MOVIE OF THE WEEK February 21, 2020: THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS

Help comes from unexpected places when needed the most in The Kindness of Strangers, Lone Scherfig’s heartfelt drama about a handful of people whose lives intersect amid the bustling anonymity of New York City. Centering on the plight of a woman who flees an abusive marriage with her two young sons, the narrative shows how circumstances — and life itself — can turn on a dime.

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PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE – Review by Diane Carson

Writer/director Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a haunting examination of love and the restrictions imposed on women by eighteenth-century French society. Artist Marianne is commissioned to paint a portrait of Héloïse, a work solicited by her potential husband in Milan for his approval and acceptance of Héloïse as his wife.

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THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS – Review by Cate Marquis

Zoe Kazan and a fine ensemble of actors play characters on the margins of life in Manhattan in Danish writer/director Lone Scherfig’s The Kindness of Strangers. The narrative has a stream of dark comedy as it follows the lives of a mixed bag of struggling strangers.

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PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE – Review by Karen Gordon

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait De La Jeune Fille En Feu) is a stately-paced slow-burn of a film about repression, love, and the secret life of women in the 18th century, and beyond. Writer/Director Céline Sciamma sets her film in 1770 in France. Painter Marianne has been summoned to an isolated house on a rugged island in Brittany and commissioned to paint a portrait of a lovely young woman named Heloise. The job is straightforward. The circumstances are not.

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THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

The Kindness of Strangers‘ capable cast of actors is topped by Zoe Kazan as Clara, a young mother who runs away from Buffalo to New York City to save her sons from their father, an abusive cop who gets off on violence. With little means to support herself and no safe haven that she can afford for her kids save for libraries, she does what the title says – she reaches out to average citizens who just happen to be do-gooders.

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THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS – Review by Sheila Roberts

Written and directed by Scherfig, the New York City drama features an impressive ensemble cast that includes Zoe Kazan, Andrea Riseborough, Bill Nighy, Caleb Landry Jones, Jay Baruchel and Tahar Rahim. Scherfig attempts to write an authentic story that will resonate with audiences, including those that may have never experienced such bleak situations in their own lives.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK February 14, 2020: ORDINARY LOVE

There’s a reason why more movies are about weddings than marriages. It’s easier to tie up a story with bells ringing and happy “I do”s than to accurately depict the beautifully complicated thing that is a long-term committed relationship — especially the kind of real, relatable, warts-and-all relationship many people actually live out. But Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn’s Ordinary Love accomplishes that feat with intimate grace, thanks to honest storytelling and heartbreaking performances by Liam Neeson and Leslie Manville.

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Kitty Green on THE ASSISTANT, Harvey Weinstein and Sexual Harassment – Jessica Zack interviews

Kitty Green was on the Stanford campus in fall 2017, conducting interviews for a documentary about sexual misconduct on college campuses, when news of sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein broke. The Assistant, Green’s feature film about a day in the life of a producer’s assistant, the type of person New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, who broke the Weinstein story, characterize as being part of the “complicity machine” that enabled Weinstein’s monstrous behavior for so many years.

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ORDINARY LOVE – Review by Sheila Roberts

An ordinary couple faces extraordinary challenges in Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn’s moving drama, Ordinary Love. It’s an intimate, thoughtful portrait of a loving husband (Tom/Liam Neeson) and wife (Joan/Leslie Manville), who have been together for many years. They are confident and comfortable in their relationship, and know and understand each other very well. Their familiarity with one another is evident in the way one completes the other’s sentences.

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