2021 End-of-the-Year Viewing Roundup

December 7th, 2021

Year two of the pandemic lifestyle is fast coming to a close and, thanks to to vaccines and boosters, as well as ever more effective masks, a number of cinemas are back in business. Alas, many are faltering, due to low attendance, so, if you feel safe attending your local theater, we’d recommend you support them by checking out the following films we have enjoyed seeing as Nature — and Hollywood — intended, on the big screen…


INDIA SWEETS  & SPICES (in theaters) – Brought to us by the producers of RICH CRAZY ASIANS, and written directed by Geeta Malik, this fun, feminist-friendly comedy examines race, class and gender with a light yet intelligent and very heartfelt touch offering laugh out loud moments and moving ones, too.

THE POWER OF THE DOG (in theaters and streaming on Netflix)– Jane Campion’s latest masterpiece merits all the accolades it’s receiving and more. A western thriller that offers a very nuanced exploration of toxic masculinity with excellent performances, a brilliant use of subtext and exquisite direction all around. Best seen on the big screen to capture its full glory, though by now it should be streaming as well.

BELFAST (in theaters and streaming on Prime/Apple) – I’m not the biggest Kenneth Branagh fan (don’t even get me started on his misguided take on FRANKENSTEIN that strips Shelley’s strong female characters of their agency), but this one he got very right. It’s always wise for a storyteller to write he knows. Inspired from Branagh’s real life coming of age story, BELFAST provides a well-crafted window into late 1960s North Ireland juxtaposing pain with joy, communal strife with family ties, and cold, harsh reality with the magic of movies, music and dance– all with remarkable aplomb (and Dame Judi Dench to boot, which is never a bad thing.


JULIA (in theaters): Before there was Anthony Bourdain or Wolfgang Puck, there was Julia Child. This cultural icon revolutionized American life by reintroducing the masses to the joy, pleasure and creativity of cooking at a time when preparing a meal consisted of sticking a pre-packaged “dinner” into a microwave. She also helped pave the way for women to pursue cooking as a profession at a time when women were unwelcome in professional kitchens. While she didn’t identify herself as a feminist, she grew increasingly progressive, eventually becoming a pro-choice activist who embraced the gay community during the AIDS epidemic.

SPENCER (in theaters): Kristen Stewart’s performance as Princess Diana is the main reason to see this biopic which centers on the monarchs Christmas celebration at a secluded country estate. Celebration might be too generous a description, as the unhappy princess is depicted as a prisoner trapped in a life and marriage she can no longer tolerate. The film could have used more context to understand her plight and the script fails to emphasis her resilient spirit, but despite these flaws, Stewart shines in the lead. Her portrayal of Diana is both compelling and haunting –  a young woman struggling to retain her dignity and sanity while failing to live up to impossible expectations imposed upon an indifferent House of Windsor.

Not in Theaters, But Worth Revisiting at Home:

CAROL (available on Prime and Vudu): This film developed a cult following since its 2015 release. It’s easy to understand the fervent passion of the “cult of Carol” considering that this is one of the greatest romantic dramas released in the past decade. Cate Blanchett and Mara Rooney portray the lovers-a married woman with a child who falls in love with an aspiring artist. They embark on a romance during an oppressive era when such an illicit affair could have devastating consequences for the lovers. This film didn’t do well at box office when initially released but, thankfully, has since found a devoted audience.

Safe, Healthy and Happy Holidays, Everybody. See you next year!


Devi & Amy



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