FOR SAMA – Review by Sheila Roberts

Told from a female perspective, Waad’s intimate and compelling video diary, “For Sama,” is intended as a love letter to her young daughter, Sama. It offers a rare look at Waad’s life during five years of uprising in Aleppo as old lives are swept away and a rebellion once portrayed as a civil war evolves into a Western-backed regime change operation. Waad falls in love, marries a doctor who is also a media activist, and gives birth to Sama amidst an escalating conflict which she documents daily with her camera. Clearly, this is no place to raise a child.

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ABOVE THE SHADOWS – Review by Sheila Roberts

In Claudia Myers’ indie fantasy drama, Above The Shadows, Holly is lonely, grief stricken and isolated, and she is left with no choice but to navigate the world from the shadows. She was the closest of all the children to her mother, whom she felt was the only person in the world who understood and cared for her. When she tries to interact with the rest of her family after her mother’s death, they ignore her until she fades completely from their presence and is forgotten.

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SWORD OF TRUST – Review by Sheila Roberts

In a regressive era deeply mired in conspiracy theories, revisionist history, fake news and questionable truths, esteemed filmmaker Lynn Shelton’s hilarious and beautifully crafted Sword of Trust is a welcome pleasure. This provocative ensemble comedy is anchored by an excellent cast, inspired writing, quirky yet accessible characters in complex interpersonal relationships, and a zany premise that mocks our current political and cultural divide.

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OPHELIA – Review by Sheila Roberts

Like the classic tale, this thrilling reinterpretation explores themes of love, romance, melancholy, loss, madness, treachery and revenge set against a terrifying backdrop of court intrigue involving powerful, competing forces. The headstrong Ophelia, groomed at an early age to serve as one of Queen Gertrude’s trusted ladies-in-waiting at Elsinore Castle, must learn how to cope with the jealous machinations of her co-workers as well as the affections of a passionate young prince destined to ascend the throne.

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MAIDEN – Review by Sheila Roberts

In the late 1980s, being a stewardess on a charter boat was the only way a woman could get work onboard a boat full of men, but Tracy Edwards loved sailing the ocean and had bigger ambitions. When she and her first-ever all-female crew decided to compete in the 1989 Whitbread Round the World Race, their male competitors doubted they had what it took to compete in the world’s toughest yacht race, let alone finish. However, these highly skilled women proved them wrong.

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LATE NIGHT – Review by Sheila Roberts

Late night TV is big business where top ratings matter. If you’re the host and can’t deliver, your days are numbered. Emma Thompson delivers a terrific performance in Amazon Original’s Late Night, a smart, tightly paced comedy with witty characters, strong acting, and a hilarious femme-centric plot directed by Nisha Ganatra from a screenplay by Mindy Kaling.

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TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM – Review by Sheila Roberts

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders inspiring biodoc, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, celebrates the life, career, and potent themes of a literary icon through intimate interviews with the artist herself and an array of distinguished scholars, writers, peers, critics and colleagues. Their collective and in-depth observations are fascinating.

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ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE – Review by Sheila Roberts

Netflix’s new Rom-com, Always Be My Maybe, is a refreshing love story smartly directed by Nahnatchka Khan in her feature debut, starring the charming Ali Wong and Randall Park as childhood sweethearts who part ways after a spat then bump into each other 15 years later. Wong and Park deliver sparkling performances as Sasha and Marcus who now live in vastly different worlds and share little in common — or so they think.

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ASK DR. RUTH – Review by Sheila Roberts

Ryan White’s charming documentary, Ask Dr. Ruth, examines the remarkable life and career of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the Goddess of Good Sex, who has attracted millions of loyal followers by talking frankly and explicitly about the most personal and profound aspects of human sexuality and happiness. Now, nearly 91, she remains a tireless voice of sexual literacy. She continues to work non-stop, advising, educating and shocking her audience who admire her non-judgmental perspective and respect for people.

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