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 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 23, 2018: PIONEERS: FIRST WOMEN FILMMAKERS

motw logo 1-35The invaluable film distributor Kino Lorber has assembled a truly eye-opening collection of films from the silent era—all made by women. Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers is a DVD/Blu-ray box set that presents more than 50 silent feature and short films digitally mastered from 2k and 4K restorations from a variety of sources. The six disc set is divided by subject matter. Disc one is devoted to the works of Alice Guy-Blaché. All together, the set is essential viewing.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 16, 2018: BECOMING ASTRID

motw logo 1-35When you hear the name “Pippi Longstocking,” you likely immediately picture a vivacious, free-spirited Scandinavian scamp with red braids and a talent for mischief. But what about her creator, celebrated Swedish author Astrid Lindgren? In Becoming Astrid, director/co-writer Pernille Fischer Christensen reminds us that the authors behind some of the world’s most beloved children’s book characters were living, breathing people with complicated lives and all-too-human struggles.

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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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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 12, 2018: SADIE

motw logo 1-35Moody and pensive, Megan Griffiths’ Sadie isn’t your typical coming-of-age drama. It centers on 13-year-old Sadie (Sophia Mitri Schloss), who’s determined to do whatever it takes to keep her family together, despite her soldier father’s long deployment overseas and her mother, Rae’s (Melanie Lynskey), increasing loneliness and dissatisfaction with her long-distance marriage. Schloss and Lynskey deliver heart wrenching performances in this strikingly femme-centric film which shoots an arrow right into the heart of domestic disruption that results from faraway wars.

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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 September 21, 2018: COLETTE

Keira Knightley shines as the star of Wash Westmoreland’s “Colette,” a beautifully realized biopic about the early years of the celebrated French writer. Knightly immerses herself in the role, bringing Colette’s personal struggles — and self-awakening — vividly to life within the lavish Belle Epoche environs established with gorgeous sets, costumes and cimenatography.

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