By Valerie Kalfrin and Tom Moore
This month, In Their Own League launches a new feature, “The Lineup,” a listing of films released this month featuring underrepresented stories, women directors, and where you can view them. Click through to find the trailers, courtesy of IMDB.com. – Joan Amenn, Editor in Chief
As we head into a jam-packed fall movie season filled with plenty of big releases, it’s always important for us at In Their Own League to not only highlight upcoming women-directed films but also look at what’s arriving from other underrepresented voices. With our three-year anniversary this September, In Their Own League is thrilled to kick off this new monthly piece highlighting women-directed releases and other underrepresented stories for the month.
September couldn’t be a more amazing month to start this feature, which has no shortage of women-led films. Directors Gina Prince-Bythewood (“The Old Guard”) and Olivia Wilde (“Booksmart”) return with ambitious new flicks while other women make their directorial debuts. Plus, there are other stories on the way featuring underrepresented voices.
Let’s dive into what September offers, so you can plan what to watch along with us.
1. Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul: Adammo Ebo makes her feature directorial debut with this satirical comedy set in a Southern Baptist Church during a revival. The film stars Sterling K. Brown (“This is Us,” “Black Panther,” “Waves”) and Regina Hall (“Little,” “Girls Trip,” “Master”) as a husband and wife trying to restore faith in their church after a major scandal. The film releases in theaters and on Peacock on Sept. 2.
2. End of the Road: Seasoned TV director Millicent Shelton (“Titans,” “Black-ish,” “Insecure”) returns to film, delivering Netflix’s first big movie of the fall with “End of the Road.” The film sees Queen Latifah (“Hustle,” “Girls Trip,” “22 Jump Street”) as a mother who becomes the target of a mysterious killer while traveling across the New Mexico desert with her family. Ludacris (“F9”) co-stars. Netflix subscribers can look for this on Sept. 9.
3. Causeway: Lila Neugebauer makes her feature directorial debut with “Causeway,” starring Jennifer Lawrence (“The Hunger Games,” “Joy,” “Red Sparrow”) as an Afghanistan war veteran struggling to adjust to life back home after suffering a traumatic brain injury in battle. Bryan Tyree Henry (“Eternals,” “Bullet Train,” “Widows”) co-stars. Before hitting theaters and Apple TV+ this fall, “Causeway” will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 10.
4. The Woman King: Director Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Love & Basketball”) delivers her most ambitious film to date with this historical action epic. It depicts the Agojie, an all-female African warrior tribe that defends their kingdom of Dahomey as they fight against European invaders. The film features an all-star cast lead by Viola Davis (“Fences,” “The Suicide Squad,” “Widows”) as the fierce General Nanisca. It hits theaters on Sept. 16.
5. Do Revenge: Camila Mendes (“Riverdale”) and Maya Hawke (“Stranger Things”) co-star in the dark comedy “Do Revenge” from director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson (“Someone Great”). Inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train,” the film sees Mendes and Hawke as two high school students looking to help each other get revenge on some bullies. Netflix subscribers can watch the film on Sept. 16.
6. The Silent Twins: The latest film from director Agnieszka Smoczynska (“Lure”), “The Silent Twins” tells the true story of June and Jennifer Gibbons, twins who no longer communicate with anyone aside from each other. Letitia Wright (“Black Panther,” “Death on the Nile”) and Tamara Lawrence (“Kindred,” “Education”) star as June and Jennifer, respectively. Based on the book of the same name by Marjorie Wallace. After the film’s strong premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, it’s set to hit theaters on Sept. 16.
7. The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales: Directors Abigail Disney and Kathleen Hughes, who co-directed 2015’s “The Armor of Light,” look at the nation’s dysfunctional and unequal economy through an interesting lens. Disney—the granddaughter of The Walt Disney Company co-founder Roy O. Disney—uses her family history and the working conditions of those who handle the theme park pixie dust behind the scenes to explore this systemic injustice. In limited release on Sept. 16, then available online on Sept. 23.
