Defining Feminist Film Criticism – MaryAnn Johanson comments

A feminist perspective should not be limited to any given individual film but should deal with the zeitgeist at large… which, honestly, I don’t see male critics confronting very often. We feminist critics should embrace and welcome the fact that we have a wider perspective than male critics do! Films don’t get conceived, produced, release, marketed, or consumed in a vacuum, though those straight white cis hetero able-bodied men (which is how most critics are defined, too) may think it does. We need to be constantly pointing that out.

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CAPERNAUM – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

In a courtroom in Beirut, 12-year-old Zain is suing his parents for the “crime” of having given birth to him. Capernaum — translation: chaos — is not about the court case, but is instead a long series of flashbacks showing us what has led the child to this moment. And it’s nothing like we might have been expecting.

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IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

In a better world, If Beale Street Could Talk would be nothing more — and nothing less — than a beautiful love story, merely the sweetly sexy blossoming of passion between 19-year-old Tish (glorious newcomer KiKi Layne) and family friend Fonny (Stephan James), whom she grew up with.. We don’t live in that better world.

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VOICES OF THE SEA – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

In a poor a seaside village in Cuba, a wife and mother dreams of escaping to America to make a better life for her children. British documentarian Kim Hopkins brings a poignant poeticism to this portrait of hard going in a beautiful place, and of the love, laughter, and community that, perhaps, make the struggle just that little bit more tolerable.

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ON THE BASIS OF SEX – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

On the Basis of Sex’s hint-of-racy title fronts a just-pretty-okay cinematic experience that coasts on the awesomeness of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I might wish that Sex was, well, sexier — more adventurous, more meaty, more demanding of the viewer and of its terrific cast — but I’ll take this. Coasting on Notorious RBG is some incredible coasting indeed, and the ride here is of the solidly crowd-pleasing variety, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

You don’t need a degree in British history to appreciate that what looks like pretty thrilling movie-movie internecine spycraft and occasionally outright warfare between the two thrones — Mary’s in Scotland and Elizabeth’s in England — is, in fact, the undermining of two reasonable women trying to unite their nations, their efforts thwarted by very angry, very misogynist men.

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DUMPLIN’ – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

Dumplin’ is far from perfect, but it’s lovely — kinda like its heroine! — a movie that warmly embraces a wide(ish) range of girls-and-women-as-people, one that doesn’t reduce its large heroine to nothing more than her size: she’s simply a cool, funny, confused, perplexed, messed-up human being who still has a lot of growing up to do.

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3 DAYS IN QUIBERON – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

In this raw and uneasy film, German writer-director Emily Atef paints of portrait of tortured celebrity — Austrian actress Romy Schneider (a riveting Marie Bäumer), one of the biggest European film stars of the mid 20th century — extrapolating from Schneider’s last interview in 1981, just a year before her apparently unexplained death at age only 43.

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