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  Female Film Critics 24/365  Recent Blog Posts

AWARE: GLIMPSES OF CONSCIOUSNESS – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

The documentary Aware: Glimpses of Consciousness is a heady experience – dare I say spiritual? – that stirs feelings of awe and wonder, humility and connection. In exploring how six people examine and probe just what consciousness is, the film creates a contemplative openness that words alone might find hard to describe. It’s a remarkable film.

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THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE (TIFF2021)- Review by Liz Braun

Even at the height of their influence, Jim and Tammy Bakker were difficult to take seriously. The notorious TV evangelists got famous selling that specific American Christianity that is equal parts mammon, myth and messianic misdirection. The Eyes of Tammy Faye, a new film based on an eponymous documentary, attempts to capture this particular moment and these people. Directed by Michael Showalter and starring Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield, it is short on script and long on latex.

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THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE (TIFF 2021) – Review by Pam Grady

Jessica Chastain might be hoping that the sheer amount of makeup on her face will be good enough at awards time to garner her some nominations. In becoming The Eyes of Tammy Faye‘s Tammy Faye Bakker, there is so much coverage on the actor’s visage (really, so much that it is practically spackle) – which makes her resemble a John Wayne Gacy clown painting and which she blames for possibly forever altering her skin – that it is practically a character unto itself and certainly more animated than anything else in this needless dramatic regurgitation of the 2000 documentary of the same name. Whether all that paint will be good enough for an Oscar nod in a movie that misfires remains to be seen.

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WHERE IS ANNE FRANK (TIFF2021) – Review by Ulkar Alakbarova

Anne Frank’s diary has been told, filmed, and has many documentaries about it. It seems there is nothing more left to be said until you watch Ari Folman’s Where is Anne Frank. This time, it takes a novel approach and revolves around Anne’s imaginary friend, Kitty, who finds herself in Frank’s house in Amsterdam. Getting a physical form, she steals Anne’s diary and begins the journey of her dearest friend, as she, with deep sadness, learns about Anne’s tragic fate.

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THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOY IN THE WORLD – Review by Diane Carson

Directors Kristina Lindström and Kristian Petri’s documentary tantalizingly titled The Most Beautiful Boy in the World prompts several questions. First and most specifically, who played the alluring Tadzio, that boy, in Italian director Luchino Visconti’s 1971 adaptation of Thomas Mann’s 1912 novel Death in Venice? Second, given the global idolizing he activated, what career followed and who is he today?

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SALOUM (TIFF 21) – Review by Maitland McDonagh

The genre-warping Saloum starts out as an action-heavy thriller and glides seamlessly into a supernatural horror tale with intense psychological underpinnings. Congolese filmmakers Jean Luc Herbulot Herbulot and Pamela Diop draw on both real-life horrors and fairytale darkness, and combined with intense performances across the board the result is genuinely disturbing. Suffice it to say that the film’s most disturbing images have nothing to do with bogeymen.

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THE ELECTRIC LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN (TIFF2021) – Review by Leslie Combemale

If you have cats in your home as part of your family, you have Louis Wain to thank. He was the 19th century illustrator of cat images and he introduced Victorian London to the wonder and joy of cats. A socially inept, eccentric soul, Wain created paintings and sketches of anthropomorphized felines, though many of his images were of his beloved pet cat Peter. In Will Sharp’s The Electric Life of Louis Wain Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role, along with Andrea Riseborough as one of his five sisters, and Claire Foy as his beloved Emily. The film is charming, sad, has great performances, and is visually sumptuous, with some of the best costuming and makeup you’ll see this year. It has such undeniable heart, you’ll be sure to forgive it being a little overly sentimental.

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FLEE (TIFF2021) – Review by Leslie Combemale

Danish writer/director Jonas Power Rasmussen’s documentary Flee about Afghan refugee Amin, his arduous journey getting to Denmark, and how that experience colors his current life, is destined to become a shining example of great indie animation. It may be painful to watch Amin go through the horrors he describes, but it is also an incredibly uplifting, inspiring story that will leave its viewers with a powerful feeling of hope.

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THE MAD WOMEN’S BALL (TIFF 2021) – Review by Leslie Combemale

Melanie Laurent creates a compelling world in which discarded women are blithely mistreated. She has also laid out a strong case for why women of the early 20th century, as in the time of The Snake Pit, as well as women today, struggle with being heard and believed by the mental health and medical communities. The Mad Women’s Ball is the kind of layered, femme-centric and very political story we need more of, and by fearless female filmmakers like Melanie Laurent.

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