What are some of the best teen movies directed by women? For as long as anybody can remember, males have held most of the key positions in the film industry.
This has changed over the last several decades, but males still dominate the field of directing.
Despite widespread belief to the contrary, hundreds of women direct films every year across a wide variety of genres. Women filmmakers are particularly drawn to directing works aimed at the adolescent market.
It could be because adolescent movies primarily target young girls or women with greater natural empathy for teens and their problems.
Whatever the cause, several prominent female filmmakers have established their careers with films aimed at adolescent audiences.
1. Twilight (2008)
- Directed by Catherine Hardwicke
Twilight is one of the best teen movies directed by women. In 2003, Catherine Hardwicke made her debut in the director’s chair with an objective feature picture.
Later, with the blockbuster success of the Twilight film series, she crossed over into the realm of mainstream Hollywood filmmaking.
Based on the best-selling young adult book of the same name, Twilight follows the story of Bella Swan, a clumsy adolescent girl who moves to Forks, Washington, and falls for the school’s social pariah.
Twilight has over the years been considered one of the best teen movies directed by women. Unfortunately, she had no idea that this social misfit was a vampire.
As Edward and Bella begin their dangerous love affair, they are met with opposition from another vampire coven with its sights set on Bella. Justin Chon, Billy Burke, Gil Birmingham, and Kristen Stewart starred in the movie.
2. Stick It (2006)
- Directed by Jessica Bendinger
Writer Jessica Bendinger cut her teeth on the classic adolescent flicks of the early 2000s. After that, in 2006, she released Stick It, the first film she had written and directed.
Stick The plot centers on Haley, a rebellious girl who is transferred to a prestigious gymnastics program after getting in too much trouble with the law.
Despite her obvious talent, Haley has many internal issues to resolve before fully committing to the gymnastics system.
As a result, the movie is now widely regarded as one of the finest examples of its genre. The movie, which is one of the best teen movies directed by women, starred Kellan Lutz, Maddy Curley, Maddy Curley, Jeff Bridges, etc.
3. Unpregnant (2020)
- Directed by Rachel Lee Goldenberg
A Lifetime movie starring Will Ferrell gave Rachel Lee Goldenberg her start in the industry. She then directed many episodes of various television shows before shifting her focus to feature-length films for theaters.
As far as I am aware, Unpregnant, one of the best teen movies directed by women, was the first feature-length picture she wrote and directed in its whole.
This female-driven buddy road-trip comedy follows two former best friends in their early 20s as they travel across the country together.
After one of them becomes pregnant, the group of friends decides to take a road trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico, so she can have an abortion there because she can’t obtain one in her state.
4. Do Revenge (2022)
- Directed by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Sweet/Vicious was Jennifer Kaytin Robinson’s first writing gig, and it was for the revolutionary but short-lived MTV series.
After the show was canceled, she transitioned to film and made her debut as a writer and director with the release of Someone Great.
Do Revenge is Robinson’s most recent directorial and writing effort. The plot of this dark comedy centers on two teenage girls who, after being victimized by bullies, decide to band together to get vengeance on their tormentors.
5. Dumplin’ (2018)
- Directed by Anne Fletcher
Anne Fletcher, a former film choreographer turned director, is responsible for many classic romantic comedies.
Recently, she directed the highly anticipated sequel Hocus Pocus 2, but before that, she adapted the young adult book Dumplin’, one of the best teen movies directed by women.
Willowdeen (aka Dumplin) is a curvy girl who chooses to enter a beauty pageant after seeing her mother compete in similar events.
Still, this time she does it to make a political statement rather than out of need. Several hopefuls follow her lead and attempt to navigate the perilous waters of the Texas pageant circuit.
6. The Parent Trap (1995)
- Directed by Nancy Meyers.
As a writer, Nancy Meyers cut her teeth in Hollywood, penning such classics as Father of the Bride and other cherished family comedies. Her first feature film as director was 1995’s The Parent Trap, which she also scripted.
The 1995 version of the film, which is a remake of the 1961 version, is now the most popular version of the film.
The film stars Lindsey Lohan in dual roles as Hallie and Annie, twins who didn’t know each other existed until they met at summer camp.
There, they come up with the idea to switch places to spend more time with their parents and, ultimately, bring the family back together. The parent trap is also one of the best teen movies directed by women.
7. Moxie (2021)
- Directed by Amy Poehler
Amy Poehler is an author and comic actress who got her start on SNL. Despite the fact that she is most well-known for her role as Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation, she has also shown to be quite successful in other capacities. She made her directing debut with Moxie, her second film.
