MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 30, 2020 – US KIDS

If there’s any upside to the turmoil and tragedy that the United States — and the world — has been experiencing in recent years, it’s the fact that it’s shaping and motivating a powerful surge of youth activism. While it’s certainly not fair for society to look to teenagers to solve problems caused by generations of adults, there’s no denying the passion, drive, and ingenuity of change-makers like Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg, and the Parkland shooting survivors. Filmmaker Kim A. Snyder introduces us to several of the latter in her moving documentary Us Kids.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 23, 2020: ON THE ROCKS

On the Rocks feels a bit like what you’d get if Woody Allen and Wes Anderson made a movie together — only with a lot more feminine energy, empathy, and understanding. Sofia Coppola’s dramedy tackles modern marriage, motherhood, career uncertainty, and parent/adult child relationships with a light touch and strong performances from a talented cast.

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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 25, 2020: BLACKBIRD

Centered on an emotional, moving performance by Susan Sarandon, Roger Michell’s Blackbird (a remake of the Danish film Silent Heart) is a powerful family drama about love and loss — and letting someone say goodbye on their own terms. It addresses the often-controversial issue of assisted death head on, ultimately depicting it as one of the hardest but most important choices a person can make for themselves.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 25, 2020: LINGUA FRANCA

In telling the story of undocumented transgender Filipina caregiver Olivia, writer/director/actress Isabel Sandoval’s quietly powerful drama Lingua Franca calls attention to an issue that too many people find easy to dismiss as not their concern. And it does so with empathy and humanity, hopefully opening hearts and minds before the credits roll.

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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 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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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 3, 2020: THE AUDITION

The old saying “still waters run deep” is an apt description of the main character in Ina Weisse’s intensely observed drama The Audition. Anna (Nina Hoss) is a wife, a mother, and a music teacher whose life might look calm and stable from the outside but whose inner life and conflicts threaten to boil over daily. Hoss’ magnetic performance will keep you invested in where Anna’s choices take her.

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