MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 26, 2019: FOR SAMA

Raw, intimate, and devastating, Waad Al-Khateab’s documentary For Sama is a powerful story of what it was like to live in Aleppo during several years of Syria’s destructive civil war. Co-directed by Edward Watts, the film explores the human consequences and casualties of battle, while simultaneously proving that life can continue — and even flourish — in even the most hellish circumstances.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 19, 2019: Claudia Myers’ ABOVE THE SHADOWS

Just about everyone ends up feeling invisible at some point during their teen years — but what if you actually disappeared? That’s what happens to Holly in writer/director Claudia Myers Above the Shadows, a drama/fantasy that serves as an allegory for what it’s like to be marginalized out of your very existence.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Lynn Shelton’s SWORD OF TRUST

Opportunity makes strange — but ultimately well-suited — bedfellows in Lynn Shelton’s quirky dramedy Sword of Trust. Centered on an antique weapon that may (or may not) have played an unexpectedly important role in American history, it digs into the denial and hate that are tied into so much of the divisiveness that’s currently plaguing our country. All with an absurdist tone, naturally.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 28, 2019: Claire McCarthy’s OPHELIA

Much analyzed and, according to many, much misunderstood, Ophelia has always been one of Shakespeare’s most enigmatic characters. With Ophelia, director Claire McCarthy and screenwriter Semi Chellas aim to demystify Hamlet’s lady love, turning her into a smart, fully fleshed-out woman with spirit and agency.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 31, 2019: Rachel Carey’s ASK FOR JANE

Movies don’t get much more timely than Ask for Jane, director Rachel Carey’s earnest, fact-based feature film debut about a group of young college women in pre-Roe v. Wade Chicago who formed the Jane Collective, an underground organization that defied current laws and risked criminal prosecution to help women with unwanted pregnancies secure safe medical abortions.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 24, 2019: ASK DR. RUTH

With her twinkling eyes, mischievous grin, and clear zest for talking about all things intimate, Dr. Ruth Westheimer — the public version of her, anyway — has always been an easy woman to like. Happily, Ryan White’s engaging documentary about America’s pre-eminent sex therapist, Ask Dr. Ruth, provides ample evidence that she’s just as appealing once you get to know her better.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 17, 2019: Amy Poehler’s WINE COUNTRY

If you can’t get to wine country with your own girlfriends anytime soon, you could do far worse than tagging along with Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, and their crew as they celebrate female friendship in all its messy glory. Blending crisp whites and robust reds with both humor and introspection, Wine Country is like a cross between a buddy comedy and a midlife-crisis therapy session.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 10, 2019: Mary Harron’s CHARLIE SAYS

motw logo 1-35Bringing a female gaze to one of the 20th century’s most notorious criminals and the influence he exerted over his zealous followers Mary Harron’s Charlie Says is a compelling look at the power of community and the need to belong. By focusing her film on the women around Charles Manson, rather than directly on Manson himself, Harron shows us how that need can lead to delusion, denial, and destruction.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 3, 2019: Laura Steinel’s FAMILY

Stories about stand-offish/lonely/workaholic adults being transformed by their relationship with precocious/charming/offbeat kids aren’t hard to find in Hollywood, but — until Family — none have hinged on the transformative power of acceptance by the Juggalos. And that helps make Laura Steinel’s quirky, poignant comedy about a reluctant aunt and her awkward niece stand out from the crowd.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 26, 2019: Jennifer Townsend’s CATCHING SIGHT OF THELMA & LOUISE

Few films have made the kind of impact on feminist-minded moviegoers as Thelma & Louise did when it hit theaters in 1991. Ridley Scott’s story of female friendship and empowerment struck a powerful chord with women (yes, men, too, but let’s let the ladies own this one) — one that still resonates almost three decades later. In the compelling documentary Catching Sight of Thelma & Louise, director Jennifer Townsend, helming her first film at age 80, digs into exactly why the movie had — and continues to have — such an impact.

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