Moxie, one of the best teen movies directed by women, is based on a young adult novel of the same name and follows the story of Vivian, a timid adolescent who chooses to create a zine criticizing the sexism she encounters at her high school.
8. Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
- Directed by Gurinder Chadha
Gurinder Chadha is a well-respected filmmaker who established her name by helming and co-writing films about young Indian women in England who must find their place in the world and their culture.
Her first film to be an international hit was Bend It Like Beckham, one of the best teen movies directed by women.
The protagonist, Jess, is an 18-year-old who still lives at home with her traditional Sikh parents and dreams of playing soccer.
However, after being approached by a novice women’s soccer team, Jess must figure out how to pursue her passion without telling her parents.
9. Clueless (1995)
- Directed by Amy Heckerling
When Amy Heckerling began her directorial career in the 1980s, men still predominated in the field. However, clueless, a popular film about teenagers that she not only starred in but also wrote and produced in 1995, is often considered her best work.
The story revolves around Cher, a popular and rich high school student who perceives herself as a matchmaker and is based loosely on Jane Austen’s classic Emma.
She challenges herself by trying to turn the shy new girl at school into the school’s most popular student.
10. The Half Of It (2020)
- Directed by Alice Wu
Alice Wu started her directorial career in 2005, but in the 2020 release of The Half Of It on Netflix, she was recognized for her savvy approach to directing and writing.
She’s also well-known for her screenplays about lesbians of Asian descent in the United States. One of the best coming-of-age stories of the 2020s is The Half of It.
It is also one of the best teen movies directed by women. Ellie, a timid adolescent, plays a key role in helping the school’s jock win over the heart of the popular girl.
But unfortunately, Ellie has feelings for a lady who is similar to her, and this causes her friends to question their goals.
11. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
- Directed by Susan Johnson.
Susan Johnson studied directing at some of the best schools in the United States and earned degrees from many of them. Then, in 2016, she made her directorial debut.
Two years later, in 2018, she oversaw the production of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, a teen rom-com widely hailed for its reinvigorating effect on the genre.
The Boys I’ve Loved Before The story of Lara Jean, a timid junior in high school who is madly in love, begins in the “before” period.
She prefers to avoid pursuing her suitors and instead spends her time writing them hopeless love letters.
When word of the letters gets around, Lara Jean’s world is flipped upside down, and she ends in a fake romance with the school’s most popular jock. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before became one of the best teen movies directed by women.
12. Booksmart (2019)
- Directed by Olivia Wilde
Oliva Wilde began her acting career in Hollywood, and she is most known for portraying Remy “Thirteen” Hadley on the hit show House.
She kept acting and even directed a short film in 2011, but it was in 2019 that she directed her first feature film, Booksmart.
Best friends and academic overachievers Amy and Molly have an evening of mischief after realizing they’ve missed out on all the fun high school has to offer in this racy adolescent comedy.
The women are forced to deal with their complex feelings about graduation and examine their friendship as they flit from one party to the next.
13. The Edge Of Seventeen (2016)
- Directed by Kelly Fremon
After working as a screenwriter for over a decade, Kelly Fremon Craig transitioned to directing with the release of her most successful film to date, The Edge of Seventeen.
The list of the best teen movies directed by women wouldn’t have been complete without The Edge of Seventeen.
The protagonist, Nadine, is a student in high school whose life is complicated when her elder brother starts dating her best friend.
Since losing her best friend, Nadine has sought comfort from a new classmate, who secretly had a crush on her for years.
14. Lady Bird (2017)
- Directed by Greta Gerwig
Greta Gerwig is among the few women auteurs working in Hollywood. She is already well-known for her expertise as a filmmaker who has had many films nominated for an impressive amount of Oscars.
Gerwig directed her first feature film in 2008, but 2017’s Lady Bird really established her as a filmmaker to watch. Not only that, it became one of the best teen movies directed by women.
The movie focuses on a mother and her rebellious adolescent daughter as they struggle to navigate the challenges of adulthood while the mother is overworked.
As they negotiate life in Sacramento, California, together, “Lady Bird” and her mother become close and, at times, clash.
15. Coda (2020)
- Directed by Sian Heder
Sian Heder is an incredible writer and filmmaker who broke into the industry with a short film that did quite well at film festivals. She then wrote and filmed Tallulah before penning and directing the Oscar-winning Coda.
Ruby is the only attentive member of her family, and she is the focus of the coming-of-age movie. Ruby’s music professor sees a bright career ahead for her and has been mentoring her as graduation approaches.
But it’s hard for Ruby to follow her dreams since she knows her family depends on her to help run their fishing business.