THE GIRL FROM PLAINVILLE (SXSW 2022) – Review by Leslie Combemale

The Girl From Plainville is inspired by the texting suicide case in which 17 year old Michelle Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for coercing her boyfriend Conrad Roy to kill himself. There was a documentary on the subject called I Love You, Now Die released in 2019, but this narrative brings something more, because it can be as subjective as it wants to be. Elle Fanning as Michelle Carter is so magnetic you can’t take your eyes off her, and Chloë Sevigny, who plays Conrad’s tortured and grieving mother Lynn Roy, is as heartbreaking as Fanning’s is chilling.

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PAM & TOMMY – Review by Pam Grady

Pam & Tommy is tabloid television given an elegant veneer by its A-list cast and the fig leaf of feminism offered by the women on the production team and women like Lake Bell who direct some of the episodes. But nearly 30 years after all of this first started, this show is really just the latest chapter in the ongoing exploitation of Pamela Anderson, a woman who does not deserve it.

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SEX APPEAL – Review by Tara McNamara

In this bold new post-MeToo world, word is finally out that consent is a crucial part of foreplay. We’d expect to see that reflected in teen films. But Sex Appeal seems to be positing that the outdated ’80s-style raunchy high school hump fest genre can be revived if it comes from a female point-of-view, is given a sex positive scenario, and features socially progressive characters? This comedy about a super smart science-focused heterosexual high school senior who turns her “first time” into her school project is not humorous, not helpful, and definitely not for everyone. There’s a chance that teens may find Sex Appeal to be appealing. But, for most adults, it’s more likely to be appalling.

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THE HANDMAID’S TALE Season 4 – Review by Susan Granger

With so many new dramatic series, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 4 somehow got put on a back-burner, begging to be binge-watched. Lacking its previous topical urgency but retaining its feminist rage, the fourth season begins where the relentless third left off, as heroically tormented June Osbourne (Elisabeth Moss) dispatches a plane filled with 86 children and numerous women fleeing from the tyranny of Gilead into Toronto, Canada.

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NINE PERFECT STRANGERS – Review by Susan Granger

When production in Australia began on this new Hulu series, Nicole Kidman refused to meet the rest of the cast until she was in character as beatific Masha Dmitrichenko, the mysteriously serene leader of a holistic wellness center who uses questionable treatments and experimental practices on her clients.

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RUN – Review by Susan Granger

After Netflix’s Ratched, Sarah Paulson has become TV’s malevolent angel-of-mercy. In this new thriller, she plays a possessively controlling mother suffering from Munchausen syndrome-by-proxy. That’s a mental health issue – a form of child abuse -in which a warped caregiver causes an illness to a person under her care – like a child with a disability.

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MRS. AMERICA – Review by Susan Granger

It’s fascinating how many young people have never heard of Phyllis Schlafly and how many older folk have forgotten her grassroots opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment back in the 1970s. It’s dauntingly relevant to realize that – a century after female suffrage became the law of the land – there’s still no constitutional ban on discrimination against women.

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