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Best 2019 Movies About Women Directed by Women

The title character in Selah and the Spades, written and directed by Tayarisha Poe, isn’t so much straddling identities as she is flouting the very concept of the binary notions that so often attempt to harnass women. As star Lovie Simone says, “Selah just is.” She’s the leader of The Spades, an underground faction at a boarding school, and is her own moral standard. Depending on who you ask, she can be your worst enemy—she sends her right-hand man (Jharrel Jerome) unknowingly to his own beating when he dares to elevate another woman in his life—or your best friend, like offering the new girl (Celeste O’Connor) a space next to her on the throne. Selah isn’t exactly sexually promiscuous (she’s never had sex), but she’s quick to say that she’s in full command of her body, refusing to submit to the male-inflicted stereotypes of Madonna and whore. She freely struts around in a pleated cheerleader skirt and fitted crop top, embodying a sense of power and brazen femininity that both captivates and intimidates. Selah is a defiant contradiction of assumptions placed on women, and that’s what makes her story—as well as Hala’s, Billi’s, and Molly’s—so provocative. These women are living on their own terms, annihilating expectations, and forming their own resistance in a world that is hell-bent on catering to standards set by men. It’s 2019, after all, and this is the mood we need to take into the rest of the year and beyond. Let’s go.

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