DAMSEL – Review by Nadine Whitney

Subverting fairy tale tropes has become somewhat a trope in itself. Damsel starring Millie Bobby Brown does nothing particular to add to the feminist conversation surrounding the empowerment of young women — if anything it takes from it. Damsel is unfortunately a minor and forgettable action driven dark fantasy fairy tale. The themes are at odds with how the film is presented. There is no mystery or intrigue, the characterisation is flat, and the story happens precisely the way one expects it to. There needs to be more films about empowering young women, and a failure such as Damsel might do more damage than good to the cause of depicting self-defined heroines in cinema.

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DAMSEL – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Damsel, the new fantasy adventure on Netflix starring Millie Bobby Brown, fits squarely within the performer’s confident, feisty brand. The 20-year-old, also an executive producer here, shot to fame in 2016 as Eleven, a girl with telekinetic and psychic powers, in the Netflix series Stranger Things. In Damsel, Brown plays Elodie, a spirited princess who faces off against a dragon after an arranged marriage ends with her tossed into a pit as a sacrifice. While the film’s title and setup toy with the trope of the damsel in distress, Brown is so self-assured, there’s never any sense that Elodie is in real peril, which saps the film of significant tension.

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LAND – Review by Lois Alter Mark

With Land, the new movie she both stars in and directs, Wright has traded in the peak of American political power for the peak of a remote mountain far removed from civilization. Land is a slow, quiet, thoughtful movie about the human condition. It’s about the profound power of human kindness and our need for connection. Focusing on grief and isolation and, ultimately, the importance of connecting with other people, Land just may be the perfect movie for the pandemic.

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LAND – Review by Susan Granger

Building on the experience of helming several episodes of House of Cards in which she also starred, Robin Wright drops all vestiges of glamor to direct and star in this wilderness saga. Following a devastating, unfathomable loss, Edee Holzer (Wright) is determined to leave Chicago and all civilization far behind her. Buying an old cabin high in Wyoming’s Rocky Mountains, she discards her cellphone, returns her rental car and tries to live off the land: “I’m here in this place because I don’t want to be around people.”

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LAND (Sundance2021) – Review by Rachel West

Robin Wright sets out into the wilderness in her directorial debut feature, Land.in which she also stars as stars as a woman grappling with the aftermath of a tragedy. Though her grief is not explicitly explained at the outset, one gathers she’s been deeply traumatized by the unexpected death of her husband and young son. Packing up mementos of her life into a cardboard box, Edee loads a U-Haul with supplies and heads into the mountains in search of a solitude in a remote cabin.

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LAND (Sundance2021) – Review by Pamela Powell

Mother Nature can be harsh, but she can also be healing. We see both sides of her in Robin Wright’s feature directorial debut “Land.” Wright also stars in the film as Edee, a woman running away to the remote wilderness as a means to escape her memories of a tragedy. Her success in escaping is more difficult than she imagined as she leaves everything and everyone far behind.

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20 Femme-Helmers in the 2020 Oscars Pipeline – Susan Wloszczyna reports

One upside to this topsy-turvy season is the release of superb femme-centric, femme-helmed titles that are solid Oscars contenders that could easily make the Best Picture and Best Director cut. There are at least five actresses making their directing debuts, a pop star going behind the camera, old-school directors, new-school directors, blockbuster overseers and at least two former competitors in the category. Here is what might be the best of an encouragingly large batch.

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