Movies

Spare and lonesome, Nomadland follows Fern (Frances McDormand) while she navigates her new life after the loss of her husband and her community. Based on the Jessica Bruder book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century, the film offers a documentary-esque peek into life on the road, deftly handled by director Chloé Zhao. After the twin tragedies of her husband’s death and the erasure of her town, Fern dedicates herself to staying untethered. She packs up her rickety van with a handful of valuables — the plates...
“Blondes make the best victims,” Alfred Hitchcock said in 1977. “They’re like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints.” In Hitchcock’s 1963 film The Birds, protagonist Melanie Daniels screams as crows, gulls, and ravens scratch at her until she bleeds. Leading lady Tippi Hedren’s horror was real: filming the scene had a traumatic effect on her, and Hitchcock was well aware of it. Like his iconic thrillers, which are chilling through both violence and psychological torment, the story of Hitchcock and Hedren is, in some...
It’s no secret that the film industry took a major hit in the past year—cinema culture especially so. I spent the past year primarily enjoying older movies, and not really paying attention to new releases as I usually do during non-pandemic times. In reality, that’s quite a loss when considering how many truly idiosyncratic movies have been released online. In particular, the last twelve months have hosted a number of phenomenal films dealing with diverse accounts of contemporary womanhood. Here are ten that should definitely...
Produced by the Duplass brothers (The Skeleton Twins, Safety Not Guaranteed), Young Hearts follows teenage next-door neighbors Harper (Anjini Taneja Azhar) and Tilly (Quinn Liebling) as they embark on their first romantic relationship. Immediately, there’s a naive sweetness to the film — it’s captured in Tilly’s moon dog eyes while he stares at Harper across the library and in the light reflecting off of Harper’s clear braces when she laughs. There's also a complication: Tilly is Harper's older brother's best friend. Their relationship is shown intimately and...
Promising Young Woman, the debut film from actress and Killing Eve showrunner Emerald Fennell, is a divisive movie. It tackles the broad and insidious horror of violence against women, in all its casual and brutal forms, across an intricate plot. A technically precise, beat-by-beat saga of how trauma consumes and destroys, Promising Young Woman takes the rape revenge fantasy genre and gives it an upgrade, told in technicolor vignettes. Fennell knows how this story has been told before and makes it new, shepherding a powerhouse performance by Carey Mulligan,...
When picturing French women, many of our brains conjure up images colored by stereotypes of chic, young, white women smoking cigarettes at sidewalk cafes with airs of cool detachment. The French stereotypes many outsiders hold are perpetuated in part by French film, and most notably by the popular titles of the male-dominated French New Wave. An overwhelming number of leading ladies in French films over the past several decades have been hypersexualized — as in the case of Brigitte Bardot in Et dieu… crea la...
The Bechdel Test, created by Fun Home author Alison Bechdel, is a measure used in critiquing works of fiction. The test asks a simple question: does this work feature at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man? In 1985, when the Bechdel Test was published, this idea was a novel and radical thought. The test gained popularity and ultimately became a fast-handed way to loosely assess a works of fiction. And although there are critiques of the test—mainly, two women...
I was not a cheerleader in high school and I don’t regret making that choice. What I do regret, however, is spending literally any of my time over the past 21 years watching any film that doesn’t feature at least one high school football game. I miss drinking vodka out of a water bottle and pretending to know what's going on. I miss "spirit week" even though I hardly ever participated. Thankfully, there are plenty of films that feature cheerleading, a sport that is almost...
It should come as no surprise that Sofia Coppola’s newest project, On the Rocks, confirms her status as an eminently masterful and dynamic filmmaker. As it was with The Bling Ring, The Beguiled, and Marie Antoinette, Coppola’s range—from atmospheric, murderous melancholy to biting humor—is on full display, along with her laser-focused characterization.   Rashida Jones and Bill Murray star as a daughter and father at tenuous ends of a warm but complicated relationship. Murray, as Felix, is what can politely be called an incorrigible flirt—which, less euphemistically, means that he cannot...

Politically speaking, so much has changed recently that events from three years ago might feel like they happened in another lifetime. Or maybe, while preoccupied with Trump and Brexit, you missed the wild story behind the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the onetime heir apparent to former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. In February 2017, Kim Jong-nam was assassinated in a crowded airport terminal by two young women who snuck up behind him and rubbed the lethal VX nerve agent into his eyes. Many believed they...