Undeniably one of the most influential directors of the romantic comedy genre, pioneering cinema Nancy Meyers has been creating Hollywood hits since 1980. The visionary has had a significant impact on the film industry, and her recognizable directing style and groundbreaking approach to the craft have garnered immense respect and praise. Meyers is a savvy director, screenwriter and producer, and she has written and/or produced a series of classic films like Private Benjamin, Baby Boom and The father of the bride. Her feature film debut was in the beloved 1998 romantic comedy The parent trap in which Meyers provided Lindsay Lohan with her breakthrough role as a pair of twins. Since then, the powerful creator has gone on to craft some of cinema’s most beautiful and memorable images.
Meyers has worked with deeply admired and accomplished artists, such as Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton in Something must give, Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet in Vacations, and Meryl Streep for It is complicated. She has received numerous awards and nominations, including the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay as well as Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. These are Nancy Meyers’ best films as a writer and director.
8 Baby boom
1987 romantic comedy Baby boom stars Diane Keaton as a Manhattan yuppie whose personal and professional life is turned upside down when she discovers that a long-lost cousin has died and left behind her fourteen-month-old baby daughter. The film was written by Nancy Meyers with her then-husband Charles Shyer, who also served as a director; the creative duo would collaborate on several projects during their marriage. Of the image, Meyers explained that, “Our film is about someone who never planned to be a mother. The comedy comes from JC’s ineptitude in coping with this surprise. Ten years ago, Baby boom probably would have played a man, because until recently, with the great female drive for careerism and success, would it be believable that a woman could be so unprepared for motherhood. The romantic comedy received critical acclaim and earned two Golden Globe nominations. It also spawned a short-lived television series of the same name.
seven It is complicated
The 2009 romantic comedy It is complicated was written and directed by Meyers, and follows a single mother and bakery owner who begins a secret affair with her ex-husband, ten years after their divorce; it also finds itself drawn to its architect. The incredibly talented Merly Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin star in the film, with Streep playing Jane Adler as she tries to juggle the two men in her life. It is complicated was met with a mixed response but was a hit with audiences, becoming the director’s third highest-grossing project to date. the boston globe praised comedy and Meyers, calling it “the most emotionally sophisticated of all Meyers’ fantasies.” For their charming and engaging portrayals as cozy exes, Streep and Baldwin earned Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations, as did Meyers, including the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay.
6 What women Want
Mel Gibson plays chauvinistic advertising executive Nick Marshall, who magically gains the ability to hear what women are thinking in the 2000 romantic fantasy comedy What women Want. Helen Hunt, Marisa Tomei and Alan Alda join the veteran actor for the pic, which follows Nick as he uses his new “gift” to outsmart his new boss Darcy Maguire (Hunt), who he eventually falls for. Gibson was dedicated to being authentic in his portrayal and actually waxed his legs while filming the bathroom scene; it didn’t hurt him as much as his character and he teased all the women on set saying, “Come on, that doesn’t hurt at all!” Upon its release, the comedy became the most successful film ever directed by a woman, grossing over $370 million at the box office. What women Want was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film and helped further establish Meyers as a top director and writer who can engage audiences.
The 2006 romantic comedy Vacations is a beloved Christmas movie that features an impressive cast including the charming Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black; Meyers wrote the film with these actors specifically in mind for the characters. The warm and fuzzy comedy follows Amanda and Iris, two women in love who decide to arrange a house swap over the holiday season in order to escape their respective heartaches. None of the leading ladies expected to find romance during their getaway, but Amanda (Diaz) falls in love with Iris (Winslet’s) charismatic brother, Graham (Law), and Winslet ends up being attracted to film composer Miles. (Black). The heartwarming and incredibly charming film has garnered praise for the performances of its endearing protagonists, as well as its visual aesthetic design. NOW Toronto applauded Vacations, writing, “Nancy Meyers pays homage to classic comedy… the actors do it, selling their characters celibacy, nailing their occasional sight gags and earning our laughs and tears, which often occur in the same scene.”
4 Private Benjamin
In the 1980 comedy film Private Benjamin, the adorable Goldie Hawn plays a Jewish-American protegee princess who decides to join the Women’s Army Corps after her husband dies on their wedding night. She finds herself at odds with the tough Captain Lewis (Eileen Brennan) and embarks on an intense journey of self-discovery and personal growth. The actress and Nancy Meyers both produced the pic and suffered intense backlash due to film studios fearing that a female lead without a male co-star would be box office poison. According to Myers, “All Hollywood studios read it and passed it on… A studio called Goldie said ‘if you make this movie, it’s career ending.’ Despite popular beliefs at the time, Private Benjamin was one of the biggest box office draws of the year, earning nearly $70 million. The film was even nominated for three Oscars, including Best Actress for Hawn and Best Screenplay for Meyers.
3 something must give
For Nancy Meyers’ 2003 romantic comedy, the acclaimed director enlisted the talents of some of cinema’s best, including Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Frances McDormand and Keanu Reeves. It tells the story of an aging womanizer with a taste for young women who ends up falling in love with his 29-year-old girlfriend’s mother when the couple are worlds apart. The refreshing romantic comedy was once again a risky bet for the director, with film distributors concerned that Nicholson and Keaton were too old to be bankable in a romantic film. However, Meyers and the insanely gifted leads proved the naysayers wrong, as something must give was a box office hit with critics and audiences alike, with Keaton winning a Golden Globe for his performance. Newsweek praised the photo, writing, “The film, which ricochets between farce and poignancy, throws up just enough romantic pixie dust to leave you smiling. It’s certainly not the last word on the subject, but it’s a kind start.
2 The father of the bride
A remake of the 1950 film of the same name, the beloved 1991 comedy The father of the bride follows George Banks, a businessman and sneaker company owner who finds his world turned upside down when his daughter reveals she is getting married. Legendary comedian Steve Martin stars as Banks, who is hesitant to give away his daughter, and also features the dazzling Diane Keaton, Kimberly Williams and Martin Short. The tender and heartwarming comedy resonated with audiences everywhere, becoming Meyers’ biggest box office hit to date. Martin has won critical acclaim for his portrayal of the overprotective George, with acclaimed critic Roger Ebert commenting, “It’s a film with heart, and there are little moments where Martin is deeply moved by the fact that this perfect creature he brought into the world will now be having a family of his own.” The success of the picture led to the 1995 sequel, Father of the Bride II.
1 The parent trap
In her film debut, Lindsay Lohan did double duty when she starred as identical twins Hallie Parker and Annie James in the 1998 romantic comedy The parent trap. A remake of the 1961 classic, the film was directed and co-written by Nancy Meyers and features a dynamite cast that includes Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson as the tricked-out parents of the devious twins. The casting of Lohan as the sisters forced Meyers to take the shot in motion control, a requirement that she found quite complicated. “I really didn’t know how to do it. We had a prep day to go over the process, and by the end of the day, I had a little more understanding. But I approached the film as if it were not an effects film; I just tried to make it authentic. More than 1,500 young actresses submitted audition tapes for the dual role, like Scarlett Johansson and Mara Wilson, but Meyers was looking for a “little Diane Keaton” to play the roles and was blown away by Lohan. The romantic comedy was a slam dunk with audiences and critics alike, with Lohan earning positive praise for her breakthrough role. Time Out proclaimed“The light comedy is gently timed, the direction clever and assured, and the visuals bright, colorful, understated and flawless.”
Sometimes the best and most authentic way to tell a story about a woman’s romance is to do it through the lens of a woman’s direction.
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