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460 voters

The Best Female Leading Movies Of 2018

Updated January 9, 2020 4.8k votes 460 voters 38.4k views103 items

As the demand for equality in Hollywood rises, there are plenty of strong female lead movies of 2018. Ongoing issues in the movie industry - such as harassment and the pay gap - have made moviegoers aware of the importance of telling women's stories. This list of 2018 female lead movies catalogs the best movies of the year that elevated female voices. 

What were some of the best strong female lead movies this year? A number of women-centric franchises and books saw adaptations. The video game character Lara Croft came to life onscreen in Tomb Raider.

A Wrinkle In Time - known for its compelling women characters - was adapted into a film starring much-beloved female celebrities like Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, and Oprah Winfrey. Some original films also made up the best strong female lead movies of 2018. The darkly humorous Thoroughbreds tells the story of two high school students plotting murder. Zoey Deutch stars in the suspenseful independent film Flower. Other 2018 movies with almost all-female casts include Widows, Ocean's 8, and Annihilation.

Which of these female lead movies are the best of 2018? Vote for your favorites below, and add anything you feel is missing. 

Want more female-driven films? Take a look at the list of best 2020 movies featuring women.

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  • 1
    Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall
    43
    20

    Released2018

    Directed byGeorge Tillman Jr.

    The Hate U Give is a 2018 American drama thriller film directed by George Tillman Jr., based on the novel by Angie Thomas. Constantly switching between the poor, mostly black, neighborhood where she...  more
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  • 2
    Lana Condor, Janel Parrish
    39
    18

    Released2018

    Directed bySusan Johnson

    To All the Boys I've Loved Before is a 2018 American teen romance film directed by Susan Johnson, based on the 2014 novel by Jenny Han. Lara Jean Song Covey (Lana Condor) writes private love letters...  more
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  • 3
    Viola Davis, Cynthia Erivo
    31
    11

    Released2018

    Directed bySteve McQueen

    Widows is a 2018 heist thriller film directed by Steve McQueen, based on the 1983 TV series. Four armed robbers are killed in a failed heist attempt, only to have their widows step up to finish the...  more
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  • 4
    Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis
    32
    16

    Released2018

    Directed byJason Reitman

    Tully is a 2018 American comedy-drama film directed by Jason Reitman. Marlo (Charlize Theron), a mother of three including a newborn, is gifted a night nanny (Mackenzie Davis) by her brother (Mark...  more
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  • 5
    Jennifer Garner, John Gallagher Jr.
    30
    24

    Released2018

    Directed byPierre Morel

    Peppermint is a 2018 American action thriller film directed by Pierre Morel. When the husband and daughter of Riley North (Jennifer Garner) are killed in a drive-by shooting by members of a cartel,...  more
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  • 6
    Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer
    28
    25

    Released2018

    Directed byDavid Gordon Green

    Halloween is a 2018 horror film directed by David Gordon Green, and the 11th film in the Halloween franchise. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers...  more
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  • 7
    Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon
    45
    47

    Released2018

    Directed bySusanna Fogel

    The Spy Who Dumped Me is a 2018 American action comedy film directed by Susanna Fogel. Best friends Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon) get involved in an undercover mission after Audrey’s...  more
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  • 8
    Amy Boal addedElsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton
    42
    43

    Released2018

    Directed byBo Burnham

    Eighth Grade is a 2018 American comedy film directed by Bo Burnham. An eighth grader (Elsie Fisher) struggles to finish her last week of classes before embarking for high school. ...  more
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  • 9
    Nicole Kidman, Toby Kebbell
    52
    58

    Released2018

    Directed byKaryn Kusama

    Destroyer is a 2018 crime thriller film directed by Karyn Kusama. A police detective (Nicole Kidman) reconnects with people from an undercover assignment in her distant past in order to make peace....  more
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  • 10
    Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena
    23
    20

    Directed byTravis Knight

    Bumblebee is a 2018 American science fiction action film directed by Travis Knight, based on the Transformers' character. In 1987, Bumblebee takes refuge in a small California beach town junkyard...  more
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  • 11
    Olivia Colman, Emma Stone
    65
    76

