NANNY (TIFF 2022) – Review by Cate Marquis

Nanny speaks to feminist issues, racial ones, and immigrant experiences as well as the perennial American Dream, making it an ambitious and worthy drama with creative reach. Writer-director Nikyatu Jusu’s thoughtfully mixes drama with mystical surreal sequences about a Senegalese mother working as a nanny in the U.S. while worrying about her own young son back in her home country. Nanny is a worthy, intriguing film, but one where its reach at times exceeds its grasp, although it mostly hits its target straight on.

Read more

THE WOMAN KING (TIFF 2022) – Review by Cate Marquis

Do you like an epic film, one with rousing battle scenes, exciting fight choreography, a great story and memorable characters? Then The Woman King is for you, because it has it all. Yes, Gina Price-Bythewood’s The Woman King, a historical epic set in early 19th century Africa starring Viola Davis, is all that – and right out of the gate, was a big hit at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Read more

WOMEN TALKING (TIFF 2022) – Review by Cate Marquis

In Sarah Polley’s searing ensemble, there are indeed women talking but it is what they are talking about and who they are that grips us from the start. The subject these conservative Mennonite women gathered in a barn are talking about is whether to forgive the men. For what, we don’t know at first but it is gradually revealed as something most would find unforgivable.

Read more

ASCENSION – Review by Cate Marquis

Jessica Kingdon’s stunning documentary has no narrator to explain what you are seeing but may not really need one. It opens and closes with quotes from a 1912 poem, Ascension, from the filmmaker’s great-grandfather that serves as a sort of warning that what you might find when you, the warrior, finally reach the top of the rampart might be more devastation.

Read more

HOLLER – Review by Cate Marquis

This is a realistic, unblinking view from life at the bottom of the socioeconomic strata, but Holler is mercifully free of the poverty porn found in some films of this type. It tells some hard truths about a town devastated by off-shored industries, a place where the only way to have a chance at life is to leave. Despite that, Holler is a hopeful film, focused on the bond between brother and sister.

Read more

A THOUSAND CUTS – Review by Cate Marquis

In this documentary, journalist Maria Ressa reports on a corrupt Philippines political scenario that’s strikingly familiar, but the moment that may cause chills to run down your spine the expose that Cambridge Analytical used the Philippines as a testing ground for social media propaganda and then ported the technique to the US.

Read more

MR JONES – Review by Cate Marquis

The great Polish director/writer Agnieszka Holland (In Darkness, Europa Europa) reverses the usual case of a male director telling the story of a courageous woman, to tell the story of a persistent young Welsh journalist in the early 1930s. Mr. Jones tells a truth-based tale about Gareth Jones (James Norton), who uncovers a secret famine in the Ukraine, and whose discoveries reveal the truth about Stalin and help inspire George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Read more

THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS – Review by Cate Marquis

Zoe Kazan and a fine ensemble of actors play characters on the margins of life in Manhattan in Danish writer/director Lone Scherfig’s The Kindness of Strangers. The narrative has a stream of dark comedy as it follows the lives of a mixed bag of struggling strangers.

Read more

ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH – Review by Cate Marquis

While mass extinction and climate change are part of the discussion, they come up late in the documentary and are not the major focus. It is instead, the far-reaching impact humans have had on the whole planet, both physically and on other forms of life here. This is a fascinating, thoughtful documentary film, filled with stunning photography, that makes a powerful point of which we should all be aware.

Read more