SIMPLE AS WATER – Review by Carol Cling

Overwhelming numbers suggest the scope of the Syrian refugee situation, but not the true human cost.
For that, we need documentaries like Simple as Water. The latest from Oscar-winner Megan Mylan (Lost Boys of Sudan), the haunting — and achingly human — Simple as Water focuses on four different Syrian families struggling to move on with their lives.

Read more

NO FUTURE – Review by Carol Cling

If No Future has a bright spot (so to speak), it’s Catherine Keener’s sad-but-true performance, an utterly convincing combination of desperate yearning and bruised, rueful recognition that there’s no such thing as a happy ending. Nobody’s expecting one, especially in a movie called No Future. But it would help if said movie managed to generate more than a shred of the empty, endless anguish Keener so memorably conveys.

Read more

FRUITS OF LABOR – Review by Carol Cling

Now that I’ve seen Fruits of Labor, whenever I pick up a box of strawberries, I’ll be thinking of Ashley Solis Pavon, the focus of director Emily Cohen Ibanez’s documentary, a days-in-the-life portrait of a high school senior whose life is a far cry from the carefree teen sprees usually seen on screen. Fruits of Labor delivers a frequently moving portrait of her personal growth, It’s undeniable food for thought.

Read more

IN BALANCHINE’S CLASSROOM – Review by Carol Cling

Nobody lives forever. But they can live on, through the work they leave behind — and the people dedicated to continuing the quest. That’s certainly the case with legendary choreographer George Balanchine, whose life and legacy inspire Connie Hochman’s documentary In Balanchine’s Classroom.

Read more

WILDLAND – Review by Carol Cling

You can’t choose your family. Sometimes you can’t choose what to do about them, either. As Wildland’s young protagonist observes, “for some people, things go wrong before they even begin.” Observing that painful process proves an absorbing and often ominous experience in Danish director Jeanette Nordahl’s feature debut, which premiered at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival — just before the Coronavirus pandemic turned the world upside down.

Read more

CONFETTI – Review by Carol Cling

It’s all a matter of perspective. Some people might see a bin overflowing with paper scraps as useless refuse. Others see those bits of paper as confetti, waiting to come to life dancing on the breeze. That would be Meimei, a beguiling little girl who doesn’t quite fit in at school in her Chinese hometown.
That’s not only a scene from the heartfelt, fact-based drama Confetti, it’s an apt metaphor for one of its characters.

Read more

THE LONLIEST WHALE: THE SEARCH FOR 52 – Review by Carol Cling

Captain Ahab had Moby Dick. Documentarian Josh Zeman has 52, the elusive cetacean who inspires The Loneliest Whale. Subtitled The Search for 52, Zeman’s documentary traces his — and the wider world’s — fascination with a creature who seems to speak to all the lonely people. (If not his fellow whales.)

Read more

SWEAT – Review by Carol Cling

Decked out in bright bubblegum pink, her blonde ponytail bouncing as energetically as her lithe legs and toned arms, Sylwia (Magdalena Kolesnik) shimmers in the spotlight, radiating energy to and affection for the legions of Insta fans she calls “my loves.” But it’s when Sweat looks beneath the shiny-happy sheen of Sylwia’s Instagram-programmed existence that things get interesting.

Read more