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Under Her Eye: who should be our next film reviewer? Vote now

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Helen Bownass
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Stylist’s Under Her Eye initiative aims to find the next wave of female film reviewers. Here, entertainment director Helen Bownass introduces the shortlist so far - and invites you to vote for your favourite.

When we launched Under Her Eye, an endeavour to recruit female film reviewers to the Stylist team - fuelled by a rant I’d had in the office after reading yet another male critic commenting (inaccurately) on the female experience - we hoped Stylist readers would be inspired.

We were cautiously optimistic that opening up the field to encourage more women who love films to have their voice heard and even up the 20:80 split of female to male film reviewers, would be an important and powerful thing. But we’ve been utterly overwhelmed by the volume and quality of applications. 

We’re thrilled that so many people want to write for Stylist. To dissect films and to tell the world why, in their opinion, the movie they just saw is bold/inspiring/authentic/important/pure fun. Because it matters. It matters that women’s opinions are heard and that the stories they want – and need – to hear are deemed as valuable as men’s.

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So here, after much debate, are our favourite 20 reviews – published anonymously and unedited – so you can vote for your favourite. The writers of the 10 entries with the most votes will be notified via email and invited to a judging day in London in October, where they will meet with myself, Stylist’s digital editor Kayleigh Dray, film critic Kate Muir, Anna Smith, president of the Critics’ Circle, and Gaylene Gould, head of cinemas and events at BFI Southbank.

This panel of judges will then select three critics, who will be invited to write on a regular and paid basis for Stylist.

Click through to read the brilliant, unedited submissions below and then make sure to vote for your favourite in the poll at the bottom of the page:

1. 13th: Ava DuVernay asks how far the US has really come since the abolition of slavery

2. 20th Century Women: Brims with nostalgia for the giddy cusp of adulthood

3. Almost Famous: There is real joy in this teenager’s journey in becoming a man whilst other men around him struggle to do so too

4. American Animals: A uniquely brilliant film that weaves together interviews with the real-life protagonists, and their glossy dramatic counterparts

5. Bridget Jones’s Diary: Nothing warms the cockles like a good rom-com

6. Carrie: A cocktail of sabotage, anarchy and telekinetic rage 

7. Coming to America: If you’re looking for a Spike Lee style polemic then you won’t get it here

8. Ex Machina: An engaging thriller with unsettling, cerebral musings on society, humanity, and gender

9. Juno: A charismatic heroine unapologetically marching to the beat of her own drum

10. Lawrence of Arabia: No film has ever shown with more terrifying honesty, the way that history intertwines with personal narratives

11. Lion: A beautifully executed tear jerker

12. Nil By Mouth: A universal meditation on the senseless inevitability of abusive relationships

13. Paris is Burning: Testament to the power of loving yourself and others

14. Pride and Prejudice: A story filled with small triumphs of power

15. Spring: Although originally marketed as a horror, the sheer beauty of this film both separate and transcend it into a genre of its own

16. Ten: A film that will teach you more about women’s position in Iran than years of trawling through the BBC news

17. The Love Witch: Gloriously pulpy and generous in its attention to detail

18. The Rape of Recy Taylor: A documentary that will make you feel with every part of yourself

19. You Were Never Really Here: You’ve never seen anything like this in your life

20. Who Framed Roger Rabbit: A great comedic take on film noir

Picked your favourite? Vote for them now below…