As we slip into springtime in the Northern Hemisphere, we witness the world around us transforming. It’s a time of metamorphosis, and April’s film slate is full of titles engaging with this theme. Films across a variety of genres depict transitional periods in their protagonists’ lives. We have a slew of coming-of-age titles to look forward to, centering on everyone from a supernatural, shape-shifting witch to an international pop sensation.
Set for release on April 1, “You Won’t Be Alone” sees a young girl transformed into a feral witch who experiences, for the first time, the beauty and mystery of the natural world. (Much like we do with each additional hour of sunlight!) In “Aline” (April 8), we follow a woman whose voice captures the hearts of audiences around the world and the man who does everything he can to make her a star. Inspired by the life of Celine Dion, the Cannes sensation spans decades in the life of a Canadian singer portrayed by the film’s writer and director, Valérie Lemercier.
For those looking for a slice-of-life style coming-of-age story, Jessica Hester and Derek Schweickart’s “Coast” (April 8) tells the story of a 16-year-old girl desperate to escape family drama. She finds a much-needed escape in music and her girlfriends, and begins to see the world through new eyes when she meets the singer of a band whose van breaks down in her town.
A rebellious teenager finds solace and comfort in sleight of hand magic in Kate Tsang’s “Marvelous and the Black Hole” (April 22). If magical realism is more your speed, “Petite Maman,” Céline Sciamma’s follow-up to “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” is being released on the same day. The whimsical meditation on grief, friendship, and love sees a girl traveling back in time and befriending her mother as a child.
For those seeking a darker, sinister story about family, Hanna Bergholm’s “Hatching” (April 29) takes creature feature to a whole new level while exploring the ways in which parental pressure can be toxic. Another eerie take on a coming-of-age story can be found in “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair” (April 15), Jane Schoenbrun’s surreal exploration of a teenage girl’s online habits and drive to be accepted and seen. As she takes on challengers in an online game, the lines between her virtual life and lived reality shift and blur until danger surrounds her on all fronts.
Here are the women-centric, women-directed, and women-written films debuting in April. All descriptions are from press materials unless otherwise noted.
“You Won’t Be Alone” (In Theaters)
In an isolated mountain village in 19th-century Macedonia, a young girl is taken from her mother and transformed into a witch by an ancient, shape-shifting spirit. Left to wander feral, the young witch beholds the natural world with curiosity and wonder. After inadvertently killing a villager and assuming her body, she continues to inhabit different people, living among the villagers for years, observing and mimicking their behavior until the ancient spirit returns, bringing them full circle.
“The Rose Maker” – Written by Fadette Drouard and Pierre Pinaud (In Theaters)
Artisanal horticulturalist Eve Vernet (Catherine Frot) honors her father’s legacy by continuing the family business, breeding and growing unique roses that compete in showcases all over France. But Eve’s approach struggles to compete with the mass market production from her corporate rivals. With the business facing imminent bankruptcy or liquidation, Eve’s trusted secretary, Vera (Olivia Côte), makes a last-ditch effort to turn things around by hiring three new employees from a prison rehabilitation program behind Eve’s back. Fred (Manel Foulgoc), Samir (Fatsah Bouyahmed), and Nadège (Marie Petiot) are misunderstood outcasts with fresh ideas, strong work ethics, and absolutely no gardening skills. In a desperate attempt to save the business, the new team comes up with a perilous plan, and Eve unexpectedly discovers new parts of life that are worth nurturing.
“Gagarine” – Directed by Fanny Liatard and Jérémy Trouilh; Written by Fanny Liatard, Jérémy Trouilh, and Benjamin Charbit (In Theaters)
Youri, 16 (Alseni Bathily), has lived all his life in Gagarine Cité, a vast red brick housing project on the outskirts of Paris. From the heights of his apartment, he dreams of becoming an astronaut. But when plans to demolish his community’s home are leaked, Youri joins the resistance. With his friends Diana (Lyna Khoudri) and Houssam (Jamil McCraven), he embarks on a mission to save Gagarine, transforming the estate into his own “starship” – before it disappears into space forever.
“The Bubble” – Written by Pam Brady and Judd Apatow (Available on Netflix)
Sneaking out. Hooking up. Melting down. The cast and crew of a blockbuster action franchise attempt to shoot a sequel while quarantining at a posh hotel.
“Battle: Freestyle” – Directed by Ingvild Søderlind; Written by Martina Cecilia (Available on Netflix)
Amalie (Lisa Teige) is elated when her dance crew is selected to compete in Paris, but becomes distracted when she reunites with her estranged mother.