8. Don’t Worry Darling: The sophomore feature from director Olivia Wilde casts the phenomenal Florence Pugh (“Midsommar,” “Little Women,” “Black Widow”) as a 1950s housewife living in an experimental community with her husband (pop phenomenon Harry Styles). Naturally, all is not as it seems on the surface. Co-starring Chris Pine and Wilde, it debuts at the Venice Film Festival on Sept. 5, then releases in theaters on Sept. 23.
9. Catherine Called Birdy: The second project from director Lena Dunham (“Sharp Stick”) released this year, this film follows a 14-year-old girl (Bella Ramsey, “Game of Thrones”) in medieval England avoiding potential suitors her flummoxed father (Andrew Scott, “Fleabag”) has in mind. Based on the novel by Karen Cushman. In limited release on Sept. 23, then on Prime Video on Oct. 7.
10. On the Come Up: Sanaa Lathan (“Something New,” “Succession,” and TV’s “Harley Quinn”) makes her feature directing debut with this coming-of-age story about a 16-year-old girl (Jamila C. Gray) who aspires to be a rapper. Based on the novel by Angie Thomas, it co-stars Lathan, Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Lost City”), Mike Epps, and Method Man. It debuts at the Toronto International Film Festival, then releases on Sept. 23 on Paramount+.
11. God’s Creatures: Directors Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer (“The OA”) take on this sweeping emotional drama that involves a mother (Emily Watson, “Chernobyl”), a son (Paul Mescal, “The Lost Daughter”), a lie, and a close-knit fishing community. In limited release on Sept. 30.
12. Vesper: Directors Kristina Buozyte (“Vanishing Waves”) and Bruno Samper also co-wrote this “futuristic fairytale” with Brian Clark (“Compulsion”) about a resourceful 13-year-old girl (Raffiella Chapman, “Homebound”) surviving the collapse of Earth’s ecosystem. It releases on Sept. 30.
Also of note:
- Blind Ambition: This documentary from Robert Coe and Warwick Ross follows four friends from Zimbabwe who escape starvation and tyranny to become top sommeliers. In limited release on Sept. 2.
- The Story of Film: A New Generation: Director Mark Cousins follows up on his 2011 documentary, “The Story of Film: An Odyssey,” with this exploration of world cinema from 2010 to 2021. Previously shown at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Look for it on Sept. 9.
- God’s Country: Thandiwe Newton leaves “Westworld” for this thriller, playing a college professor who enters a battle of wills with hunters trespassing on her land. Releases on Sept. 16.
- Land of Dreams: Shoja Azari and Shirin Neshat, who previously teamed up on “Looking for Oum Kulthum,” direct this political satire about an Iranian-American woman (Sheila Vand, “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”) who works for the US Census Bureau, recording not demographics but people’s dreams. Co-stars Matt Dillon and Isabella Rossellini. Look for it on Sept. 16.
- Blonde: Lots of eyes will be on Ana de Armas (“No Time to Die,” “Deep Water”) as Marilyn Monroe in this fictionalization of Monroe’s inner life. Based on the Joyce Carol Oates book, it co-stars Lucy DeVito, Garret Dillahunt, and Adrien Brody. Released on Sept. 28.
- José Feliciano: Behind This Guitar: Directors Helen Murphy and Frank Licari highlight the 55-year career of the Grammy-winning composer (“Zodiac,” “Moulin Rouge!”), guitarist, and occasional actor (“Fargo”). Featuring commentary from Gloria Estefan, Carlos Santana, and others. Releases online on Sept. 28.
- Bros: Director Nicholas Stoller (“Friends from College”) also co-wrote this LGBTQ+ romantic comedy about two men with commitment problems who attempt a relationship. Stars Hallmark Channel favorite Luke Macfarlane (“Moriah’s Lighthouse”), co-writer Billy Eichner (“Bob’s Burgers”), Kristin Chenoweth, Debra Messing, and Harvey Fierstein. Releases on Sept. 30.
- The Good House: Screen legends Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline spar and flirt in this comedic drama about a New England real estate agent off a lousy year who gets another chance at love with an old flame. Co-starring Morena Baccarin and Rob Delaney. Directed by Maya Forbes (“The Polka King”) and Wallace Wolodarsky (“Seeing Other People”). Releases on Sept. 30.