Alibi V.28 No.43 • Oct 24-30, 2019 

Cannabis Manual

A Necessarily Brief Guide to Lady Stoner Cinema

As a proud female stoner, the dearth of stoner flicks helmed by women and featuring female lead characters proves—in genre parlance—a major bummer. Looking back over our collective filmic past, there are, of course, female characters who toke.

Take Annie Hall, a main character in Woody Allen’s 1977 rom-com of the same name, for example. Her fondness for smoking joints before sex unnerves the film’s protagonist. Alvy grouses about it to Annie, who explains that smoking pot relaxes her. Alvy snipes back about injecting her with sodium pentothal instead.

With exceptions made for the TV series “Broad City” and “Mary + Jane,” it’s a challenge to find onscreen depictions of strong female characters who also get blazed. So we’ve done some digging for you. Read on for synopses of the best in lady stoner-cinema. P.S. If this article finds an audience with any filmmakers, please delight us by capturing more diverse female potheads on proverbial celluloid.

Smiley Face (2007)

Smiley Face

New Queer Cinema wunderkind Gregg Araki successfully translated the sophomoric humor and genre conventions of traditional stoner flicks to a strong—if woefully overmedicated—female lead character. A seemingly uneventful day in the life of Jane F (Anna Faris), a semi-motivated actress-slash-stoner, ratchets up to an 11 on the stress scale when Jane accidentally consumes an entire plateful of her roommate’s heavily medicated cannabis cupcakes. An immaculately stoned Jane makes an Odyssean list of chores to accomplish that day and a bevy of hilarious stoner hijinks ensue.

Dude (2018)

Dude

Screenwriter and director Olivia Milch made her Netflix-funded feature debut with 2018’s Dude. This female coming of age tale—starring Lucy Hale, Kathryn Prescott, Alexandra Shipp and Awkwafina—opens on the ladies hot-boxing a car while soundtracked by Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode,” outside a house party. While Milch’s burgeoning, meteoric filmmaking career must have benefited from familial star power—dad is David Milch, of “NYPD Blue” and “Deadwood” renown—her creation of a film populated by self-realized sexual beings who can quip harder and smoke more than the boys is both notable and commendable.

Low Low (2019)

Low Low

Director Nick Richey’s 2019 drama Low Low also depicts four teenage girls coming of age and getting very stoned. But, while Dude captured the friendships and drug use of well-heeled girls from suburbia, Low Low’s urban and high school settings read more “housing project” than “90210.” Low Low’s individual female friendships are examined even more thoughtfully than those in Dude and realistically gritty depictions of endemic poverty and related violence elevate its narrative. While the gals of Dude are struggling over choosing between colleges like NYU and Columbia, Low Low’s Ryan (Ali Richey) and company are facing futures that include minimum wage jobs or, more optimistically, subsisting on state assistance supplemented by low-level illegal activity.

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