    Released2018

    Directed byYorgos Lanthimos

    The Favourite is a 2018 biographical historical film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. The close relationship between Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) and Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) is threatened by the...  more
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  • 12
    Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively
    28
    29

    Released2018

    Directed byPaul Feig

    A Simple Favor is a 2018 American mystery thriller film directed by Paul Feig, based on the novel by Darcey Bell. Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), a mommy vlogger, seeks to uncover the truth behind her...  more
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  • 13
    Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant
    17
    15

    Released2018

    Directed byMarielle Heller

    Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a 2018 biographical comedy-drama film directed by Marielle Heller, based on the memoir by Lee Israel. When bestselling celebrity biographer, Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy),...  more
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  • 14
    Claire Foy, Sverrir Gudnason
    17
    15

    Released2018

    Directed byFede Álvarez

    The Girl in the Spider's Web is a 2018 American-Swedish crime thriller film directed by Fede Álvarez, based on the novel by David Lagercrantz. Computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) and...  more
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  • 15
    Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda
    20
    19

    Released2018

    Directed byRob Marshall

    Mary Poppins Returns is a 2018 American musical fantasy film directed by Rob Marshall. In 1935, during the era of the Great Depression in the United Kingdom, the now grown-up Jane (Emily Mortimer)...  more
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    #139 of 204 Musical Movies With The Best Songs#24 of 370 The Best Musical Movies Of All Time#52 of 96 The Funniest Movies About Family

  • 16
    Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer
    60
    76

    Released2018

    Directed byMimi Leder

    On the Basis of Sex is a 2018 American biographical drama film directed by Mimi Leder. Young lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) teams with her husband Marty (Armie Hammer) to bring a...  more
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  • 17
    Alicia Vikander, Dominic West
    72
    94

    Released2018

    Directed byRoar Uthaug

    Tomb Raider is a 2018 American action adventure film directed by Roar Uthaug. Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander), the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her...  more
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  • 18
    Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh
    94
    126

    Released2018

    Directed byAlex Garland

    Annihilation is a 2018 science fantasy action horror film directed by Alex Garland, based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer. A biologist (Natalie Portman) signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition...  more
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  • 19
    Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams
    30
    36

    Released2018

    Directed bySebastián Lelio

    Disobedience is a 2017 British-Irish-American drama film directed by Sebastián Lelio, based on the novel by Noami Alderman. A woman (Rachel Weisz) returns to her Orthodox Jewish home after the death...  more
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  • 20
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Gloria Steinem
    32
    41

    Released2018

    Directed byJulie Cohen, Betsy West

    RBG is a 2018 documentary film directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West. At the age of 84, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an...  more
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  • 21
    Jennifer Aniston, Danielle Macdonald
    21
    25

    Released2018

    Directed byAnne Fletcher

    Dumplin' is a 2018 American musical comedy film directed by Anne Fletcher, based on the young adult novel by Julie Murphy. Willowdean (Danielle Macdonald), the plus-size teenage daughter of a former...  more
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  • 22
    Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett
    78
    107

    Released2018

    Directed byGary Ross

    Ocean's Eight (stylized Ocean's 8) is a 2018 American heist comedy film directed by Gary Ross. Danny Ocean's estranged sister Debbie (Sandra Bullock) attempts to pull off the heist of the century at...  more
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  • 23
    Sandra Bullock, Sarah Paulson
    29
    37

    Released2018

    Directed bySusanne Bier

    Bird Box is a 2018 American post-apocalyptic film directed by Susanne Bier, based on the novel by Josh Malerman. A woman (Sandra Bullock) and a pair of children are blindfolded as they make their way...  more
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  • 24
    Keira Knightley, Dominic West
    15
    19

    Released2018

    Directed byWash Westmoreland

    Colette is a 2018 British biographical drama film directed by Wash Westmoreland. Pushed by her husband to write novels under his name, Gabrielle Colette (Keira Knightley) fights to make her talents...  more
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  • 25
    Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce
    16
    22

    Released2018

    Directed byBjörn Runge

    The Wife is a 2018 drama film directed by Björn Runge, based on the novel by Meg Wolitzer. A wife (Glenn Close) questions her life choices as she travels to Stockholm with her husband (Jonathan...  more
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