MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 9, 2020: THE GLORIAS

Modern feminism owes a lot to Gloria Steinem, and director Julie Taymor revels in explaining why in The Glorias, her creative biopic about a woman who has fought tirelessly throughout her life for the rights of all women. Taking the title of Steinem’s autobiography — My Life on the Road — literally, Taymor centers her story on a bus on which primary passengers are Steinem at different ages: child (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), young teen (Lulu Wilson), young woman (Alicia Vikander), and mature activist (Julianne Moore).

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 2, 2020: MISBEHAVIOUR

Activism and intersectionality are at the heart of Philippa Lowthorpe’s fact-based dramedy Misbehaviour, which follows the tumultuous events surrounding the 1970 Miss World pageant in London and their impact on the women’s liberation movement. While always firmly on the side of the feminists who disrupted the event to protest its objectification of women, the film also makes sure to include other important perspectives on women’s roles and representations — which ultimately makes its message all the more effective.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK September 11, 2020: MULAN

This isn’t one of Disney’s shot-for-shot, song-for-song live-action remakes. Rather, Niki Caro’s Mulan is a serious, often-intense reimagining of the ancient Chinese ballad that also inspired the studio’s 1998 animated hit. More Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon than Disney Princess story, it’s a beautifully filmed epic that gives Hua Mulan increased agency and confidence. Mulan is a hero who may hail from olden times, but speaks to our own.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 21, 2020: AFRICAN VIOLET

Both poignant and insightful, Mona Zandi Haqiqi’s African Violet is a slice-of-life drama set in a working class neighborhood in Tehran. With strong, naturalistic performances and a vivid sense of place, Haqiqi’s film draws you into its characters’ lives, sharing their triumphs and challenges and creating understanding and building strong feelings of empathy.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 14, 2020: THE GRIZZLIES

The Grizzlies, based on a true story, is about a fired-up white outsider coming into a close-knit Indigenous community full of confidence that, with his passion and approachability, he can connect with the skeptical teens he’s there to teach and make a difference. And, to be fair, he does exactly that. But not before he’s forced to learn some hard truths about the folly of thinking you can “fix” another culture — or understand people who’ve been traumatized for generations by colonialism if you haven’t been through it yourself.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 31, 2020: RADIOACTIVE

In a time when we seem forced to plead with society daily to believe both women and science, the story of Marie Curie feels especially relevant, despite taking place more than a century ago. Marjane Satrapi’s Radioactive brings this fierce, opinionated, passionate woman (played powerfully by Rosamund Pike) to vivid life, chronicling how she changed the course of history with her discovery of radium.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 24, 2020: WE ARE THE RADICAL MONARCHS

Director Linda Goldstein Knowlton may have started filming We Are the Radical Monarchs in 2015, but this compelling documentary about a scouting troop specifically and intentionally centered on girls of color couldn’t feel any more timely than it does in mid-2020, with social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement (finally) at the forefront of the public consciousness.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 17, 2020: JOHN LEWIS – GOOD TROUBLE

“It’s because of you, John.” That was the short, powerful note that President Barack Obama wrote to Congressman John Lewis on Obama’s first inauguration day, and director Dawn Porter’s moving documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble shows us exactly how right the president was. The film chronicles the highs and lows of Lewis’ life and career, set into the political and historical context of the 1960s to the present day.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 10, 2020: THE OLD GUARD

Anyone who enjoys watching Charlize Theron kick ass is going to get a kick out of The Old Guard, director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s adaptation of Greg Rucka’s graphic novels about a squad of immortal mercenaries who fight for the good of humanity. Not only is it full of popcorn action, but it raises interesting questions about duty, loyalty, and chosen families.

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