Deciding what to watch on Netflix/Amazon Prime/the streaming service of your choice is notoriously difficult. Throw the requirement that the film also be written or directed by a woman into the mix – or at the very least, feature female characters that feel real – and your pool of options shrinks considerably.
Enter the “F-Rating”, a feminist classification system designed to identify woman-led films. Created in 2014, it’s now been adopted by film information site IMDb, making it easier than ever to track down your next woman-power watch.
The F-Rating is given to any film which is “directed by a woman, written by a woman, or features significant women onscreen in their own right”, the BBC reports. So far, it’s been applied to 21,800 films on IMDb.
Films that meet all three criteria – such as Clueless, American Honey and Bridget Jones’s Baby – receive a triple rating.
The F-Rating was created by Holly Tarquini, the director of the Bath Film Festival, in 2014. Tarquini was inspired by the Bechdel Test: a simple assessment devised by cartoonist Alison Bechdel, which questions whether a film or work of fiction features at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man.
“The F-Rating is intended to make people talk about the representation of women on and off screen,” says Tarquini.
She continues: “It’s exciting when new organisations decide to join us in shining a light both on the brilliant work women are doing in film and on how far the film industry lags behind most other industries, when it comes to providing equal opportunities to women.”
However, Tarquini says that her real goal is for the world to reach a point where systems like the F-Rating are unnecessary. She tells the BBC that she wants “50% of the stories we see on screen [to be] told by and about film’s unfairly under-represented half of the population – women.”
Women made up just 7% of all directors and 13% of writers on the top 250 films of 2016, according to a recent report from San Diego State’s Centre for the Study of Women in Television and Film. The number of female directors had actually dropped 2% from the previous year.
Overall, women made up 17% of the film roles studied (which also included executive producers, producers, editors and cinematographers). However, that figure also represented a drop of 2% since 2015.
The analysis also found that women directors could be key in redressing Hollywood’s gender imbalance – because films with at least one woman director employed higher percentages of women in other behind-the-camera roles. On films with female directors, for example, women made up 64% of writers; on films with exclusively male directors, that figure rested at just 9%.
With that in mind, here are some brilliant female-led, F-Rated films for your next movie night...