BitchWatch: The Most Anticipated Movies of 2020

Janelle Monáe as Veronica in Antebellum (Photo credit: Lionsgate)

In 2019, feminist movies, meaning those explicitly marketed as such or that had a well-developed, diverse, women-driven cast, were a massive source of discussion. We talked our way through Harriet, and what its criticism meant for Black film critics; we mulled over the representation of both sex workers and female bonding in Hustlers; we even cheered on Charlie’s Angels, despite its skimpy plot and box-office failings. In 2020, we anticipate no less discourse, and the films this year has to offer already have us thinking, questioning, and, of course, looking forward to watching.

1. LITTLE WOMEN

LITTLE WOMEN - Official Trailer (HD)

{ Sony Pictures Rising }
Release Date: December 25, 2019

Though it debuted in late 2019, Little Women came out strong as one of the most promptly notable films of 2020. Its stunning cast features Saoirse Ronan (who plays Jo March), Emma Watson (Meg March), Laura Dern (Marmee March), Meryl Streep (Aunt March), and more iconic women. Though it’s been unavoidably critiqued as yet another white remake, reviews have called the film “positively radical,” and note that, in this take on the 1868 Louisa May Alcott novel, the focus is on digging into its “feminist origins.” As producer Amy Pascal said in an interview, “I think Little Women is always a secretly subversive story.”

2. BIRDS OF PREY

Birds of Prey Trailer #1 (2020) | Movieclips Trailers

{ DC Films }
Release Date: February 7, 2020

This winter, Margot Robbie will reprise her role as Harley Quinn in an action film titled for the Birds of Prey, a women-led team that appears in the DC comic universe time and time again since their original appearance in 1996. Though Quinn doesn’t have a major role in the comic version, Robbie pushed for her inclusion in the Birds of Prey: According to screenwriter Christina Hodson, “[Robbie] really wanted to see Harley with girlfriends, Harley in a girl gang.” She stars alongside Jurnee Smollett-Ball (Black Canary) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Huntress), and the women unite against a common enemy, Ewan McGregor, who will play the Black Mask. Anticipate many fight scenes, a little creepiness, and another stellar soundtrack.

3. MISBEHAVIOUR

MISBEHAVIOUR Trailer [HD] - Keira Knightley, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keeley Hawes & Lesley Manville

{ 20th Century Fox }
Release Date: March 2020 (U.K. Release)

In 1970, two historical events occurred simultaneously: A British women’s-rights group took to the stage during the Miss World beauty pageant to fight sexism, and Granada’s Jennnifer Hosten became the first Black woman to win the pageant. Misbehaviour features Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Hosten and Keira Knightley as protestor Sally Alexander in a tense, surprising, and darkly funny account of a resonant moment in women’s history. The film is slated for release in the United Kingdom in March, but we’re still waiting for news on the U.S. release.

4. ANTEBELLUM

Antebellum (2020 Movie) Official Teaser – Janelle Monáe

{ Lionsgate }
Release Date: April 24, 2020

The moment we saw this trailer, we couldn’t look away—but boy, did we want to. In Antebellum, Janelle Monáe stars as a modern-day writer who becomes trapped in the past and finds herself in a world where slavery is alive and well in the South. It’s a perfect mix of jarring and terrifying, and certainly won’t be a light watch. Fans of Get Out are likely to enjoy this one as well, and everyone, really, could benefit from a little more Monáe in our lives.

5. WONDER WOMAN 1984

Wonder Woman 1984 – Official Trailer

{ Warner Bros. Pictures }
Release Date: June 5, 2020

We get more of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in this much-anticipated summer tentpole, directed—as was the 2017 blockbuster—by Patty Jenkins. The sequel’s premise asks questions about truth, greatness, and whether we deserve everything we want; and it looks even more action-driven than the original. I personally am most invested in seeing Kristen Wiig dig into the role of villain Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva, otherwise known as Cheetah—and, of course, to return to the Amazon women’s home of Themyscira.

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6. THE WITCHES

{ Warner Bros. Pictures }
Release Date: October 9, 2020

As soon as I saw that the cast of The Witches includes Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer, I knew this was going to be a must-see. An adaptation of the 1983 children’s book by Roald Dahl (and a remake of the unsettlingly dark 1990 film), The Witches tells the story of a young boy who realizes his grandmother’s hotel has some unexpected guests. One notable shift from the previous 1990 film is that the boy won’t be white, as he is in the previous versions, but instead played by newcomer Jahzir Bruno. Spencer is slated to play his grandmother and Hathaway will portray the Grand Witch.

7. ETERNALS

{ Marvel Studios }
Release Date: November 6, 2020

This is going to be a big one. Yet another star-studded film from Marvel, Eternals follows the Earth’s original leaders, immortals who shaped the world we now inhabit and humanity as a whole. Angelina Jolie (Thena) joins Salma Hayek (Ajak) and Gemma Chan (Sersi) in this film directed by Chloé Zhao (2015’s Songs My Brothers Taught Me, 2017’s The Rider). We’re excited to see more of Chan, who we adored in Crazy Rich Asians; we can also anticipate some queer representation—Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told Collider there would be at least one openly queer character in Eternals.

There’s more…

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by Rachel Charlene Lewis
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Rachel Charlene Lewis is the Senior Editor at Bitch. She has written about culture, identity, and the internet for publications including i-D, Teen Vogue, Refinery29, Glamour, Autostraddle, Ravishly, SELF, StyleCaster, The Frisky (RIP), The Mary Sue, and elsewhere. Her literary work, reviews, and interviews have been published in Catapult, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Normal School, Publisher’s Weekly, The Offing, and in several other magazines. She is on Twitter and Instagram, always.