ONE CHILD NATION – Review by Sheila Roberts

One Child Nation, co-directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang, is a gripping, thought provoking, deeply personal examination of the impact of China’s one-child policy.. Wang, who was born in China in the 1980s and later emigrated to America, began shooting the film not long after she gave birth. Through moving interviews with Wang’s own family, former midwives and family planning officials, artists, journalists, and human traffickers, Wang exposes a disastrous 35-year social experiment that had tragic consequences for multiple generations.

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THE NIGHTINGALE – Review by Sheila Roberts

Jennifer Kent’s masterful writing and direction foster empathy for the plight of all the characters, both good and bad. She avoids the usual cathartic violence and exploitative storytelling tropes of revenge thrillers we’re accustomed to, and elicits strong, compelling performances. She takes an unflinching look at Colonialism — how racism and gender violence affect us, how they have always been used as weapons of war to marginalize and destabilize a vulnerable society, and why compassion is so essential.

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HONEYLAND – Review by Sheila Roberts

Honeyland is a riveting, deeply human story about a vanishing way of life. Kotevska and Stefanov enjoy a comfortable rapport with their subjects who appear natural and at ease revealing themselves in front of the camera. It makes for a breathtaking cinematic journey that’s not to be missed.

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FOR SAMA – Review by Sheila Roberts

Told from a female perspective, Waad’s intimate and compelling video diary, “For Sama,” is intended as a love letter to her young daughter, Sama. It offers a rare look at Waad’s life during five years of uprising in Aleppo as old lives are swept away and a rebellion once portrayed as a civil war evolves into a Western-backed regime change operation. Waad falls in love, marries a doctor who is also a media activist, and gives birth to Sama amidst an escalating conflict which she documents daily with her camera. Clearly, this is no place to raise a child.

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ABOVE THE SHADOWS – Review by Sheila Roberts

In Claudia Myers’ indie fantasy drama, Above The Shadows, Holly is lonely, grief stricken and isolated, and she is left with no choice but to navigate the world from the shadows. She was the closest of all the children to her mother, whom she felt was the only person in the world who understood and cared for her. When she tries to interact with the rest of her family after her mother’s death, they ignore her until she fades completely from their presence and is forgotten.

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SWORD OF TRUST – Review by Sheila Roberts

In a regressive era deeply mired in conspiracy theories, revisionist history, fake news and questionable truths, esteemed filmmaker Lynn Shelton’s hilarious and beautifully crafted Sword of Trust is a welcome pleasure. This provocative ensemble comedy is anchored by an excellent cast, inspired writing, quirky yet accessible characters in complex interpersonal relationships, and a zany premise that mocks our current political and cultural divide.

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OPHELIA – Review by Sheila Roberts

Like the classic tale, this thrilling reinterpretation explores themes of love, romance, melancholy, loss, madness, treachery and revenge set against a terrifying backdrop of court intrigue involving powerful, competing forces. The headstrong Ophelia, groomed at an early age to serve as one of Queen Gertrude’s trusted ladies-in-waiting at Elsinore Castle, must learn how to cope with the jealous machinations of her co-workers as well as the affections of a passionate young prince destined to ascend the throne.

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MAIDEN – Review by Sheila Roberts

In the late 1980s, being a stewardess on a charter boat was the only way a woman could get work onboard a boat full of men, but Tracy Edwards loved sailing the ocean and had bigger ambitions. When she and her first-ever all-female crew decided to compete in the 1989 Whitbread Round the World Race, their male competitors doubted they had what it took to compete in the world’s toughest yacht race, let alone finish. However, these highly skilled women proved them wrong.

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LATE NIGHT – Review by Sheila Roberts

Late night TV is big business where top ratings matter. If you’re the host and can’t deliver, your days are numbered. Emma Thompson delivers a terrific performance in Amazon Original’s Late Night, a smart, tightly paced comedy with witty characters, strong acting, and a hilarious femme-centric plot directed by Nisha Ganatra from a screenplay by Mindy Kaling.

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