MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 21, 2019: THE BRINK

It’s no exaggeration to say that Steve Bannon quickly became one of the most reviled figures in Donald Trump’s inner circle during the 2016 election and the early days of Trump’s presidency. Cagey and clever, Bannon never seemed to make a move that wasn’t completely calculated. So you have to wonder what his motivation was to allow filmmaker Alison Klayman and her cameras into his life to film The Brink, an intimate documentary that follows Bannon from 2017 through the historic 2018 midterm elections.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 15, 2019: ROLL RED ROLL

Following the infamous 2012 case in Steubenville, Ohio, in which two teen boys who were local highschool football heroes assaulted and raped an intoxicated female classmate, Nancy Schwartzman’s compelling documentary, Roll Red Roll, crystalizes the danger of supporting a “boys will be boys” mentality.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 1, 2019: SAINT JUDY

SAINT JUDY is director Sean Hanish’s fact-based drama about immigration attorney Judy Wood (Michelle Monaghan), whose tenacity, empathy, and intelligence led her to successfully argue a case that changed U.S. asylum law in a way that literally saved women’s lives. Earnest and timely, it’s a film that will fuel the fire of activism in viewers’ hearts — as well as engender respect for Judy and her accomplishments.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 25, 2019: ROMA

motw logo 1-35Winner of the AWFJ’s 2018 EDA awards for Best Film and Best Non-English Language Film (as well as Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Editing), Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” is a lushly filmed, beautifully specific slice-of-life drama that presents its central female characters with love and compassion. The story centers on Cleo (newcomer Yalitza Aparicio), the cook/maid/nanny to an upper middle class family living in Mexico City’s Roma district in the early 1970s.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 28, 2019: COMMUNION

motw logo 1-35A tenacious Polish teen who’s had to grow up too soon takes center stage in Anna Zamecka’s powerful documentary Communion. The film invests viewers deeply in Ola as she works every angle she can think of to bring her family back together, even though the odds seem stacked against her.

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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 9, 2018: HERE AND NOW

motw logo 1-35Introspective and contemplative, Fabien Constant’s drama Here and Now follows talented singer Vivienne (Sarah Jessica Parker) through roughly 24 hours after she’s diagnosed with a serious form of brain cancer and learns she may have no more than 14 months left to live. With everything from her upcoming tour to her time with her teenage daughter now up in the air, Vivienne struggles to come to terms with this unexpected twist of fate.

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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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