Sex, Scandals and the Academy Awards – April Viewing Roundup

April 4th, 2023

In honor of last month’s Academy Awards, Amy’s chosen some excellent films nominated for an Oscar, while Devi followed viewing whims devoid of any themes (beyond feminist-friendly, that is)…


THE QUIET GIRL (Playing in select theaters): This Irish language film is notable for several reasons. First, it’s told in a language that’s not often spoken let alone featured for a full-length film. THE QUIET GIRL was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best International Feature Film, making it the first film from Ireland to achieve that honor. Cait is the young heroine whose familial background of parental neglect has rendered her painfully shy, vulnerable, and withdrawn from her peers. But when she is sent off to spend the summer with a married couple on a farm, she responds to their caring family life and begins the process of withdrawing from herself. This simple but profound film is about the importance of attention, gentle nurturing and even a regimen of daily chores on the farm can have on the development of a young girl. The film is told from the point of view of Cait so the director is able to fully explore how the environment impacts her growth and emotional health. The film never portrays females as delicate creatures, but rather as resilient beings whose very human need to be noticed and valued render them unique and not weak.

THE RED SUITCASE (Playing in select theaters): A teenage girl from Iran arrives at the Luxembourg airport. She is there to enter into an arranged marriage with an older man she’s never met. She attempts to escape from the airport without his detecting her, and what follows is a suspenseful short film that portrays the attempts of a young woman to forge a new life free of religious tyranny and misogynistic oppression. THE RED SUITCASE was nominated for best live action short film and highlights the persecution and violence confronting Iranian women, a crisis so prevalent that it follows them even after they have escaped from Iran.

THE MARTHA MITCHELL EFFECT (Playing in select theaters and Netflix): Martha Mitchell is one of the most interesting women in recent US History that many of us have never even heard of. Mitchell was the outspoken wife of Richard Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell. She earned the enmity of the Republican establishment for all-time when she spoke out against Richard Nixon upon realizing that one of the burglars arrested for the Watergate break-in had been her former security guard. In an attempt to silence her, Mitchell was kidnapped and held against her will at a hotel where she was subject to verbal threats and physical violence. She eventually escaped and blew the whistle on a corrupt White House that had gone to great lengths to keep their connection to the Watergate burglary hidden from the public. After resigning from the presidency, Nixon blamed Martha Mitchell for the scandal that brought down his administration. The current political dysfunction and extremism that plagues the United States may have its origins from this tumultuous era.


EMILY (2023 in theaters): What a moving, tragic and yet magical story about how stories are shaped from our lives. It’s also about gender, family and sexuality—what more can you ask for than that? Incidentally, this one would make an excellent companion piece for THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS, in terms of exploring how writers find their inspiration and bring them to life on the page.

ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL (Miniseries, 2022, Netflix): Wow, this one’s not to be missed if you’re into crime dramas. Featuring a female-driven cast and brilliantly depicted #metoo workplace case that feels all too familiar and real, this one is filled with food for thought and nail-biting tension that doesn’t let up until the very surprising end.

SEX LIVES OF COLLEGE GIRLS (Series, 2022, HBO Max): I was late to the party for this one, admittedly because the title sounded a bit too reality show to me. But I’m so glad a trusted friend recommended it, because it’s one of the funniest, most upbeat, feel good shows since TED LASSO arrived on the scene. Soon headed for its third season, SEX LIVES is bound to put a smile on any feminist’s face.



Amy & Devi



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