola is a raw and unapologetic movie that looks into wild nights in the lives of two sex workers who get swept up in an intense scheme that goes hilariously wrong. The beauty of Zola is that it never commits to just one idea; it’s hilarious, grotesque, emotional, and loud.
Taylour Paige and Riley Keough play a genuinely unforgettable and entertaining duo, with Paige’s Zola being the voice of reason in every crazy situation the two find themselves in and Keough’s Stefani being the perfect, wild card: never quite knowing what she’s going to do next. Both actors shine onscreen, neither overpowering the other, and they created one of the best female-led comedies in years.
7 ‘The Witch’ (2015)
The Witch was the iconic A24 horror movie that shot Anya Taylor-Joy to stardom, and for a good reason; she was the star of the film in every way. Robert Eggers‘ period horror follows a Puritan family in the 17th century who encounters a supernatural force in the woods. Thomasin (Taylor-Joy) is accused of witchcraft and permanently shunned from her family. She delves deeper into the life of the supernatural until she chooses to finally “live deliciously.”
It is hard to keep your eyes off of Thomasin in any scene. She purposefully stands out in a sea of gray backgrounds and dark blue hues with her pale pallor and blonde hair. Thomasin is not a woman taken down quickly. Despite the abandonment she experienced and the subsequent deaths of her entire family, she takes control of her fate in the end, finding total freedom in the Witches’ Sabbath.
6 ‘American Honey’ (2016)
American Honey is one of the best additions to the coming-of-age films in A24’s arsenal. It is a voracious and freeing road trip film about troubled strangers finding their place in the world. Star (Sasha Lane) runs away with a traveling sales crew and finds herself leading a life full of partying, breaking the law, and falling in love.
American Honey was Sasha Lane’s first-ever film, but you’d never know it with the incredible screen presence she displays. Every scene of hers is captivating and full of subtle emotions. She holds her weight against the more seasoned actors of Riley Keough and Shia LaBeouf perfectly.
5 ‘Krisha’ (2015)
With an incredibly haunting score by Brian McOmber, Krisha is a realistic and surreal account of redemption, addiction, and generational trauma. Trey Edwards Shults breaks every rule in filmmaking with unusual camerawork, an offbeat portrayal of deep familial wounds, and dreamlike cinematography that shuffles with exasperation.
It was Krisha Fairchild who ruled the screen, though. Playing the titular character, Fairchild was every bit the outcast addict finding difficulty in reintegrating with a long-lost family. Her mere presence onscreen is hypnotizing. Krisha struggles and is breakable, but underneath it all, she portrays the strength of a broken family.
4 ‘Waves’ (2019)
Waves is incredibly unique and one of A24’s most underrated films. The opening of Trey Edward Shults’ family drama is all lush Florida landscapes, breathtaking cinematography, and spinning camerawork that borders on dizzy. Shults builds sharp tension through the toxic relationship between Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) and Alexis (Alexa Demie), two high school teenagers dealing with a pregnancy scare. The first half is told through the chaotic neon maze of a party that ends with murder, while the second half tells the traumatic fallout of a now-broken family.
The female characters in Waves are multi-faceted, emotionally intelligent, and fiercely independent. Taylor Russell dazzles as Emily, a girl who can’t find her footing in a world now void of her brother. The ups and downs of her character are so heartwarming and relatable that it’s hard not to see yourself in her. Demie also keeps your attention with one of her best performances to date. She plays a bold but frightened young woman who is fearful of the boyfriend she doesn’t fully trust.
3 ‘The Farewell’ (2019)
Director Lulu Wang‘s The Farewell is an emotional family drama starring Awkwafina in a serious role. It’s centered on a Chinese-American family who decide to hide their matriarch’s terminal illness from her. US-based Billi (Awkwafina), who loves her grandma, crashes the fake wedding her family staged in China and deals with all the grief and confusion that comes with it.
Stirring performances from Awkwafina and Zhao Shu-zhen (who plays Nai Nai, Billi’s grandmother) make it impossible not to shed a tear as the protagonist grapples with her loved one’s fate. It’s also known for its realistic portrayal of Asian culture and the struggles and awkwardness immigrants face when visiting an unfamiliar country that everyone else in their family used to call home.
2 ‘Midsommar’ (2019)
It’s hard to find a better female revenge movie in the past few years than Midsommar. Ari Aster‘s film is a visual spectacle complete with breathless summer meadows, a hauntingly bright color palette, quiet gore, and psychedelic visual effects.
In this movie, Florence Pugh finds her calling as the grief-stricken Dani, who is brought along to a friend’s midsummer celebration in Sweden. Pugh awes as a young woman who works through her trauma in a highly cathartic and sacrificial way. Dani owns the screen at the end of the film when she unforgettably smiles for the camera as a horrific scene unfolds.
1 ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ (2022)
With A24’s Oscar-winning film, the overwhelming realities of life are shattered when Michelle Yeoh’s character, Evelyn, dives straight into the metaphysical multiverse to escape it all. A different version of her husband visits Evelyn during the film and tells her about something called the Alphaverse: a universe where humans developed the ability to travel the multiverse.
If that doesn’t sound wild enough, wait for the battles that Evelyn undertakes in an IRS office with an IRS agent played by Jamie Lee Curtis. Yeoh shines in Everything Everywhere All at Once as a relatable mother who is sickened with her life and taxes. This film shows Yeoh’s many talents and elevates her to movie star status with her comedic timing, serious martial arts skills, and a heart of gold that shines through her emotional performance.