She has only two solo directorial efforts to her credit, but Greta Gerwig has quickly become one of the most respected filmmakers working today. Her 2017 adult drama ‘Lady Bird’ was a teen classic upon release, and her 2019 adaptation of ‘Little Women’ received similar rave reviews, becoming the definitive film version of the classic book. In July, after an agonizing three-year wait and a starring role in “White Noise,” Gerwig will return to theaters as a director with the most anticipated film of the year on Twitter. “Barbie” is a colorful studio comedy based on Mattel’s classic dolls, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as the titular Barbie and her heartthrob Ken. (It’s just Ken!)
Gerwig is perhaps not the obvious director to choose to bring Barbie’s thematically thorny universe to cinemas; Prior to “Lady Bird,” Gerwig was best known as an actress in small independent films, her first time in the director’s chair was in 2008 as co-director of “Nights and Weekends” with Joe Swanberg. She gained more mainstream fame when she began collaborating with her partner Noah Baumbach on films like ‘Greenberg,’ ‘Mistress America,’ and ‘Frances Ha,’ the latter of which earned Gerwig her first nod. at the Golden Globes. But those indie nobles still seem a world away from the promises of the studio comedy “Barbie,” which makes Gerwig and Baumbach’s co-writing credits on the film at least intriguing.
That said, if you look at the films that Gerwig has publicly called her influences and favorites, this specific pairing of director and film starts to make more sense. Gerwig has a broad taste in her favorite movies and the works that have influenced her range from old Hollywood classics to wildly popular teen romances.
Its roster of films includes the current film No. 1 of all time by Sight & Sound, “Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Brussels” by Chantal Akerman and recognized classics such as the moving British love story “Brief Encounter” and the technicolor musical “Singin’ in the Rain .” But she’s also not afraid to shout out an ’80s nostalgic classic like John Hughes’ “Pretty in Pink,” which helped inspire parts of “Lady Bird.”
Here are 12 movies Gerwig has cited over the years as some of her favorites, listed in no particular order.
With editorial contributions from Alison Foreman.
(Editor’s note: This article was first published in April 2023 and has been updated ever since.