SPOTLIGHT   

LIZ WHITTEMORE helms ReelNewsDaily.com, hosts Girls On Film Podcast, blogs horror at I SCREAM YOU SCREAM, serves as a member of Team #MOTW and as an AWFJ Board Member.

  Female Film Critics 24/365  Recent Blog Posts

WEEK IN WOMEN: Sundance Film Festival Hits 50-50 – Brandy McDonnell reports

The 2021 Sundance slate includes 71 feature-length films, representing 29 countries and 38 first-time feature filmmakers. The films were selected from 14,092 submissions, including 3,500 feature-length films. Of the feature film submissions, 1,377 were from the U.S. and 2,132 were international. 50% of the 10 directors in this year’s U.S. Dramatic Competition identify as women, while 40% identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color). In addition, 64% of the 11 directors in this year’s U.S. Documentary Competition identify as women, while 73% identify as BIPOC and 9% as LGBTQ+.

Read more

TRUE MOTHERS – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

As someone who was given up for adoption as an infant, True Mothers couldn’t help but touch my heart and souL. What most got to me about Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase’s touching drama about a well-off Tokyo couple with an adopted 5-year-old son were the two mothers at the center of the story. The message that matters? That maternal love can come in many forms.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 22, 2021: IDENTIFYING FEATURES

Heartbreaking and quietly powerful, writer/director Fernanda Valadez’ debut drama Identifying Features shines a light on the complex, tragic realities of what can happen when undocumented immigrants set out to cross the border from Mexico into the United States. It is a truly heartbreaking film that puts a very human face on a humanitarian crisis, sparking both empathy and outrage.

Read more

THE WHITE TIGER – Review by Diane Carson

Tackling India’s repressive, inflexible caste system, The White Tiger chronicles Balram Halwai’s fawning deference, growing resentment, and eventual violent rejection of his submissive station. Adapted from Aravind Adiga’s 2008 Man Booker Prize winning novel, director Ramin Bahrani manages to create a quirky, even occasionally and unexpectedly amusing presentation of Balram’s abject subservience evolving into self-assured entitlement.

Read more

MY LITTLE SISTER -Review by Valerie Kalfrin

My Little Sister, Switzerland’s entry for the foreign language Oscar category, ostensibly lets audiences peek inside the complex relationship between fraternal twins as one struggles with cancer. While that’s a poignant part of this tender drama, the film’s underlying story is more about how much the titular sister gives to everyone but herself.

Read more

MLK/FBI – Review by Pam Grady

Filmmaker Sam Pollard doesn’t just bring history to life, but Dr. Martin Luther King himself. There he is: living, breathing, changing hearts, minds, and society. MLK/FBI serves as a timely reminder. Set in a past that is rapidly receding, it speaks directly to the era we are living through now with a politicized FBI and Justice Dept. Hoover was a villain who misused his office to persecute a man whose only crime was leading the fight for equal rights. Hoover’s heirs are still at it, with more sophisticated surveillance equipment and more targets, people who wear bullseyes on their backs simply for advocating for justice and change. It is institutional behavior that was and is the nation’s shame.

Read more

OUR FRIEND – Review by Carol Cling

Too bad Charles Dickens has dibs on the title Our Mutual Friend. It would have worked perfectly for Our Friend – which played at Toronto International Film Festival 2019 as The Friend.. The latter is what Matthew Teague titled his Esquire magazine article about his wife’s losing battle with cancer – and their best friend’s role in helping them deal with the agonizing reality. This screen adaptation adaptation ricochets through the years so relentlessly you need a spreadsheet to chart who’s who, who’s where – and why they keep saying things everybody already knows.

Read more

A WOMAN’S WORK: THE NFL’S CHEERLEADER PROBLEM – Review by April Neale

A Woman’s Work: The NFL’s Cheerleader Problem, a documentary directed by Chinese-Canadian filmmaker Yu Gu, focuses primarily on two cheerleaders’ personal stories and their legal battle for better pay and working conditions in the male-dominated industry. The NFL has coddled the owners and used cheerleaders since its inception, paying mascots and beer slingers more than the hard working dancers the fans come to see, and cheer on their teams. Some get no pay, some get less than the legal minimum wage.

Read more

BRIDGERTON – Review by Susan Granger

While Netflix’s Bridgerton sprawling mini-series may seem like Gossip Girl-meets-Downton Abbey, it’s unique in reimagining 19th century Britain with aristocratic families seeking favor from Black royalty. Produced by Shonda Rhimes, it’s fun, frothy escapism. According to showrunner Chris Van Dusen, regarding that era’s excess, beauty and decadence: “It was over-the-top: the costumes, the jewels, the glittering ballrooms, the country homes.”

Read more

HERSELF – Review by Diane Carson

Director Phyllida Lloyd dramatizes a complex, difficult issue in Herself, namely, domestic abuse and the struggle to escape its emotional and physical toll. Nurturing her girls Emma and Molly, while fending off husband Gary’s manipulative intimidation, Sandra must honor his court-required weekend visitations, even though Molly sobs and begs to opt out of any time with her father.

Read more