Nell Minow

Nell Minow reviews theatrical releases and DVDs every week on radio stations across the country and writes about movies and culture for outlets including,, (the Motion Picture Association of America site), and the Huffington Post. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments.


Articles by Nell Minow


Kimberly Reed on DARK MONEY — Nell Minow Interviews

kimberly reed 1We know “dark money” is distorting democracy but it is very hard to understand how and why, and how much damage it does. The very nature of dark money in political campaigns is secrecy. In the post-Citizens United world of unlimited, undisclosed political contributions by ultra-rich individuals and corporations, forces we cannot see now control even the most small-time local elections. Kimberly Reed (Prodigal Sons) shows us how the story of her home state of Montana in Dark Money, a powerful and profoundly disturbing story of tireless, courageous heroes and greedy villains who destroy without dark money poster ever being seen. She uses stunning images of the Montana landscape and Norman Rockwell-esque scenes in modest government buildings, newspaper offices, and courtrooms to show us how our most precious American institutions are being affected. In an interview, she talked about the challenges of making a very abstract, sometimes arcane story real on screen. Continue reading…

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Julie Cohen and Betsy West Talk RBG — Interview by Nell Minow

Julie Cohen and Betsy West

Julie Cohen and Betsy West

Shakespeare could have been writing about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when he said, “Though she be but little, she is fierce!” When she was a law professor in the 1970’s, Justice Ginsburg helped design the strategy and argued the Supreme Court cases that were as critical to defining the rights of women under the Constitution as the Brown v. Board of Education case was for defining the rights of racial minorities. She was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton and now, at age 85, the tiny, opera-loving Supreme Court Justice who proudly wears a lacy collar when she dissents from the majority decision has become an unexpected popular icon, lovingly mocked by Kate McKinnon on “Saturday Night Live” and nicknamed “Notorious RBG.” A new documentary called “RBG,” directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen, is AWFJ’s Movie of the Week (#MOTW). In an interview, Cohen and West spoke about the film’s production and the impact of RBG — both the person and the documentary. Continue reading…

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Filmmaker Susan Walter on Preparation, Friendship and ALL I WISH — Nell Minow interviews

susan walterSusan Walter wrote and directed All I Wish, a romantic comedy that takes place on the same day each year, the birthday of Senna (Sharon Stone). Over seven years, we see the ups and downs of Senna’s relationship with her mother (Ellen Burstyn) and sometime boyfriend (Tony Goldwyn) and her sustaining friendships. After graduating from Harvard, she learning filmmaking from the ground up in the DGA Assistant Directors Training Program. She’s worked on television (Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Melrose Place, Cheers, Caroline in the City) and movies (House Arrest, Alien: Resurrection). All I Wish is her first feature. Here, she talks changing her script to give the lead role to the actress she’d originally wanted to play the mother, and about what she learned as a talent producer who walked actors to and from set for seven years. Continue reading…

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motw logo 1-35Chile’s Oscar-nominated “A Fantastic Woman” is a modern twist on the kind of Douglas Sirk or Joan Crawford movies of the 1950’s about women in torment. Those were stories of women forced to suffer indignities but who never lost their own dignity and glamour. In the mid-century, “the problem that has no name” described by Betty Friedan had not yet led to the women’s movement, and women in film and in real life often felt invisible, as though all women cared about was keeping the house clean and the children happy. In this film, our heroine is a trans woman named Marina, played by a trans actress, Daniela Vega. The story is about her struggle to be seen for who she is and for all that she is. Continue reading…

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Susan Glatzer on ALIVE AND KICKING and Community– Nell Minow interviews

susan glatzer 1 croppedThe director of the new swing dance documentary Alive and Kicking knows her subject from the inside out. Susan Glatzer is a swing dancer herself and “part of the dance world,” which she vividly depicts in the film as an exceptionally joyous, generous, and connected community. And so she did not want to make the film about just her own story. Continue reading…

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Zoe Lister-Jones on BAND AID and Her All Female Crew — Nell Minow interviews

“Band Aid” is a quirky indie with a charming premise, endearing performances, and surprising emotional power. Zoe Lister-Jones is the film’s writer, director, producer, lyricist, and star in the story of an estranged married couple who begin to reconnect by turning their arguments into rock songs. She even used some of her own clothes as wardrobe. Lister-Jones talks about being inspired by her artist parents and why it was important to her to have an all-female crew. Continue reading…

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Gabriela Cowperthwaite on MEGAN LEAVEY — Nell Minow interviews

gabriela cowperthwaiteGabriela Cowperthwaite’s documentary “Blackfish” showed us that the orcas performing tricks at SeaWorld were in severe distress. Her first narrative feature film, “Megan Leavey,” is another story about the complicated but profound workplace relationship between a human and an animal, based on the true story of a Marine Corporal and a specially trained, very fierce dog named Rex. Continue reading…

