2018 was a great year for women in film. There were dozens of movies that featured women as leads or co-leads, and, in fact, movies with female leads did better than movies with male leads at the box office. If you’re looking to make sure you’ve seen all of the best movies with female leads from 2018, we've got you covered. While there were many powerful and well-made indie films that featured women, too, we’ve collected a list of all of the blockbuster films that featured female leads in 2018.
11 TOMB RAIDER
Starring Alicia Vikander, Tomb Raider is a film version of the popular video game series. In the movie, Lara Croft goes on an adventure to solve the disappearance of her father. While this might not have been the most award-winning or groundbreaking film, it was an action movie with a female lead, a trend that has become more popular over the years. Fans of the video game also had the chance to see a favorite game character come to life on the big screen.
10 MARY POPPINS RETURNS
In this sequel to Mary Poppins, Michael Banks and his sister are all grown up. When life looks dire, a visit from their magical childhood nanny, Mary Poppins, turns things around. Starring Emily Blunt, this whimsical return to the world of Mary Poppins was delightful and nostalgic. Blunt did a great job channeling Julie Andrews while also leaving her own mark on this iconic character.
9 MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN
The movies that featured female leads in 2018 were all very different. From romantic comedies to sci-fi to period dramas, women were on the screen as main characters across many genres.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was a fun and fresh take and sequel starring Amanda Seyfried and Meryl Streep. While not a groundbreaking film, this movie was a catchy, upbeat musical that was better than the original.
8 ON THE BASIS OF SEX
In this biopic, Felicity Jones plays Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her young years as an attorney and mother who deals with obstacles because of her gender. This movie explores RBG’s life and her activism related to feminism and equal rights. On the Basis of Sex specifically covers Ruth Bader Ginsburg taking on an important tax case with her husband. This movie is relevant today and a testament to the enduring legacy of Super Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Horror movies are notorious for featuring women in roles that show them as less than competent or as caricatures, but horror movies of today are much more complex and inclusive than that. Hereditary stars Toni Collette and is a horror film about family trauma and grief. The movie follows the Graham family after the matriarch dies, leaving her daughter and grandchildren to figure out all of the terrible secrets of their family history.
6 A SIMPLE FAVOR
A Simple Favor is a film that mixes up genres. It’s half romantic-comedy and half thrilled, and overall not what you would expect.
This movie stars Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively. Kendrick plays Stephanie, an upbeat mommy vlogger, who is left with many questions after the disappearance of her mysterious best friend, Emily. The film takes the audience on many hilarious twists and turns and is also full of some suspenseful and surprising moments, proving that women can lead the way in some of the most interesting movies of the day.
Widows features a star-studded cast including Viola Davis and Liam Neeson. After a confrontation with police leaves four thieves dead after an attempted robbery, their four widows are forced to band together to pull off a heist so they can get out of the debt their husbands left them in. Viola Davis plays the leader of these windows, Veronica, and brings another powerful, complex performance to the screen.
Annihilation was definitely one of the strangest and most experimental blockbuster movies of 2018. This sci-fi film was based on the novel series by Jeff VanderMeer and has a cast packed full of diverse, talented women. This movie doesn’t offer many answers, but instead leaves many questions open to interpretation and is a metaphor about many things such as grief, trauma, and loss.
Starring Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, and more, Annihilation is proof that all genres can benefit from including talented actresses and that women-led sci-fi films can be extremely successful.
3 A STAR IS BORN
A Star Is Born was definitely one of the most talked about movies of 2018. This remake of the classic Judy Garland (and then Barbra Streisand) film starred Lady Gaga as Ally.
While Bradley Cooper also co-starred, Lady Gaga was really the person who carried this film along. Combining her acting talents and vocal skills, A Star Is Born was a memorable and likable film largely because of Gaga’s performance along with the chemistry between her and Cooper.
2 CRAZY RICH ASIANS
While a romantic comedy might be the most typical genre you would expect a woman to lead, Crazy Rich Asians wasn’t your typical rom-com. This delightful movie based on the book of the same name starred Constance Wu as Rachel Chu and was an important moment for Asian representation in Hollywood. With a talented cast of Asian actors and actresses and a fun story with beautiful visuals, Crazy Rich Asians is an example of how all genres can be made better by including women and other minorities.
1 1.THE FAVOURITE
The Favourite was a film that really caught people’s attention, and ended up taking home a lot of awards, including Olivia Coleman’s Oscar for Best Actress. Along with Coleman, the film also starred Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz as rival lovers of Queen Anne vying for power in 18th century England.
The Favourite was a hilarious movie that was insightful, strange, and well-made. This movie is the perfect example of how movies featuring women in diverse, fresh stories can do extremely well both critically and with audiences.