19 most anticipated films by women in 2019

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Miss Bala (Feb. 1)

The Plot: When she’s kidnapped by Mexican drug dealers in Tijuana, a young woman named Gloria (Gina Rodriguez) will have to use all her ingenuity to become a mole and bring them down.

This is based on the popular Spanish-language film of the same name that came out back in 2011. Now it’s being helmed by Catherine Hardwicke, whom you might remember as the director of Thirteen and the first Twilight film. Hardwicke’s been an interesting director who hasn’t really conformed to a specific genre. She’s directed movies about women, a successful YA franchise feature, and a story about male surfers (Lords of Dogtown). Despite starting the Twilight franchise, and helping it make buckets of money, Hardwicke wasn’t inundated with projects after like many women franchise directors. Miss Bala is Hardwicke’s return after a four year absence, her last film being the friendship-centric tearjerker Miss You Already.

Miss Bala is also being prepped as a proving ground for its leading lady. Golden Globe-winning actress Gina Rodriguez is saying goodbye to the television show that made her famous, the CW’s Jane the Virgin, this year and is making a transition to film. She was one of an ensemble in 2017 with the sci-fi thriller Annihilation, but this will test her ability to lead a film.

She’s certainly had a rough last few weeks after making comments about African-American actresses that, coupled with claims that the film is drawing on stereotypes about Latinos, isn’t setting her up on a good start. But women actioners remain rare, and hopefully Rodriguez and Hardwicke can make this work in the cold climes of February and beyond.