Blood on Her Name

Opening with a pool of blood and panicked breathing, Blood on Her Name is a fairly typical neo-noir that’s well crafted enough to still be worth watching. It’s an anxious look at guilt and responsibility, and is well suited for lovers of genre fare who don’t need something entirely inventive to have a good time.…

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Swallow

To discuss Swallow is to begin with Safe. Todd Haynes‘s 80s-set melodrama is perhaps the foremost depiction of suburban trauma, the idea that the mundanity of housewivery is a sickness. Julianne Moore plays a woman who goes to her jazzercise classes, dinner parties, and cookie cutter home, but does not connect. She grows unhappy with…

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Eternal Beauty

Perhaps the sequence that best represents Craig Roberts‘s debut, Eternal Beauty is when June (Sally Hawkins) sits alone at a Halloween party dressed as a cowgirl, ignored by everyone around her. It’s an image that’s infantile, a child thrown aside to cry over a fallen birthday cake at a class party, but this time, the…

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The August Virgin

Sometimes warmth is all you can ask for in a film and Jonás Trueba’s The August Virgin brings just that. With the palette of a digital Rohmer drama, save for the rich, handwritten intertitles, it looks as gently familiar as its story feels. In Spain, the city one lives comes with significance in faith. Eva…

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Ema

Fire distilled on film, Chilean director Pablo Larraín‘s Ema is sharp and stylized. A blend of erotic drama and dance movie, it is an ode to movement and the body. It’s a film that wears its symbolism on its sleeve; gorgeously shot sequences are included for metaphor even when they don’t further the story. It…

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Corpus Christi

Religion in secular film is a tricky line to walk. The idolization must be clear within the art; the motives to follow some unseen doctrine must be understandable, yet it must not beg us to understand too. The latter becomes preaching, is essentially propaganda, and takes a film from a story to a sermon. In…

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Jumbo

Objectum sexuality is a subject either played as an offhand joke or used for shock value. Multiple cases have puzzled the internet since its inception, a sort of strange sideshow for headlines. It is a realm used for controversy or as a meme, certainly not one that is expected to appear in a near-crowdpleaser. Zoe…

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We Are the Young Girls on Fire

Film is a medium of storytelling. We see ourselves through our stories, what’s onscreen is a way of watching our stories on a larger scale. However, film hasn’t always shown everyone. Gay, trans, disabled, and non-white people (the latter at least in Western film), have been historically underrepresented onscreen. When our stories are shown, they’re…

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