Tribeca 2023 Women’s Performances To Watch – Liz Whittemore reports

The 2023 edition of The Tribeca Film Festival upped the ante for female filmmakers. Femme-centric storytelling gave us innumerable outstanding performances from women of all ages. As usual, I begin my annual roundup with the caveat that this list pertains solely to the films I watched. You can read more about the festival lineup in our collective AWFJ coverage, and it is aplenty this year. Here is my 2023 list of Women to Watch from Tribeca.

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THE LISTENER (Tribeca 2023) – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

In the wee hours of the morning, a woman walks onto her porch, talking on the phone with someone she’s just met. The caller, a college professor freshly out of a job, has no close family or friends—and no rational argument against killing herself. She didn’t always think this way, she says, her voice calm, analytical. “Sometimes the energy to live exceeds the benefit.” What to say to someone like her? As the conversation unfolds over twenty-six minutes in the meditative drama The Listener, we’re riveted, a testament to the power of empathy and connection in a world often aching with loneliness.

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CREED III – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

More of a split decision than a knockout, Creed III immerses viewers in visceral boxing scenes but falls short in the character development that made the first two entries in this franchise such a delight. Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) again returns as Adonis Creed, the son of Apollo Creed, Rocky Balboa’s foe turned friend from the original Rocky franchise. Adonis, also called Donnie, is now a world championship boxer with a wealth of success who feels antsy in his retirement—one of several plot points that feel rushed and similar to the earlier Rocky films.

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CREED III – Review by Susan Kamyab

Creed III is not exactly a knockout, but it is an intense match with some fantastic performances, and a solid directorial debut by Michael B. Jordan. Writing wise, the story has its flaws and feels a little slow at times. However, Jordan’s creative shots and thrilling fight and training sequences help compensate for any sluggish moments. It punches up enough emotions and excitement to satisfy any Rocky fan and is a crowd pleaser that hits harder when watched on the big screen.

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CREED III – Review by Nadine Whitney

In his directorial debut, Creed III, Michael B. Jordan isn’t reinventing the wheel in terms of a sporting story, but he is adding an emotional nuance to it that makes it more than an ex-friends turned enemies battle of wills. Jordan wears his heart on his sleeve as both director and actor. Jonathan Majors could not be more perfectly cast as Dame – he is an actor that even at over six foot and looking like he could throw a truck across a room, is able to exude an internal intensity that is often astonishing. It feels that both Creed and Dame are fighting for their respective lives. Forgiveness is the key to Creed III, whether that be forgiving a child for his reckless actions or forgiving a man who was forged in the worst kind of fire. Jordan’s debut is a knockout.

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PASSING (Sundance2021) – Review by Pamela Powell

Rebecca Hall’s impassioned feature directorial debut, “Passing,” is based on Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel of the same name. The story depicts two Black women who were once childhood friends, Clare who ‘passes’ for white and Irene who’s troubled by her own ability to do so, who are unexpectedly reunited. Their chance encounter will change their lives forever as they are pushed to look at the world through a different lens.

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MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL – Review by Susan Granger

Years ago, Will Smith used to brag that he (via his movies) “owned” the Fourth of July. No more! Without charismatic Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, this reboot is like a firecracker that barely fizzles.

The stand-alone story revolves around Molly (Tessa Thompson), a young Brooklyn woman whose love for Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time and childhood memories of her parents being neuralyzed by MIB after seeing an alien has given her insight into what’s invisible to most Earthlings.

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LITTLE WOODS – Review by Roxana Hadadi

The Western genre has experienced a modern resurgence over the past few years with narratives that pull focus away from the genre’s hypermasculine origins and toward stories that are more individualistic, more character-driven. in Little Woods, Nia DaCosta, Tessa Thompson, and Lily James have created something tense, timely and empathetic, expanding the Western genre and adding another slice of American life to it.

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