The Alliance of Women Film Journalists highlights movies made by and about women. With a vigilant eye toward current releases, we maintain an interactive record of films that are pertinent to our interests. Be they female-made or female-centric productions, they are films that represent a wide range of women’s stories and present complex female characters. As such, they are movies that will most likely be reviewed on AWFJ.org and will qualify for consideration for our annual EDA Awards, celebrating exceptional women working in film behind and in front of the camera. Our members are feature writers, columnists and regular contributors to a variety of media outlets and many of us publish regularly on the festival circuit. Our critical voices are widespread and diverse. We invite you to join us in tracking weekly releases of particular interest. And we welcome information about new films that will help us to keep our records updated and our critics alert. Below is a concise list of new releases set for the week of November 14 to 20 that are of particular interest. Titles highlighted in red have inks to full reviews:
Wednesday, November 16
- In Her Hands – Netflix – USA – Documentary co-directed by Tamana Ayazi and Marcel Mettelsiefen. At 26, Zarifa Ghafari became one of Afghanistan’s first female mayors and the youngest to ever hold the position. Filmed over two turbulent years, the film documents her personal battle for survival as her country unravels.
- The Wonder – Netflix – Ireland / UK / USA – Drama co-written by director Sebastián Lelio and Alice Birch, based on the novel by Emma Donoghue. Starring Florence Puch and Niamh Algar. A tale of two strangers who transform each other’s lives, a psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.
Thursday, November 17
- Bantú Mama – Netflix – Dominican Republic – Drama directed by Ivan Herrera, co-written by Herrera with star Clarisse Albrecht. After being arrested in the Dominican Republic, an Afropean woman escapes and is sheltered by 3 minors in a dangerous district of Santo Domingo. By becoming their protégée and maternal figure, she will see her destiny change inexorably.
- I Am Vanessa Guillen – Netflix – USA – Documentary directed by Christy Wegener following the tragic but exciting story of the young woman who dreamed of a military career—however after telling her mother that she was being harassed at the Fort Hood military base, Vanessa Guillen was killed.
Friday, November 18
- Actual People – Factory 25 (Cinemas, NY) – USA – Drama written, directed by and starring Kit Zauhar. Riley, a biracial girl in her final week of college, goes to great lengths to win the affections of a boy from her hometown of Philly, and ends up having to confront her escalating anxieties about her love life, family, and future.
- A Christmas Karen – (VOD) – USA – Comedy co-directed by Jon Binkowski and Lisa Enos Smith. Karen is an entitled middle-aged woman whose demanding nature has alienated her neighbors and family. After a series of instances displaying her privilege and prejudice, Karen receives an ‘intervention’ by some unconventional spirits.
- Disenchanted – Disney+ – USA – Family film starring Amy Adams. Ten years after her happily ever after, Giselle questions her happiness, inadvertently turning the lives of those in the real world and Andalasia upside down in the process.
- Elephant Refugees – Global Digital Releasing (VOD) – South Africa / Botswana / USA – Documentary directed by Louise Hogarth. There is a crisis of elephantine proportions playing out in the dry sandy Kalahari woodlands of eastern Botswana and a determined family of caring people is caught in the middle of the drama.
- Eo – Janus Films (Cinemas) – Poland / Italy – Drama directed by Jerzy Skolimowski, co-written by Skolimowski and Ewa Piaskowska following a donkey who encounters good and bad people on his journey, experiences joy and pain, exploring a vision of modern Europe through his eyes.
- Love, Charlie: The Rise And Fall Of Chef Charlie Trotter – Greenwich Entertainment (Cinemas, VOD) – USA – Documentary written and directed by Rebecca Halpern that profiles the life and work of legendary Chef Charlie Trotter and his pivotal role in revolutionizing the culinary world.
- The People We Hate at the Wedding – Amazon Prime – USA – Comedy directed by Claire Scanlon. Family tensions ramp up among siblings in the week leading up to their half-sister’s wedding in the country.
- Poppy – IndiePix (VOD) – New Zealand – Dramedy written and directed by Linda Niccol. A young woman with Down syndrome refuses to be defined by disability and takes control of her own life. Her ambition is to become a motor mechanic.
- She Said – Universal Pictures (Cinemas) – USA – Drama directed by Maria Schrader. New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor break one of the most important stories in a generation — a story that helped launch the #MeToo movement and shattered decades of silence around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood.
Film descriptions are adapted from press releases. Titles highlighted in red have links to full reviews. Stay tuned in for next week’s releases! Contact us if we’ve overlooked anything.