The Best of 2018

The Best Female Leading Movies Of 2018 

Ranker Film
Updated January 9, 2020 2.8k votes 450 voters 36.9k views 103 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.

list ordered by
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Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez

Directed by: Alex 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 ...more

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Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins

Directed by: Roar 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 ...more

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Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz

Released: 2018

Directed by: Yorgos 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 ...more

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Ocean's 8 Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter

Released: 2018

Directed by: Gary Ross

Ocean's Eight 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 New York City’s ...more
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Nicole Kidman, Toby Kebbell, Tatiana Maslany

Released: 2018

Directed by: Karyn 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
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Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Sam Heughan

Released: 2018

Directed by: Susanna 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 ...more
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Amy Boal added Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson

Released: 2018

Directed by: Bo 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.

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Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux

Released: 2018

Directed by: Mimi 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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Lana Condor, Janel Parrish, Anna Cathcart

Released: 2018

Directed by: Susan 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 ...more

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Viola Davis, Cynthia Erivo, André Holland

Released: 2018

Directed by: Steve 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 ...more
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Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Anthony Mackie

Released: 2018

Directed by: George 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 ...more

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Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Mark Duplass

Released: 2018

Directed by: Jason 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 ...more
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Jennifer Garner, John Gallagher Jr., John Ortiz

Released: 2018

Directed by: Pierre 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 ...more
14
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Halloween Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak

Released: 2018

Directed by: David 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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Bumblebee Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr.

Directed by: Travis 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 ...more

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Gloria Steinem, Nina Totenberg

Released: 2018

Directed by: Julie 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 ...more
17
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Disobedience Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, Alessandro Nivola

Released: 2018

Directed by: Sebastián 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 ...more
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Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding

Released: 2018

Directed by: Paul 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 ...more
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Jennifer Aniston, Danielle Macdonald, Odeya Rush

Released: 2018

Directed by: Anne 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 ...more
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Sandra Bullock, Sarah Paulson, Rosa Salazar

Released: 2018

Directed by: Susanne 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 ...more

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Claire Foy, Sverrir Gudnason, Sylvia Hoeks

Released: 2018

Directed by: Fede 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 ...more
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Mary Poppins Returns Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw

Directed by: Rob 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 ...more

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Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, Jane Curtin

Released: 2018

Directed by: Marielle 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 ...more

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Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin

Directed by: Cory Finley

Thoroughbreds is a 2018 American drama thriller film directed by Cory Finley. After years of growing apart, upper-class teenagers Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Amanda (Olivia Cooke) rekindle their ...more
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Keira Knightley, Dominic West, Eleanor Tomlinson

Released: 2018

Directed by: Wash 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 ...more