The upcoming weekend will see the release of Money Monster, a thriller which might catch your attention because of the full-blown George Clooney head-shot on its poster. The movie also marks actress Jodie Foster’s fourth movie as a director. In a period when the presence of more women behind the cameras is what many of us are wooing for, Money Monster holds a greater significance. Nonetheless, the movie will be judged on its quality, which we will learn within a few days. Jodie Foster’s reputation as a director ain’t as impressive as that she holds as an actress, though some would say she has improved. Her track record though is very limited to make any sort of definitive remarks, with only four films now directed over a 25-year period. But if you want to go hunting for the other three Jodie Foster-directed movies, then keep your eyes open for the following titles.
Little Man Tate (1991)
Jodie Foster made her debut as a director with the drama flick Little Man Tate, where she had a leading role as well. Foster played the role of a single mother of a genius son and the film focused on the efforts she made to give him a normal childhood while feeding his intellectual curiosity. It was an interesting plot that got Jodie Foster off on a solid footing as the movie generally received positive reviews. It holds a 76% score on Rottentomatoes as of now. The movie though did modest business at the box-office earning close to $25 million as against its production budget of $10 million. It was not an outright success but Little Man Tate played its part in displaying the variety of roles which Foster could work in and even excel at.
Home for the Holidays (1995)
Jodie Foster’s next movie as a director came after a four-year gap and with a change in genre. Home for the Holidays was a PG-13 comedy film, though again with a female lead, this time played by Holly Hunter while Jodie Foster herself did not appear in front of the cameras. Holly Hunter’s character was a single mom who had just lost her job, was finding it hard to connect with her daughter, and had to spend her Thanksgiving holiday with her family where there was no love lost. The film turned out to be one of those that are bearable to watch but you tend to forget them once the end credits roll over. The reviews were mixed, but more importantly the box-office performance was quite poor. The movie earned less than even its production budget of $20 million which made it a flop. Well, Jodie Foster tried!
The Beaver (2011)
Jodie Foster seemed to have pretty much washed her hands from directing films until 2011 pleasantly brought her back behind the cameras. Returning to the drama genre, Jodie Foster directed and starred in The Beaver but this time the lead role was a male, played by Foster’s good friend Mel Gibson. Foster starred as his wife in the movie where Mel Gibson’s character is going through a tough phase and adopts a beaver hand-puppet as his sole means of communicating. The movie is different than the usual mainstream cinema which we get to see, and with strong performances from such accomplished actors as Gibson and Foster, its strange premise also becomes acceptable. The Beaver also demonstrates the kind of places that Jodie Foster is willing to go to as a director which might not be convenient for everyone. The movie though got mixed reviews from the critics and never opened wide in North America. As against its production budget of $21 million, it earned only $6.4 million worldwide, of which less than a million dollars came from North America.
Since The Beaver, Jodie Foster has directed one episode of House of Cards and two episodes of Orange is the New Black, both hit shows. It’s however great to see Jodie Foster return as a director to cinema, this time exploring a totally new genre. While her movies haven’t particularly done well commercially, I am hoping that will change with Money Monster. Let’s hope for the best!