AWFJ Movie of the Week, April 13-19: MONKEY KINGDOM

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Opening April 17, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Monkey Kingdom, the new documentary from Disney’s nature arm. Its focus is a female monkey who lives in the ancient ruins of the Sri Lankan jungle and who, along with her newborn baby, must navigate life in her Temple Troop. As the troop’s fight for survival forces them from their natural home into increasingly urban areas, the new mother must also cope with the social hierarchies and codes of conduct that dictate her fate – and that of her baby. Read on…

Monkeys have long been a source of fascination to nature filmmakers and directors Mark Lindfield and Alastair Fothergill clearly have an affinity for their subject, their focus on the primates’ recognizably human traits effectively celebrating an intelligence and resourcefulness that deserves both our admiration and respect. Tina Fey’s spirited, witty narration highlights the monkeys’ endearing personalities, and the sumptuous cinematography by Martyn Colbeck and Gavin Thurston is both stunning to look at and drives home the message that we should all be fighting to save our natural world and the remarkable creatures who reside within.

AWFJ Movie of the Week Panelists Comments:

Anne Brodie: Monkey Kingdom is the wonderful kind of “good for you” film that we don’t see often enough. It takes us to Sri Lanka where we watch  mighty, social snobs live our their fascinating monkey lives. Tina Fey’s lighthearted delivery sets the film apart from the documentaries you watched in school.  It’s good for the soul and yes, I learned some things!

Jennifer Merin: Monkey Kingdom is a mind-expanding observation of family life among monkeys whose struggle for survival takes them from the jungles of Sri Lanka into an urban environment. The DisneyNature documentary’s focus on a mother and her baby provides compelling eyewitness evidence that humans are not Earth’s only sentient creatures, and that the others deserve our respect. The extraordinary cinematography is as captivating as the film’s very engaging characters.

Film Details:

Title: Monkey Kingdom
Director: Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield
Release Date: April 17, 2015
Running Time: 81 minutes
Language: English
Shooting Location(s): Sri Lanka
Principal Cast:
Production Company:
Distributor: Disney
Official Website

AWFJ Movie of the Week Panel Members: Nikki Baughan, Anne Brodie, Pam Grady, Leba Hertz, MaryAnn Johanson, Loren King, Cate Marquis, Katherine McLaughlin, Jennifer Merin, Nell Minow, Perri Nemiroff, Kristy Puchko, Sheila Roberts, Liz Whittemore, Jeanne Wolf.

Other Movies Opening the Week of April 13-17, 2015:

April 17

True Story

Monsters: Dark Continent

Child 44

The Dead Lands

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

Monkey Kingdom

Alex of Venice


The Squeeze

Beyond the Reach

Shake the Dust

Felix and Meira

The Road Within


Edited by Sandra Kraisirideja, Associate Editor

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Nikki Baughan

Nikki Baughan is a London-based freelance film critic and features writer. Formerly editor of both Film Review and movieScope magazines, Nikki is currently contributes to various print and online publications, including Screen International, BFI, The List and Film Divider.