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, October 26, 2018: LIYANA

motw logo 1-35Profound and poignant, the documentary affirms the value of story and storytelling as emotional relief and an element in healing for those who’ve been traumatized — the five orphaned children followed in this extraordinary documentary and, by extension, the survivors of war, rape, genocide, drought, starvation, extreme poverty and other disasters around the globe. Movies can matter. Liyana clearly does.

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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 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 July 20, 2018: 93Queen

motw logo 1-35Paula Eiselt’s documentary follows Rachel ‘Ruchie’ Freier, an Orthodox Jewish wife, mother and lawyer, as she launches an all-female ambulance corps to serve women of NY’s Hasidic community in Brooklyn. The result is a compelling glimpse inside an insular community and a fascinating portrait of a determined feminist.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 13, 2018: DARK MONEY

motw logo 1-35If you’re already feeling cynical about the current state of our country, fair warning: Dark Money isn’t going to lighten your mental load. Kimberly Reed’s intelligent documentary is an important, timely expose of the dangers that shady funding of political campaigns poses to the democratic ideals that many Americans hold dear.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 6, 2018: DARK RIVER

motw logo 1-30In Clio Barnard’s gripping drama about incest, Ruth Wilson plays an itinerant shepherd who returns to her family’s Yorkshire farm after her father’s death. Challenging her brother’s control of the place, she grapples with haunting memories of childhood abuse. Barnard’s raw, authentic style and Wilson’s spare, understated performance are devastating.

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AWFJ Summer 2018 Movies Watch List

Ranging from mirth-filled comedies to truth-based stories of feminist activism, from gal pal road trip scenarios and inspiring biopics to exposes of the heinous evils of sexism and racism, these are films that illuminate, educate and entertain. Despite their diverse subjects and styles, they are all about women and they respectfully represent women’s perspectives on the social and political issues that we all face in daily life. Each film is a powerful reminder of how far we’ve come — and how much further we need to go. Make this a #MeToo summer of movie watching.

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