A MOTHER’S DAY Dozen Watch List

Mothers day is one of America’s big sellers, with all generations of children scrambling to regale their moms with flowers and chocolates and fancy brunches and greeting cards. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), Mother’s Day spending in the United States is expected to reach an all-time high of $35.7 billion this year. But aside from energizing the economy, Mothers’ Day offers an opportunity for some deep thinking about what motherhood means to us all. After all, we all have mothers who birthed us and many of us are mothers to the next generations of our species. That said, the mother-child relationship is universal and, as such, gives rise to as many individual situations and interpretations as there are people who are planted on Mother Earth. Here’s a list of movies worthy of a Mothers’ Day watch.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 22, 2023: Best MOTWs of 2023

Team #MOTW looks back at the films we featured during 2023 and highlights our favorites. There are many things about 2023 that we want to forget, but these femme-helmed/femme centric films that brought inspiration, understanding, compassion, and respite replete with laughter are not among them — and they must not slip into oblivion. Their themes, topics and genres are diverse, and each one of them is a gem. Add them to your watch list. Share the titles with friends. To find out more about each of the selected films, click on the titles for links to our full #MOTW coverage. Enjoy all of AWFJ’s Best #MOTWs of 2023.

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AWARDS INTELLIGENCER: The Gotham Awards 2023 – Thelma Adams reports

The Gothams get out in front of the awards season as actors return to the red carpet, and stylists heave sighs of relief. On Monday night, November 27, while I was chugging Nyquil, the Gotham Awards unfolded at Cipriani’s Downtown in Manhattan. First awarded 32 years ago in 1991, the baby sister to the West Coast Film Independent Spirit Awards launched in 1984, the event’s original mission prioritized recognizing indies as opposed to Oscars. It’s since sacrificed some of its indie street cred with a slew of special awards to attract the big-name stars (Leo! Bobby! Penelope! Greta! Bradley! Margot!), exploiting the night’s current position as the first awards ceremony out of the gate.

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A THOUSAND AND ONE – Review by T.J. Callahan

I could list A Thousand and One reasons why you should see writer/director, A.V. Rockwell’s feature film debut: its heart wrenching and heartwarming, its wise, gritty, gutsy, real, emotional, well-acted, thoughtfully lensed, empowering, truthful, instinctive, poignant, no nonsense, opinionated, unforgettable, unique and determined. It’ll make you laugh and cry, angry and hopeful….

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 31, 2023: A THOUSAND AND ONE

Teyana Taylor is fiercely compelling as Inez, a mother with a complicated history who will do anything for her son, Terry, in writer/director A.V. Rockwell’s powerful drama A Thousand and One. That includes pulling him out of the foster system without permission (in other words, kidnapping him) and giving him a new name to protect him and their life together. As the film follows Inez and Terry over more than a decade, it captures the highs and lows of their relationship and the bond that connects them.

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A THOUSAND AND ONE – Review by Loren King

Motherhood and generational trauma are the complex, emotional layers grounding A Thousand and One, writer-director A.V. Rockwell’s gritty 1990s New York-set drama. The film is anchored by the unforgettable powerhouse performance from Teyana Taylor as Inez, a young woman whose swagger and defiant scowl mask a lifetime of neglect and pain. Rockwell and Taylor deliver authenticity in setting and characters mired in a cycle of poverty and marginalization from the film’s first scene when Inez is released from Riker’s Island and returns to the Harlem streets without a place to live.

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A THOUSAND AND ONE – Review by Leslie Combemale

Here we are again with one of these quietly devastating films from a Black female writer/director that centers Blackness featuring exceptional performances that will likely get overlooked, even if it did snag the Grand Jury Prize in the US Dramatic Competition at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Well, not if those of us critics championing it can help it. Thank goddess for AWFJ and the organizations desire to amplify small, gorgeous movies like this one.

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A THOUSAND AND ONE – Review by Liz Whittemore

Recently released from prison, Inez (Teyana Taylor) kidnaps her six-year-old son from foster care. She and Terry survive in hiding in NYC the best they can. Writer-director A. V. Rockwell takes us on a journey through New York City’s history, weaving in news reports about Mayor Rudy Guliani, law enforcement’s stop-and-frisk announcements, and the gentrification of Harlem. Meticulous era costuming from Melissa Vargas and Ky Johnson’s hair styling on Teyana Taylor gives the film a timeless authenticity. A Thousand and One is a gritty tribute to the mothers and sons who survive in New York City’s challenging landscape.

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A THOUSAND AND ONE – Review by Jennifer Merin

A Thousand and One, a compelling drama about a mother’s uncompromising love for her son. Teyana Taylor stars as Inez de la Paz who, newly released from incarceration on Riker’s Island for an unspecified minor infraction, locates her six year old son who’s been placed in foster care, kidnaps him and goes on the run with him, determined to provide him with a safe and love-filled home, and a good life.

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