Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Creative Nonfiction; Homecoming; An Education
Credit: Criterion Channel; Courtesy of Parkwood Entertainment; Everett Collection

Labor Day is behind us, so school is back in session! And here’s this month’s syllabus for female filmmakers 101: five back-to-school-themed films from exciting female artists that you can stream right now.

First of all, for extra credit, you can support women at the box office this month when you go to see Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers (Sept. 13), based on the true story from a New York magazine article about a group of strippers who swindled their wealthy Wall Street clients (led by none other than J. Lo). Later in the month will bring Abominable (Sept. 27), directed by Jill Culton (and co-directed by Todd Wilderman), an animated DreamWorks feature about a yeti on a journey home.

After catching those in theaters, make these five streamable films your homework this September — and come back next month for five more October picks!

It’s a new school year, and you know what that means — time for Homecoming. (It’s also September, and you know what else thatmeans? Happy birthday, Beyoncé!) This year’s Netflix concert doc chronicling the singer’s legendary Coachella 2018 set — a now-historic show and a vibrant celebration of black feminism and historically black colleges and universities — was written and directed by Queen Bey herself (who is also the star of it, obviously). Bow down to Beychella.

STREAM IT: Netflix

The homecoming parade is over, so now it’s time to get to the cruel injustices of actual high school. Kelly Fremon Craig’s critically beloved 2016 dramedy The Edge of Seventeen, starring Hailee Steinfeld as our junior-year heroine, is available on Netflix to hit you right in your eternal teenage angst, no matter how old you are.

STREAM IT: Netflix, Amazon, iTunes

There’s more than one way to get An Education, as we are reminded in Lone Scherfig’s gorgeous 2009 adaptation of journalist Lynn Barber’s memoir. Carey Mulligan stars as the teenage schoolgirl whose dreams of going to Oxford are derailed by her romance with a charming older man, a self-proclaimed graduate of “the university of life” (always a red flag, but this was pre-Tinder, so how could she have known?). You can watch Mulligan’s only Oscar-nominated performance (so far) free on Sony Crackle.

And here we go, college! Lena Dunham is best known as a small-screen chronicler of postgrad disillusionment, but her feature directorial debut, Creative Nonfiction — which premiered a decade ago at SXSW, three years before Girls hit HBO — revolves around a college student (Dunham, who made the film over her last two years at Oberlin) trying to find herself as an artist. The film became available last month on the Criterion Channel, where you can also find Dunham’s sophomore feature, Tiny Furniture, as well as a handful of her short films.

Finally, let’s give a shoutout to all the parents working hard every day to support their kids in school so that they will feel supported, nourished, and loved in their homes! That includes Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, who has her own way of doing things! Chantal Akerman’s astounding, influential, three-hour-long 1975 arthouse classic, which was shot with an almost all-female crew, on the Criterion Channel.