MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 18, 2021- LES NOTRES

Emilie Bierre delivers a gripping performance as 13-year-old Magalie in Quebecois writer/director Jeanne Leblanc’s wrenching drama Les Notres. Unexpectedly pregnant and left feeling adrift and out of control as her life constricts around her, Magalie is a child who’s forced to make adult decisions after a trusted family friend — literally — abuses that trust. But, as she learns, decisions have consequences.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 11, 2021: HOLLER

The American Dream feels almost as far out of reach as the moon in Nicole Riegel’s compelling feature debut, Holler, which follows an enterprising teenager named Ruth (Jessica Barden) who would do just about anything to escape her inevitably bleak future in a dying Southern Ohio town. She’s smart, and college could be her ticket out, but paying for it means taking dangerous chances with a not-exactly-legal scrap-metal scavenging crew.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 4, 2021: TOVE

It’s no surprise by now to discover that the private lives of the authors and artists behind some of the world’s most beloved children’s books were anything but calm (or G-rated). But it’s always fascinating to get a glimpse into the events, people, and places that shaped them and led to their iconic creations, and Zaida Bergroth’s Tove — which stars the excellent Alma Pöysti as Finnish Moomin mastermind Tove Jansson — is no exception.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 28, 2021: AHEAD OF THE CURVE

Just as Curve has been more than simply a magazine for the lesbian community since it was founded by Franco Stevens in the early 1990s, Jen Rainin and Rivkah Beth Medow’s spirited documentary Ahead of the Curve is much more than simply a film about the history of that magazine. It’s an engaging look at the progress of the lesbian movement over the last 30 years — and where it’s headed in the future.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 21, 2021: WHEN HITLER STOLE PINK RABBIT

Based on the popular children’s book by Judith Kerr — which itself was based on her own experiences as a child — Caroline Link’s When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit is the story of the Kemper family, German Jews who fled Berlin in the early 1930s as Hitler was coming to power. Told primarily through the perspective of young Anna (Riva Krymalowski), it’s a compelling drama about family and finding your place in the world.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 14, 2021: THE PERFECT CANDIDATE

Empathetic and authentic, Haifaa Al-Mansour’s powerful drama The Perfect Candidate offers a compelling look at what life is like for women in modern-day Saudi Arabia — and how difficult it is for even smart, brave, ambitious and highly skilled women to stand up to the country’s institutionalized gender discrimination. Even when it couldn’t be clearer that their only goal is the betterment of their community’s standard of living.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 7, 2021: KNOTS: A FORCED MARRIAGE STORY

Ultra-conservative religious sects. Girls prevented from getting an education and learning practical skills. Forced marriage between teen girls and abusive men far older than their reluctant brides. No, this isn’t The Handmaid’s Tale; it’s daily life in the United States right now for thousands of underage girls forced into marriages they aren’t ready for and don’t want. And as Kate Brewer’s Knots: A Forced Marriage Story makes abundantly clear, it needs to stop now.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 30, 2021: THE COUNTY

Don’t cry over spilled milk — get even. Or, rather, speak up, protest, organize, and take a stand against corruption. That’s the lesson at the heart of The County, writer/director Grímur Hákonarson’s subtly powerful drama about a grieving widow who takes a stand against the domineering co-op that rules the roost in her Icelandic farming community.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 23, 2021: TOGETHER TOGETHER

The romantic comedy gets a power up in Nikole Beckwith’s effortlessly charming Together Together. Ed Helms is surprisingly lovable and charming as Matt, a single 40-something ready to take the next step in his life: fatherhood. Rather than keep searching for the perfect someone, he opts to go at it alone with the help of a surrogate. Enter Anna, Patti Harrison, a young woman looking to get her life back on tack and she sees surrogacy as a way to get there. What begins as a transactional relationship soon turns into a beautiful and all too real story of friendship and sacrifice. Beckwith’s script is smart and often drifts into too-close-for-comfort reality and its gorgeously brought to life by Helms and Harrison.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 16, 2021: HOPE

Maria Sodhal follows up 2010’s Limbo with another quiet yet powerful exploration of relationships under pressure; in this case, a shocking cancer diagnosis. Andrea Braein Hovig and Stellan Skarsgaard put in sterling performances as the long-term couple whose stale relationship is shaken up by the terminal illness. Writer/director at Sodhal – who drew on her own experiences – eschews overwrought melodrama and obvious emotional cues in favour of deeply felt observation, and delivers a film of raw realism and genuine humanity.

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