HAPPENING – Review by Lois Alter Mark

If there was ever a movie meant for this particular time in history, this is the one. The winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, Audrey Diwan’s Happening is a quietly devastating look at what happens when abortion is illegal. The fact that it’s coincidentally being released in the U.S. the same week a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion revealed that Roe v. Wade is on the verge of being overturned feels like it should be taken as a sign. And, more importantly, a wake-up call.

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I LOVE AMERICA – Review by Lois Alter Mark

I was really hoping that I Love America would be better than its title. It’s the kind of title that feels like it can go one of two ways – either super cheesy and patriotic, which is unappealing in itself, or an attempt at irony and criticism, which a French rom com is unlikely to do well. And, spoiler alert: it’s not and it doesn’t.

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LET ME BE ME – Review by Lois Alter Mark

Instantly relatable, just the title alone of this moving documentary is good advice for everyone. Although it deals specifically with one family’s struggle with autism, its messages about unconditional love and acceptance are universal and, ultimately, uplifting. Jen and Jeff Westphal realized there was something different about their son, Kyle, from a young age. Disconnected and in his own world, he had a hard time making eye contact and didn’t want to be hugged but liked to dress up as Cinderella and wrap himself in fabric to hide from people.

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I’LL FIND YOU – Review by Lois Alter Mark

Martha Coolidge may not be the first director you’d think of to helm a tear-jerking Holocaust love story but she has created a small gem with I’ll Find You, a beautiful new film inspired by stories of Polish musicians from the 1930s and 1940s. It feels like you’re watching a movie that was actually filmed back in the ‘30s/’40s rather than a modern movie about that time period. There’s something about the cinematography and the whole style that is so authentic, it’s like you’re watching a beloved old classic. One day, it just might be.

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MARRY ME – Review by Lois Alter Mark

Chances are you’re going to try to resist Marry Me. You’re going to go into it thinking, “Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson together? Really?” and you’re going to scoff and roll your eyes and make all kinds of groaning noises. And then, against your better judgment, you will get sucked into the story and find yourself smiling when – or, maybe more accurately, even though – that story plays out pretty much exactly how you imagined it would.

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SOUMAYA – Review by Lois Alter Mark

Soumaya is based on actual events that occurred after the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, and the fact that it had to overcome so many obstacles in order to get made shows how crucial it is that it finally did — and that it be seen. The story centers on a woman who is fired from her airport security job solely because she’s Muslim. Soumaya is a compelling, thought-provoking film that will stay with you.

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THE PACT – Review by Lois Alter Mark

Director Bille August has created a fascinating film that offers a fresh perspective on Keren Blixen, on creativity and on the questionable sacrifices artists are willing to make for their art. In The Pact, a biopic about Blixen, the devil turns out to be the Out of Africa author herself. It’s a whole new view of her and it’s riveting.

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A GRAND ROMANTIC GESTURE – Review by Lois Alter Mark

It’s almost impossible for even the most hard-hearted to resist getting caught up in a grand romantic gesture – or A Grand Romantic Gesture. The delightful new film from writer/director Joan Carr-Wiggin is smart and funny, elevating the rom-com genre for an older audience. With its dry humor and scenes interspersed with quotes from Romeo and Juliet, A Grand Romantic Gesture is a gem of a movie. Gina McKee and Douglas Hodge are a modern day Hepburn-Tracy whose chemistry is unmistakable even as they spar.

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JOY WOMACK: THE WHITE SWAN – Review by Lois Alter Mark

If you want to be inspired by a story of unrelenting persistence, do yourself a favor and spend an hour and a half watching Joy Womack: White Swan. This documentary about the first American woman to sign a contract with the Bolshoi Ballet (she was also the first American to graduate from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy’s main training program) is riveting as it reveals what it takes to reach a seemingly impossible goal and exposes what really goes on behind the velvet curtains of the ballet. Spoiler: it’s a far cry from the beauty and grace seen onstage.

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