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The 10 best Greta Gerwig movies, ranked

Greta Gerwig has a lot more under her belt than just Barbie

Greta Gerwig on the carpet
thalo Artist Community

Greta Gerwig is on top of the world right now. With Barbie shattering box office records worldwide, more movie fans than ever are discovering that Greta Gerwig movies are a unique experience. Entertaining, thoughtful, and full of fun, Gerwig has already completed quite the resume of films between her acting, directing, and writing credentials. While she was an excellent actress in her twenties, her shift to directing in her thirties has brought her Academy Award recognition and supreme box office success. Her collaborations with Timothée Chalamet and Saoirse Ronan are reminiscent of many other directors’ efforts to tie themselves to several special talents on the other end of the camera. Here are her ten best productions both in front of and behind the camera.

10. Jackie (2016)

10. Jackie
100m
Genre
Drama
Stars
Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig
Directed by
Pablo Larraín
Watch on Amazon

The assassination of John F. Kennedy didn’t just shake the nation — his immediate family was just as devastated. Jackie gives viewers a chance to get up close and personal with Kennedy’s wife, Jackie, in the time after that infamous event. Greta Gerwig plays Nancy Tuckerman, Jackie’s secretary, who played a pivotal role in the former First Lady’s life during that time. The film is a classic example of the strong female character archetype that Gerwig has embraced throughout her career so far.

9. Nights and Weekends (2008)

9. Nights and Weekends
80m
Genre
Drama, Romance
Stars
Greta Gerwig, Joe Swanberg, Jay Duplass
Directed by
Joe Swanberg, Greta Gerwig
Watch on Amazon

One of the earliest films in Gerwig’s career, Nights and Weekends is an indie gem that shows off both her acting and directing skills. Her character’s journey through an on-and-off relationship with Joe Swanberg’s character is a nice alternative to more mainstream romance films of the late 2000s, such as (500) Days of Summer. The movie is defined as being part of the mumblecore genre, a category that Gerwig has perfected that boasts excellent, intimate dialogue.

8. Frances Ha (2013)

8. Frances Ha
86m
Genre
Comedy, Drama
Stars
Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Michael Zegen
Directed by
Noah Baumbach
Watch on Netflix

Gerwig plays the titular Frances, a woman who tries to make her dreams come true through unshakeable optimism and perseverance. Frances wants to become a professional dancer despite so many obstacles in her life, like money and lack of housing. Gerwig’s iconic feminist lens and joyful depiction of strong female leads shine through in this funny and heartwarming little movie. Adam Driver plays a supporting role in the film, as well.

7. 20th Century Women (2016)

7. 20th Century Women
119m
Genre
Drama
Stars
Annette Bening, Lucas Jade Zumann, Greta Gerwig
Directed by
Mike Mills
Watch on Amazon

Gerwig plays Abbie Porter, a woman who is part of a friend group trying to mentor a reserved boy named Jamie as he grows into a young man. The movie has a strong focus on the progressive, free-wheeling culture of the 1970s in California and how it affects the people and parenting styles of the characters in the movie. Billy Crudup of The Morning Show on Apple TV+ is one of the outstanding supporting actors in the film.   

6. To Rome with Love (2012)

6. To Rome with Love
111m
Genre
Romance, Comedy, Drama
Stars
Woody Allen, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz
Directed by
Woody Allen
Watch on Amazon

Woody Allen wasn’t in his prime anymore when he directed this offbeat romance film, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. Greta Gerwig plays one of the several lovebirds who find themselves amongst a sea of prospects and problems in Rome, one of the most romantic cities on the planet. The story is told in an unconventional, multi-plotline style in which several different character arcs are resolved irrespective of one another.

5. Mistress America (2015)

5. Mistress America
84m
Genre
Comedy
Stars
Greta Gerwig, Lola Kirke, Matthew Shear
Directed by
Noah Baumbach
Watch on Amazon

We definitely need more buddy comedies with women in starring roles rather than men. Mistress America places Greta Gerwig in the role of a regretful woman who looks to her step-sister, played by Lola Kirke, for guidance and improvement. The film is bound together by the strong chemistry of the two leading ladies, and the laughs come rapidly and with sharp wit throughout the duration of the movie.

4. Isle of Dogs (2018)

4. Isle of Dogs
101m
Genre
Adventure, Comedy, Animation
Stars
Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Bob Balaban
Directed by
Wes Anderson
Watch on Disney+

One of Wes Anderson’s most beloved films, Isle of Dogs gives Greta Gerwig room to show off her voice acting talents. The story follows a boy who goes out looking for his missing pup with the guidance of other dogs. The canines in the film are resigned to life at Trash Island due to a pandemic. Hopefully, we’ll see Gerwig collaborate with Anderson more in the future.

3. Lady Bird (2017)

3. Lady Bird
94m
Genre
Drama, Comedy
Stars
Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts
Directed by
Greta Gerwig
Watch on Amazon

Lady Bird was the movie that proved Greta Gerwig was going to have massive staying power within the world of directing. Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf turn an otherwise basic mother-daughter story into something very raw, natural, and thoughtful. The pace of the film and the powerful rollercoaster of events between the two characters makes it a must-watch. 

2. Little Women (2019)

2. Little Women
135m
Genre
Drama, Romance, History
Stars
Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Emma Watson
Directed by
Greta Gerwig
Watch on Amazon

Gerwig’s take on the beloved Louisa May Alcott novel from 1868 is full of beautiful music, scenery, and acting from the leading ladies in the main cast. Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh were two of the most critically acclaimed performers in the famous story of the March sisters living in the aftermath of the Civil War. (In particular, Pugh’s strong performance and Gerwig’s skills behind the scenes turned one of literature’s most-hated characters into a heroine in her own right.) 

1. Barbie (2023)

1. Barbie
114m
Genre
Comedy, Adventure, Fantasy
Stars
Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera
Directed by
Greta Gerwig

There’s no recency bias involved in this ranking. Greta Gerwig’s Barbie film is a culminating event of the summer, a movie that every gender, age, and demographic can enjoy to the fullest. The story infuses the world of Barbie toys with all of the same colors, personalities, and tropes found throughout the marketing of the Mattel brand for over fifty years. Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling deliver excellent lead performances as Barbie and Ken. Barbie is sure to cause many copycats in the world of toys in the next several years, but the pure magic of this film will never be overshadowed.   

Barbie | Main Trailer

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Movie images and data from:
Shawn Laib
Shawn Laib is a freelance writer with publications such as Den of Geek, Quote.com, Edge Media Network, diaTribe, SUPERJUMP…
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