“Captain Nova” – Written by Lotte Tabbers and Maurice Trouwborst (Available on Netflix)
A fighter pilot from a desolate future unexpectedly transforms into her younger self while traveling back in time on a mission to avert global disaster.
“Forever Out of My League” – Written by Michela Straniero and Roberto Proia (Available on Netflix)
Life hangs in the balance after Marta’s (Ludovica Francesconi) operation, with true love just within reach. But can the heart prevail against old secrets – and fickle fate?
“Madelines” – Written by Brea Grant and Jason Richard Miller (In Theaters and Available on VOD)
Madeline (Brea Grant) and Owen (Parry Shen) have invented time travel, but after discovering a mistake in the code that causes a copy of Madeline to appear every day, they must kill each new Madeline to prevent the universe from collapsing in on itself as well as their already strained marriage.
“Lioness: The Nicola Adams Story” (Documentary) – Directed by Helena Coan (Available on VOD)
At London 2012, Nicola Adams OBE became the first woman ever to win an Olympic Gold medal for boxing. In Rio 2016, with the nation cheering her on, she did it all over again. A Black, gay, working class girl from a council estate fighting in a sport which didn’t accept women — how did Nicola overcome the odds stacked against her and make history?
“Meat the Future” (Documentary) – Written and Directed by Liz Marshall (Available on VOD)
A character driven, deep dive into the game changing world of “cultivated” meat, “Meat the Future” follows a visionary CEO, Dr. Uma Valeti, as he risks everything to make his dream a reality for us all. Imagine a world where real meat is produced sustainably without the need to breed, raise, and slaughter animals. This is no longer science fiction, it’s now within reach. Hailed as one of the biggest ideas of the last century, cultivated meat is a food innovation that grows real meat from animal cells. Mayo Clinic-trained cardiologist Dr. Valeti is the co-founder and CEO of Upside Foods, the leading start-up of the cultivated meat revolution. From the world’s first meatball which cost $18,000 per pound to the first chicken filet and duck a l’orange for half the cost, the film follows Valeti and his team over five years as the cost of production plummets, and consumers’ eye the imminent birth of this timely industry.
“La Mami” (Documentary) – Directed by Laura Herrero Garvín (In Theaters)
This observational exploration of female solidarity takes audiences inside the ladies’ bathroom-turned-cloakroom of a legendary Mexico City nightclub, the Cabaret Barba Azul. Inside the fluorescently-lit upstairs refuge we meet Doña Olga, known as La Mami to the dancers and hostesses of the downstairs discotheque, who keeps watch over the dressing room while remaining a tough-loving confidante and vigilant protector of the girls themselves. Shot completely from the female perspective, “La Mami” is both a heartfelt and intimate portrait of Doña Olga and the girls from Cabaret Barba Azul and a perceptive study of labor and collective fatigue, tacitly pointing to the myriad sacrifices that mothers and caregivers choose to make on the daily.
“Return to Space” (Documentary) – Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (Available on Netflix)
Offering rare access inside the first crewed mission launched from U.S. soil since the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011, this is an intimate portrait of the engineers and astronauts chosen for the historic moment. Following NASA veterans Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley, and their families in the leadup to launch, “Return to Space” brings viewers along for their thrilling ride to the International Space Station, and into mission control with Elon Musk and the SpaceX team as they bring them back to Earth for a dramatic splashdown return.
“Laura Pausini: Pleased to Meet You” (Documentary) – Written by Monica Rametta and Ivan Cotroneo (Available on Prime Video)
Through never-seen-before footage and scenes of real and fictional life, Laura Pausini shows us her essence, giving an honest and bold analysis of her life and of how it could’ve been without the victory that, in 1993, changed her destiny forever.
“Aline” – Directed by Valérie Lemercier; Written by Valérie Lemercier and Brigitte Buc (In Theaters)
For Aline Dieu (Valérie Lemercier), nothing in the world matters more than music, family, and love. Her powerful and emotional voice captivates everyone who hears it, including successful manager Guy-Claude Kamar (Sylvain Marcel), who resolves to do everything in his power to make her a star. As Aline climbs from local phenomenon to bestselling recording artist to international superstar, she embarks on the two great romances of her life: one with the decades-older Guy-Claude and the other with her adoring audiences. Two-time César Award winner Lemercier plays Aline from ages five to 50 in a fictional musical dramedy freely inspired by the life of Celine Dion.
