PASSING – Review by Liz Whittemore

Shot in black and white, Passing tells the tale of two childhood friends reuniting. Clare and Irene grew up in the same circle in Harlem. After a chance run-in at a hotel, Irene discovers that Clare had been passing for white for years. As their friendship slowly rekindles, their lives clash through fear and the reality of 1920s New York.

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I’M YOUR MAN – Review by Liz Whittemore

I’m Your Man manages to be both feminist and romantic at the same time. Writer-director Maria Shrader has given audiences a think piece about love, trauma, loneliness, and the role of technology. The choice to make Alma a fiercely independent scientist specializing in anthropology is incredibly clever. She studies ancient cuneiform in an attempt to prove the early use of poetry and metaphor. Juxtaposed we have Tom a humanoid supercomputer programmed to be Alma’s ideal mate. For three weeks, Alma must report on Tom’s effectiveness. Is her scientific, skeptical mind standing between her and true love?

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CODA – Review by Elizabeth Whittemore

Writer/director Sian Heder has given the world a gem in CODA. Easily landing in my Top 3 films of 2021, this story manages to be completely unique and wholly relatable all at once. CODA allows us to intimately enter the lives of a working-class family, that just happens to be deaf. It tackles ableism, pride, self worth, and everything in between. I’ll be rooting for this film for years to come. It’s a joyous and breathtaking watch.

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KNOTS: A FORCED MARRIAGE STORY – Review by Liz Whittemore

Writer-director Kate Ryan Brewer begins her documentary Knots: A Forced Marriage Story with a shocking statistic: Between the years 2000 and 2010, the number of child marriages in the United States was 248,000. Knots then focuses on the stories of three women. In each of their cases, religion was the driving factor. Fraidy Reese, Sara Tasneem, and Nina Van Harn were indoctrinated from birth, taught that a woman must marry. Her role? Never think, never question, and always submit to the whim of her husband.

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DEMENTER – Review by Liz Whittemore

With a style that feels like half documentary and half horror, Dementer is a bone-chilling watch. The score and sound editing make your skin crawl. This film is one of the most disturbing watches of the year so far. The mystery of Katie’s past rolls out slowly. It’s a truly disturbing way to tell this story. As a Mom of a child on the spectrum, this film felt extra vile, and I do mean that as a compliment.

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Short Films: GNT, THE FOURFOLD, and THE AFFECTED (Sundance2021) – Review by Liz Whittemore

Three fierce shorts from three female filmmakers from this year’s Sundance Film Festival are unique in their aesthetics, themes and style of story telling. Each contributes to the diversity of female perspectives represented at Sundance 2021, as the festival program reaches it’s 50-50 gender parity goal.

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ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY – Review by Liz Whittemore

Directors Lisa Cortes and Liz Garbus have presented audiences with a history lesson in a non-preachy, inspirational way. The immediate relevance of this film is palpable as our democracy is literally on the brink. It’s a doc that needs to be shown in every history class. It’s a doc that needs to be streamed to the country on loop, right now.

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US KIDS – Review by Liz Whittemore

The Parkland students who survived their school massacre had activism thrust upon them. Kim A. Snyder’s new doc Us Kids follows the intense reality that these teenagers are still living. It’s an emotional gut-punch from every angle. It’s devastating, inspiring, hopeless, in your face, and unapologetic. Us Kids is about the freedom to live. It’s about letting kids be kids. They deserve it. The youth vote could actually change the world. This IS what democracy looks like.

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