And so we come to the end of another challenging year with much room for improvement in the year ahead. On the bright side, movie offerings have been picking up the past month or so. Here are a few we recommend to end the year on a cinematic high note:
CALL JANE (movie, 2022, Prime) This is the second movie I’ve seen in 2022 depicting women circumnavigating a society where abortion is illegal, the first being the French film, HAPPENING. Unlike its French counterpart, however, rather than relying on graphic horror to convey its message, CALL JANE focuses on the positive, inspired by the real life underground network called The Janes.
BARBARIAN (movie, 2022, Prime) It’s a rare treat to come across a truly fresh, innovative horror film filled with surprises, but BARBARAIN succeeds in spades. In fact, to capitalize on the fun twists and turns, I’d recommend going into this with as little prior knowledge as possible. I will say, it boasts a unique structure, with shifting perspectives and strong female characters you won’t soon forget. And much like with the likewise impressive IT FOLLOWS, the Detroit setting is used to brilliant effect, becoming a character unto itself.
EMERGENCY (movie 2022, Prime): This is another one for which I’d recommend going in knowing as little as possible, but in a nutshell I’d describe it as GET OUT meets DEAR WHITE PEOPLE with a touch of WEEKEND at BERNIE’S. That said, even though much of it plays off like a breezy comedy, the suspense is intense because we know the stakes going in. A well done film with great characters, an engaging albeit often highly uncomfortable plot, and lots to discuss by movie’s end.
THE MENU (in theaters): Confession time: I could watch Anya Taylor Joy in a film with an awful script and terrible production values and I’d probably still enjoy it. She’s just so fabulous in everything she’s in. And THE MENU’S no exception. She plays a kickass heroine any feminist would be proud to know. Beyond that, the movie itself is a fascinating if not entirely satisfying journey. Though Joy plays the undeniably most pleasing character, it’s the chef’s journey not hers that propels the story, as such the story would have more meaning if it centered around him. Then again, as much as I appreciate Ralph Fiennes’ impressive performance, I did not regret spending more time focused on Joy.
THE NANNY (Playing in theaters): A young Senegalese woman who has recently immigrated to New York City finds work raising the child of a well-heeled couple on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. As if that weren’t horrifying enough, she soon finds her days and nights plagued with terrifying hallucinations and visions that nearly unravel her already challenging existence. This film effectively captures the vulnerability and loneliness of the immigrant experience and the exploitation that they are forced to navigate as they pursue what is left of the American Dream. THE NANNY is the debut of Senegalese female director Nikyatu Jusu-and won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, only the second film directed by a Black woman to receive that honor from this renowned festival.
SHE SAID (Playing in theaters): It’s been five years since The New York Times broke the shocking story of the sexually abusive behavior and the subsequent legal settlements of then Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein. This momentous news story exposed the systemic and pervasive sexism that protected Weinstein and other sexual predators in the entertainment industry. This scandal led to the #MeToo movement and a societal change that altered the misogynistic practices of the entertainment industry forever. SHE SAID is the story of the two female journalists who investigated Weinstein, and while it doesn’t rival the intrigue and thriller aspects of that other journalism movie
ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN, it’s still a compelling portrayal of the professional challenge they faced to get the victims to speak on the record. These two determined journalists would be awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, a well-deserved honor for their reporting that brought down one of the most notorious sexual predators in Hollywood history.
Have a safe and enjoyable holiday season and a super happy new year!
Devi & Amy
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