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Geeta and Ravi Patel on Making MEET THE PATELS – Nell Minow interviews

meet the patels posterGeeta, a documentary filmmaker, was trying out a new camera on a family trip to India, just after her brother, Ravi, an actor (Scrubs) broke up with his non-Indian girlfriend, in part because he was worried he would not be able to make a life with someone who was not of his culture. When he agreed to try out the Patel’s traditional Indian matchmaking system — involving speed-dating at a huge Gujarati gathering like a combination convention and mixer — Geeta and Ravi decided to keep filming and see what developed. Read Nell Minow’s interview with Geeta and Ravi Patel.

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John Turturro Talks FADING GIGOLO – Nell Minow Interviews


Turturro wrote, directed, and stars in Fading Gigolo, the story of a gentle florist named Fioravante who works part-time in a rare book store that is closing down. The owner, played by Woody Allen, tells Fioravante he can sell his services as a sexual partner. Soon Fioravante is being paid to have sex with a beautiful doctor (Sharon Stone) and other highly desirable ladies. But his most intriguing customer is a young widow from the ultra-Orthodox Satmar community, played by Vanessa Paradis. I spoke to Turturro about his music choices, his inspirations and influences, and the advice he got from Woody Allen. Read more>>

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AWFJ Women On Film – “The Smurfs” – Review by Nell Minow

“The Smurfs” combines an enchanted world of magical, animated characters with live-action New York City and manages to get the worst of both worlds. Read more>>

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AWFJ Women On Film – Corporate Villians in The Movies – Nell Minow comments

You may best remember evil characters like Hannibal Lechter, Darth Vader or Cruella de Vil, but the corrupt and greedy corporation is frequently seen as the all powerful — and faceless — villian. See more>>

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AWFJ Women On Film – Nell Minow’s Top Ten of 2009

Up in the Air

Where the Wild Things Are


Fantastic Mr. Fox

500 Days of Summer

District 9



Star Trek

An Education

And, for the annotated version, plus runners up: Read more>>

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“FLOW” – Nell Minow Interviews Director Irena Salina

Director Irena Salina talks about her new documentary, “FLOW: For Love of Water,” about the problems of contamination and scarcity in water systems throughout the world. Read more>>

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“The House Bunny” – Nell Minow reviews

In “The House Bunny,” the screenplay inflicts a little more injury on Faris than it intends to by committing the very sins it half-heartedly attempts to parody. But even when the movie ignores her comic timing to focus on her lovely face and figure, Faris is an engaging performer. Read more>>

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Comic-Con 2008 – Nell Minow reports

On a panel at Comic-Con, actress Eliza Dushku explained that her new series began when she was was having dinner with her friend, Joss Whedon (of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly”). She was complaining to him about not being given a chance to show all of the range of characters she could do.

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Animator Nina Paley speaks with Nell Minow about “Sita Sings The Blues”

Nina Paley, who bills herself as “America’s best-loved unknown cartoonist” is the artist/writer/director behind a smart, funny, visually stunning new animated film called “Sita Sings the Blues.”

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Nell Minow Responds to Gary Susman: Do We Need More Female Critics?

Gary Susman of Entertainment Weekly’s PopWatch asks whether we need more female movie critics mostly as a way to pat EW on the back doubly

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“Under The Same Moon” – Nell Minow reviews

As the title suggests, there is a little bit of fairy tale moondust sprinkled over this story of a nine-year-old boy who runs away from his home in Mexico to find his mother in Los Angeles. As with all fairy tales, the magical glow makes possible engagement with some heart-wrenching themes that might be too disturbing if told in a more straightforward manner. Read more>>

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“CJ7″ – Nell Minow comments on Gender and Gender-Bending

“CJ7” is the story of a little boy named Dicky who struggles with school bullies, extreme poverty, tough homework, a girl who likes him, a different girl that he likes, problems communicating with his father (writer-director Stephen Chow), and an uncooperative extra-terrestrial super-pet. Dicky is played by the very talented Jiao Xu, who was selected after Chow auditioned nearly 10,000 children for the role. It did not concern Chow that Jiao Xu had almost no professional experience. And it did not concern him that Jiao Xu is a girl. Read more>>

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Ilana Trachtman speaks with Nell Minow about “Praying With Lior”

Ilana Trachtman found the subject of her documentary, “Praying with Lior,” at Rosh Hashanah services. Lior has Down syndrome. His devotion to prayer has inspired the members of his close and loving Jewish community in Philadelphia. But the movie is not just about him. It is the story of a family. Read more>>

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