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 June 28, 2019: MAIDEN

As tense and exciting as anything scripted in Hollywood, Alex Holmes’ documentary Maiden is all the more remarkable for being a true story. It takes viewers back to 1989, when Tracy Edwards, then 24, became the first skipper of an all-female sailing crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race. Facing both the elements and skepticism from the establishment, Edwards and her team defied expectations — and scored a victory for feminism in the process.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 21, 2019: LATE NIGHT

Cross The Devil Wears Prada with 30 Rock, and you might get something like Late Night, director Nisha Ganatra’s timely comedy about a starry-eyed young comedy writer named Molly (Mindy Kaling) who gets the chance of a lifetime when she’s hired to work for iconic late-night talk show host Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson). Written by Kaling, the movie mixes behind-the-scenes showbiz humor with smart observations about what it’s really like for women to break down barriers.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 14, 2019: TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM

Inspiring and intimate, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ documentary Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am is a revealing portrait of a true American icon. The Nobel Prize-winning author shares details of her life and work honestly and openly, while fellow luminaries — and enthusiastic fans — like Oprah Winfrey, Fran Lebowitz, Walter Mosley, and many more wax rhapsodic about Morrison’s talent and significance as a writer.

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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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