“Cow” (Documentary) – Directed by Andrea Arnold (In Theaters and Available on VOD)
Six years in the making, Andrea Arnold’s fifth feature turns its lens towards a dairy cow named Luma residing on an English cattle farm. As she follows Luma through birthing, milking, mating, and all the circumstances that make up the life cycle of this working animal, we see both the beauty and the challenges of her life. Centering on Luma’s perspective and rarely opening to language, Arnold lets her powerful images speak for themselves — and to us — opening the door to empathy. It’s a visceral and profound journey that asks us to acknowledge her great services and to contemplate our own relationship to the natural world.
“As They Made Us” – Written and Directed by Mayim Bialik (In Theaters and Available on VOD)
“As They Made Us” follows Abigail (Dianna Agron), a divorced mother of two, who is struggling to find sanity in her dysfunctional family as she attempts to cultivate new love. Her father, Eugene (Dustin Hoffman), has a degenerative condition that he and his wife, Barbara (Candice Bergen), refuse to accept. Her brother Nathan (Simon Helberg) has been estranged from the family for decades. A self-appointed fixer, Abigail attempts to mend her complicated family before it’s too late.
“Coast” – Directed by Jessica Hester and Derek Schweickart; Written by Cindy Kitagawa (In Theaters and Available on VOD)
For 16-year-old Abby (Fatima Ptacek), home is the last place she wants to be. Abby struggles to express herself in the midst of the breakdown of her family and seeks refuge in music and her diverse group of girlfriends. Just as Abby begins to act out and take bigger risks, she meets Dave (Kane Ritchotte), the lead singer of Piñata Jones, whose van breaks down in town. Dave recognizes the artist in Abby and opens her up to a world of possibility. When Abby arrives at a crossroads and considers leaving everything she has known behind, her perspective on her world is expanded as she learns lessons about friendship, love, change, and what it means to appreciate home and family.
“Women of the White Buffalo ” (Documentary) – Written and Directed by Deborah Anderson (Available on VOD)
An ancient, Native, matriarchal society has been upended by centuries of genocide and colonialism. This has resulted in culturally sabotaged and isolated communities that are in a constant struggle to save what remains of their sacred identity. The Lakota women living on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian Reservations in South Dakota are rising up against the forces that continue to suppress them. By preserving and protecting their ancestral values and wisdom, they provide a source of hope to their people. With exclusive access to the lives of nine women, ranging in age from 10 to 98, we explore powerful testimonials of loss and survival as we gain insight into the experience of a modern day Indigenous American living on an Indian Reservation. Gripping historical accounts and startling timely statistics guide viewers down the path that has led to these present day conditions.
“We’re All Going to the World’s Fair” – Written and Directed by Jane Schoenbrun (In Theaters; Available on VOD April 22)
Late on a cold night somewhere in the U.S., teenage Casey (Anna Cobb) sits alone in her attic bedroom, scrolling the internet under the glow-in-the-dark stars and black-light posters that blanket the ceiling. She has finally decided to take the World’s Fair Challenge, an online role-playing horror game, and embrace the uncertainty it promises. After the initiation, she documents the changes that may or may not be happening to her, adding her experiences to the shuffle of online clips available for the world to see. As she begins to lose herself between dream and reality, a mysterious figure reaches out, claiming to see something special in her uploads.
“Dual” (In Theaters)
Upon receiving a terminal diagnosis, Sarah (Karen Gillan) opts for a cloning procedure to ease her loss on her friends and family. When she makes a sudden and miraculous recovery, her attempts to have her clone decommissioned fail and lead to a court-mandated duel to the death. Now she has one year to train her body and mind for the fight of her life.
“Good Life” – Written and Directed by Bonnie Rodini (In Theaters and Available on VOD)
When Olive (Erica Wessels), 35, discovers her boyfriend cheating, she decides to escape to her family’s home in Greece to mend her broken heart. There she is met with hostility from the local villagers who band together to make her life unbearable. That’s when Olive meets Jet (Caleb Payne), a nine-year-old boy who comes to her rescue. He becomes her guide, negotiator, and friend, teaching Olive how to live the “Good Life.”
“Petite Maman” – Written and Directed by Céline Sciamma (In Theaters)
Following the death of her beloved grandmother, eight-year-old Nelly (Joséphine Sanz) accompanies her parents to her mother’s childhood home to begin the difficult process of cleaning out its contents. As Nelly explores the house and nearby woods, she is immediately drawn to a neighbor her own age building a treehouse. What follows is a tender tale of childhood grief, memory, and connection.
“Marvelous and the Black Hole” – Written and Directed by Kate Tsang (In Theaters)
A teenage delinquent (Miya Cech) befriends a surly magician (Rhea Perlman) who helps her navigate her inner demons and dysfunctional family with sleight of hand magic. A coming-of-age comedy that touches on unlikely friendships, grief, and finding hope in the darkest moments.
