MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 21, 2023: JUDY BLUME FOREVER

In a time when right-wing politicians’ and parents’ efforts to ban kids from reading “controversial” books are leading to terrified teachers and empty school library shelves, Judy Blume’s story couldn’t be more timely or relevant. Blume shares her experiences as a frequently challenged – but even more frequently celebrated — children’s author in Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchuk’s engrossing documentary Judy Blume Forever, which sheds light on both Blume’s career and her personal life.

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JUDY BLUME FOREVER – Review by Loren King

Even if you’ve never cracked open one of Judy Blume’s dozens of novels, this candid, engaging look at the author’s life and work is an enjoyable and enlightening way to spend 90 minutes. Blume — forthright, gracious, down to earth — is great company over the course of the film. She recounts how she willed her transformation from 1960s housewife to the defining author of YA fiction in the ‘70s and ‘80s. She made the transition to adult fiction and survived the first wave of right wing censorship in the 1980s when the Moral Majority found an ally in President Ronald Reagan.

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JUDY BLUME FOREVER – Review by Nikki Fowler

Filmmakers Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchok bring the absolute magic of the real-life journey of influential author Judy Blume to life in an intimate look at how she brought pure love, joy, and inspiration to readers worldwide. The biodoc shares details on how Blume got her start in writing. She was a young college graduate, newly married to her already established lawyer husband at the time, with him stating that he didn’t mind her hobby “as long as it didn’t interfere with raising their kids.”

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WEEK IN WOMEN: JUDY BLUME FOREVER is coming to Prime Video – Brandy McDonnell reports

Directed by Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchok, Judy Blume Forever chronicles the life and legacy of trailblazing author Judy Blume, the literary giant known for her novels for children, young adults and adults, including the beloved books Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Known for her radical honesty, Blume, who turned 85 in February, revolutionized the way millions of readers understood themselves, their adolescence and their sexuality through her books. Her fearless mission to openly discuss taboo subjects paved the way to real debate and conversation around book banning, censorship and teen sexual discovery.

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CATHERINE, CALLED BIRDY (TIFF 2022)- Review by Leslie Combemale

Catherine, Called Birdy goes beyond what those who might not have liked Lena Dunham’s other offerings might expect. It stays true to the spirit of Karwn Cushman’s book, what is now a YA classic, and still gives the film a life of its own, allowing the performers to bring each character to life. Sophie Okonedo is a particular standout as an older woman who has found a way to make peace with her lot, while finding independence and a bit of joy for herself. For spirited teen girls and those who love them, Catherine, Called Birdy will be a fascinating look at history as well as a cinematic affirmation of what girls have faced for centuries and continue to face to this day.

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SHARP STICK – Review by April Neale

Sharp Stick is one of the films you watch and glean very little from unless you act like “some schmoe off the bus from Idaho,” which the lead character, Sarah Jo (Kristine Froseth), does with alacrity. Sarah Jo is a fantastic caregiver, and has a way with challenged kids that would make her a star for any family dealing with a child with issues.

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WOMEN AT FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2022 – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas reports

Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival – one of the world’s biggest and most highly genre films festivals – returns in 2022 from 14 July to 3 August with its usual impressive line-up of world, national and regional premieres, as well as hosting a diverse array of international and local guests and signature special events. Of these latter, the unquestionable highlight of this year’s Fantasia is the awarding of the Canadian Trailblazer Award to pioneering filmmaker, author, critic, historian and curator, Kier-La Janisse.

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SHARP STICK (Sundance FF 2022) – Review by Lauren Anderson

After a decade away from feature films, Lena Dunham return to the Sundance Film Festival in 2022 with Sharp Stick, a witty sex comedy that explores coming-of-age through female sexuality. Starring Dunham, Sharp Stick is the story of a 26-year-old woman’s desire to explore sex in the most grandiose and bizarre way. Sharp Stick is a hilarious and engaging return to the screen for the Girls creator. Much like the HBO series did during its six-season run, Sharp Stick demonstrates growth and change through some of the oddest occurrences.

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HONEYDEW – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Honeydew sucks us into an intoxicating, delirious fever dream, where past and present collide in a nightmare zone of fucked up families and a veritable rainbow of other dysfunctional interpersonal relationships. And if that’s not enough, there’s a truly peculiar Lena Dunham cameo which has to be seen to be believed.

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