MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 14, 2018: DUMPLIN’

motw logo 1-30Set to a peppy, empowering soundtrack of Dolly Parton hits, director Anne Fletcher’s Dumplin’ is an appealing coming-of-age dramedy about a plus-sized teen who confronts stereotypes — and her own rocky relationship with her beauty queen mother — head-on by entering a small-town Texas pageant. Willowdean “Will” Dickson (Danielle Macdonald) loves her mom, Rosie (Jennifer Aniston), but they couldn’t be more different.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 7, 2018: CAPERNAUM

motw logo 1-35.Nadine Labaki’s painfully honest drama about a street-smart Lebanese boy who sues his parents for neglect (“for giving me life,” as he tells the judge) is relentlessly gritty, but it also never loses its humanity. The latter is largely thanks to 12-year-old Zain (Zain Al Rafeea), the compelling character at the center of the story. Because, despite every awful thing life throws in his path, he never stops caring for those who’ve earned his affection.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 30, 2018: Best 2018 #MOTWs

motw logo 1-35.AWFJ’s Movie of the Week focuses attention on excellent films directed by women and/or centered on the stories of complex and fully realized women characters who are grappling — directly or metaphorically — with the issues women face in daily life. From January 1 to November 23 of this year, we have designated 48 Movie of the Week films. All of these have had strong women characters and 36 of them have been directed by women. We heartily applaud the variety of style and story, we honor the moviemakers who’ve brought them to the screen. As year end holidays approach and the movie awards season heats up, Team #MOTW members revisit our selections to suggest their favorites for immediate viewing.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK, November 2, 2018: WHAT THEY HAD

motw logo 1-35What They Had, the first feature from actress-turned-writer/director Elizabeth Chomko, is a stirring family drama in which adult siblings, Bridget (Hilary Swank) and Nick (Michael Shannon) are trying to cope with their mother’s (Blythe Danner) progressive dementia and their father’s (Robert Forster) denial of her disability. Chomko’s well-crafted script and sensitive direction, and the superb performances from the stellar ensemble bring a balance of heartbreak and humor to this painful and entirely relatable situation.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 19, 2018: CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?

Melissa McCarthy trades pratfalls and slapstick for wry wit and introspection in Marielle Heller’s keenly observed biopic “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” McCarthy plays biographer Lee Israel, whose brief time in the Manhattan publishing scene’s spotlight has passed, leaving her bitter, lonely, and strapped for cash, which ultimately leads to a life of literary crime. It’s a compelling role for McCarthy, who seems to relish the opportunity to take on more serious material.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 5, 2018: ALL ABOUT NINA

motw logo 1-35Propelled by a raw, powerful performance from star Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Eva Vives’ debut feature All About Nina couldn’t be more timely or relevant. The story of a caustic stand-up comic whose drunken one-night stands and other self-destructive choices mask heartbreaking pain, it will resonate deeply with anyone who’s ever been afraid to let someone else get close.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK September 28, 2018: JANE FONDA IN FIVE ACTS

“Trying to be perfect is a toxic journey,” says Jane Fonda in Susan Lacy’s revealing, deeply personal documentary Jane Fonda in Five Acts, and — after hearing stories she’s told for the previous two hours — it’s impossible to disagree. Fonda’s revelatory reflections on her life as actress and activist make it clear that giving herself permission to be imperfect let her become her happiest self.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 24, 2018 : THE BOOKSHOP

motw logo 1-35A woman’s modest but passionate dream of running a book store goes up against small-town politics in Isabel Coixet’s The Bookshop. With stunning performances by Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Bill Nighy and yong Honor Kneafsey, this intimate English-to-the-core drama reveals darkness at the heart of a storybook village.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 17, 2018: THE WIFE

motw logo 1-35Glenn Close delivers a brilliant performance in Bjorn Runge’s The Wife. Based on Meg Wolitzer’s eponymous novel about the wife of a newly minted Nobel Prize-winning writer, this closely observed drama follows Close’s Joan and her husband, Joe (Jonathan Pryce), as they travel to Stockholm for his anointing — but will their marriage survive the trip?

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 10, 2018: SKATE KITCHEN

motw logo 1-35That Crystal Moselle’s Skate Kitchen often feels more like a documentary than a scripted drama is no surprise, given Moselle’s experience as a documaker and her cast of real-life NYC skateboarders playing fictionalized versions of themselves. The film delivers its story about female friendship with verve and authenticity.

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