“9 Bullets” – Written and Directed by Gigi Gaston (In Theaters and Available on VOD)
A former burlesque dancer turned author (Lena Headey) discovers a second chance at life and redemption when she risks everything to rescue her young neighbor after he witnesses his parents’ murder. Now on the run from the local crime boss (Sam Worthington), who happens to be her longtime ex, she makes a desperate attempt to get the boy to safety.
“Along for the Ride – Written and Directed by Sofia Alvarez (Available on Netflix)
It’s Auden’s (Emma Pasarow) last summer before college and she’s spending it in picturesque Colby Beach. While other teens party in the sun, loner Auden spends her time roaming the streets after everyone else is asleep. Everything changes when she meets Eli (Belmont Cameli), a charming and mysterious fellow insomniac. On their nightly adventures, Eli challenges Auden to a quest to live out all her childhood dreams. Their connection pushes them to confront why they’ve been content living life in the shadows as they begin to show each other how to live life to the fullest.
“The Revolution Generation” (Documentary) – Directed by Rebecca Tickell and Josh Tickell (In Theaters)
This film shows how young people can deploy their strengths to revolutionize the system as they confront both the U.S. political crisis and the global environmental crisis.
“Charlotte” (In Theaters)
“Charlotte” is an animated drama that tells the true story of Charlotte Salomon (Keira Knightley), a young German-Jewish painter who comes of age in Berlin on the eve of the Second World War. Fiercely imaginative and deeply gifted, she dreams of becoming an artist. Her first love applauds her talent, which emboldens her resolve. But the world around her is changing quickly and dangerously, limiting her options and derailing her dream. When anti-Semitic policies inspire violent mobs, she leaves Berlin for the safety of the South of France. There she begins to paint again, and finds new love. But her work is interrupted, this time by a family tragedy that reveals an even darker secret. Believing that only the extraordinary will save her, she embarks on the monumental adventure of painting her life story.
“The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes” (Documentary) – Directed by Emma Cooper (Available on Netflix)
Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe’s tragic death spawned conspiracies and rumors for decades, often overshadowing her talent and shrewdness. By piecing together her final weeks, days, and hours through previously unheard recordings of those who knew her best, this feature illuminates more of her glamorous, complicated life, and offers a new perspective on that fateful night.
“Hatching” – Directed by Hanna Bergholm (In Theaters and Available on VOD)
Twelve-year-old gymnast Tinja (Siiri Solalinna) is desperate to please her image-obsessed mother, whose popular blog Lovely Everyday Life presents their family’s idyllic existence as manicured suburban perfection. One day, after finding a wounded bird in the woods, Tinja brings its strange egg home, nestles it in her bed, and nurtures it until it hatches. The creature that emerges becomes her closest friend and a living nightmare, plunging Tinja beneath the impeccable veneer into a twisted reality that her mother refuses to see.
“The Aviary” – Written and Directed by Jennifer Raite and Chris Cullari (In Theaters and Available on VOD)
Lured in by the promise of “freedom” in the isolated desert campus called The Aviary, Jillian (Malin Akerman) and Blair (Lorenza Izzo) join forces to escape in hopes of real freedom. Consumed by fear and paranoia, they can’t shake the feeling that they are being followed by the cult’s leader, Seth (Chris Messina), a man as seductive as he is controlling. The more distance the pair gains from the cult, the more Seth holds control of their minds. With supplies dwindling and their senses failing, Jillian and Blair are faced with a horrifying question: how do you run from an enemy who lives inside your head?
“I Love America” – Directed by Lisa Azuelos; Written by Lisa Azuelos and Gaël Fierro (Available on Prime Video)
“I Love America” follows Lisa (Sophie Marceau), a single woman who decides to take a chance on love again by catapulting her life from Paris to Los Angeles. Her children flew the coop and her famous, yet absent, mother just passed, so Lisa needs a big change. She reunites with her best friend Luka (Djanis Bouzyani), who found success in America with his iconic drag queen bar but is struggling to find his own prince charming. Luka embarks on a mission to give Lisa a fresh start by creating a profile for her on a dating website. From awkward dates to a surprise encounter with John (Colin Woodell), Lisa will understand that the journey to love is a journey towards herself and forgiveness of her first love: her mother.
“Anaïs in Love” – Written and Directed by Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet (In Theaters; Available on VOD May 6)
“Anaïs in Love” follows Anaïs (Anaïs Demoustier), a 30-year old woman that is broke and has a lover she doesn’t think she loves anymore. She meets Daniel (Denis Podalydès), who immediately falls for her. But Daniel lives with Emilie (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) — whom Anaïs also falls for.