When it comes to some of the latest and greatest actors and actresses that have truly been making a name for themselves over the last couple of decades, one of the first names I think of is Greta Gerwig. Starting off her career in acting, and later moving into directing major features, Gerwig has become a household name for her excellent skills in regards to not only acting, but as a director.
If you’re like me and you’re looking for some of Greta Gerwig’s best movies, look no further, as we have 10 picks here that I believe you’ll love from beginning to end, starting off with one of her oldest films.
First off on this list, we have LOL. No, that’s not just a phone message you just read, that’s the actual title of the movie. In this independent film, LOL follows three separate relationships between recent college graduates, and how the technology that they own influences how they act.
Classified as a “mumblecore” film, LOL is a movie you’re going into expecting to see the personal relationships between people rather than a steady plot, but somehow, it still works wonders and really tells a fascinating story. This was actually Greta Gerwig’s film debut way back in 2006, so it’s astonishing to watch her in this film – where she is great – and then see all that she has done both as an actress and a director.
Little Women (2019)
The first of two Gerwig-directed features on this list, Little Women is based on the novel of the same name, mainly following the story of the March sisters during the 19th century, as they try to set off on their own paths in life and make a name for themselves in a world where women didn’t have as many opportunities as they do now.
This was the second feature that Greta Gerwig directed (we’ll get into the first later down the list), but oh my God, I have loved watching this film over and over again. From the stellar performances of Florence Pugh and Saoirse Ronan, to the storyline, to the rest of the incredible Little Women cast overall, you can’t not like this film. It’s one of those movies that I’m sure is going to become a classic and it’s all thanks to Gerwig’s amazing direction. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, so you know that it’s good.
Frances Ha (2012)
Next up, we have Frances Ha, a black and white dramedy starring (and co-written by) Greta Gerwig. This film focuses in on the titular character, Frances, a young, 27-year-old womon who is going through a tough time when her best friend that she’s known for years decides to move, and now, it’s up to her to try and make sense of her life and find herself without that one constant to rely on.
I think what makes Frances Ha such a great outlet for showing off Gerwig’s talent is that she is the lead of this film, so you really get to see her put on a show with not only her dramatic acting skills but her comedic timing. And, honestly, Frances is a character that we can all relate to, with her constantly going through changes but needing to learn to accept them and become a better version of herself. This movie also features Adam Driver in one of his best roles yet, so if you want to see Greta Gerwig and Adam Driver in the same film, be sure to check this out.
20th Century Women (2016)
My personal favorite on the list of movies that Greta Gerwig has acted in is 20th Century Women, by a longshot. This drama film follows a young boy growing up in the 1970’s, and the three women who are responsible for how he grew up: his mother, his close friend, and the family’s tenant.
I freaking love Gerwig in this role. Seriously. It’s not talked about enough. While this movie also features some stellar performances from the talented Elle Fanning and Annette Bening, Greta Gerwig’s role in this movie needs to be praised, because her part as Abbie truly has made me cry many times.
She’s so independent, fierce, and the kind of woman that I would honestly want to be my best friend, and Gerwig pulls it off wonderfully. It annoys me that this film didn’t receive as many accolades as it should have, but I can at least recommend it to others to watch.
Moving on, we now have Jackie, a biographical drama about one of the former first ladies, Jacqueline Kennedy, in the time after her husband was killed, and how she learned to adapt to her new role in the White House.
While the film stars Natalie Portman as the titular first lady, Greta Gerwig portrayed Nancy Tuckerman, who was the White House Social Secretary at the time, and was the personal secretary to Jackie Kennedy until she passed away in 1994, and I loved her role in this. Gerwig again shows just how brilliant she is in a dramatic role, and it really tells a story that people like me, who are quite young and not as informed about history, didn’t know. It was intriguing from start to finish and I would watch it again.
Lady Bird (2017)
Next up, we have Gerwig’s first directorial effort, one that I think everyone should see, no matter what. Lady Bird is a coming of age dramedy starring Saoirse Ronan about a high schooler who has a strained relationship with her mother and is trying to grow up and learn how to accept herself despite horrible things occurring in her life.
Lady Bird is an experience. I truly believe that in every sense of the word. While I’ve always been a big fan of coming of age movies, there’s just something about this film that sits with you, because it’s another case of, “I’ve been here before.” You can fully put yourself in the shoes of the main character, and I’d be surprised if you didn’t find yourself tearing up once or twice throughout it’s run time. It’s raw, emotional, and deserved all of the praise that it received. As the first movie Gerwig directed, she knocked it out of the park – even scoring a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director.
Maggie’s Plan (2015)
Moving on, now we have Maggie’s Plan, a romantic comedy that is sure to make you smile. Starring Greta Gerwig and Ethan Hawke, along with several other big stars, Maggie’s Plan follows a young woman who is looking to have a child, so she decides to go through with it without a romantic partner. But, when she starts to develop feelings for someone, her plans are thrown into a tailspin.
Out of all the movies on this list, I feel like Maggie’s Plan is certainly the one that isn’t super serious, but what really makes it stand out amongst many of Gerwig’s other films is that she has amazing chemistry with Ethan Hawke. Hawke has done so many great movies, but I personally think that this is one of his best because he and Gerwig somehow make this strange couple that I can’t help but enjoy, and the twists and turns that this film take make it almost impossible to turn away from the screen.
Isle Of Dogs (2018)
Next up, we have a great Wes Anderson film, Isle of Dogs. In this stop-motion animated movie, a young boy is on the hunt to find his missing dog, Spots, and ends up on Trash Island, a place that is inhabited by dogs, where he befriends them and makes it his goal to bring the dogs back home.
Isle of Dogs is such a great movie. You can tell right away that it’s a Wes Anderson film from the storytelling and the beautiful animation, but what makes it even better is the Isle of Dogs cast, which features Greta Gerwig as Tracy Walker, a foreign exchange student from America, who teams up with the young boy, Atari (Koyo Rankin) in order to help the dogs, and I just love their relationship. Gerwig has some awesome voice-over skills, and should seriously be in more animated movies. I’d love to hear her again.
Mistress America (2015)
Now, we have the film, Mistress America, a comedy starring Greta Gerwig and Lola Kirke, which tells the story of a young woman who is having trouble adjusting to her life in college, so she decides to grow closer to her soon to-be stepsister, Brooke, and this in turn upends her life – for better or worse.
This is another Greta Gerwig film where I really felt I could put myself in the character’s shoes. Even though a lot of the craziness that happens in this movie is something I’ve never experienced, Gerwig accurately portrays something that we all have felt once or twice as we have grown older: loneliness. This feeling that we want to be accepted and have love that never goes away, and that’s perfectly shown through her friendship with Brooke. I think this is a film you only need to see once to get the message, and it’s great to watch because of that.
To Rome With Love (2012)
Last but not least, we have a Woody Allen film, To Rome With Love. In this romantic comedy, we follow several different love stories in the romantic city of Rome, Italy, where we see just how much the area can influence how someone behaves, or the ways in which love changes as time goes on.
Greta Gerwig is a part of “John’s Story,” a part of the film that tells the tale of John (Alec Baldwin), an architect who is visiting Rome with his family and meets a young man and his girlfriend, Sally (played by Gerwig), and this one instance changes his life forever. The story itself is full of moments that will truly blow your mind and make you chuckle, and Gerwig herself is awesome in her role as Sally, the girlfriend of Jack (Jesse Eisenberg). The ending of John’s story is even wilder – you just have to watch it for yourself.
From directing features to starring roles, Greta Gerwig has certainly shown just how skilled she is. I can’t wait to see what she does next.