Top Five Teen Movies Directed By Women

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By Tair Shachar

Fusion recently screened I Believe in Unicorns, a film directed by Tisch alum Leah Meyerhoff that revolves around protagonist Davina’s fantastical coming of age and first love. The movie delves into the adolescent  girl’s psyche and Davina’s practical and existential crises, all through a magical, romantic lens. I Believe in Unicorns gave us unique and rare insight into the mind of a teenage girl going through the complicated and bittersweet process of growing up. Here are five, very different, great movies directed by women that tread the grounds of youth’s search for identity and expression.


The Virgin Suicides


Director: Sofia Coppola

Year: 1999

This film, known as one of Coppola’s best, is set in the 1970s and follows the Lisbon sisters through the perspective and narration of the boys that grew up with them and obsessed over them. The movie explores many hardships of teen-hood such as blooming sexuality, rebellion against overprotective parents,general melancholy and existentialism.




Director: Amy Heckerling

Year: 1995

A hilarious and incredibly fun staple of 90s cinema and culture, Clueless remains iconic and endlessly quotable. Cher is the film’s protagonist whose voice-over narration is genuine and superficial introduces the audience to her world of materialistic, shallow concerns as she strives to remain the most popular, attractive girl in her high school. The film creates an exaggerated portrait of the teens of it’s time and serves as intelligent and funny commentary on consumerism and the obsession with fitting in.


Fish Tank


Director: Andrea Arnold

Year: 2009

A BAFTA winner and a beautifully crafted film, Fish Tank explores 15-year-old Mia’s struggle with her newly progressing sexuality as it intersects with her home life when her mom’s new boyfriend expresses interest in her. The movie deals with the complexity of sexuality and how it can overwhelms and confuse in the process of growing up.




Director: Dee Rees

Year: 2011

This Tisch alum-directed film tells the story of Ailke, a teenager living in Brooklyn who searches for and struggles with conflicting identities while trying to manage friendships and family.

An Education


Director: Lone Sherfig

Year: 2009

An Education is an Oscar-nominated coming-of-age drama about 16-year-old Jenny Mellor who temporarily abandons her education in order to spend time exploring the world and receiving a cultural education from an older man who pursues her romantically. Through this excursion, Jenny learns a lot about herself, questioning the course her life is taking and finding her own answers.