- Soul: Though it is marketed as a kids movie, the subtext of appreciating life feels appropriate and potent this year.
- Mulan: The live-action reboot of the 1998 animated film Mulan rises above its predecessor, making it fresh and relevant.
- Emma.: Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Jane Austen‘s eponymous heroine, Emma Woodhouse, introduced as clever, rich, and handsome. Directed by Autumn de Wilde, this adaption is entertaining, funny, and a lovely addition to the list of Austen adaptations.
- The Trial of the Chicago 7: The film tells. the story of the 7 men accused of being responsible for the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests. Though it is set in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it feels very 2020.
- Portrait of a Lady on Fire: This LBGTQ historical romance between a young woman and the female artist hired to paint her portrait is sweet, romantic, and powerful. It proves once more that love is love is love.
- Ordinary Love: Joan (Lesley Manville) and Tom (Liam Neeson) are your average middle-aged couple. When she is diagnosed with Breast Cancer, they both must deal with the rough road ahead.
- The Assistant: Jane (Julia Garner) is an assistant to a Harvey Weinstein-esque powerful movie producer. She starts to notice things that don’t sit right with her.
- I am Greta: This documentary follows teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg as she advocates for the world to pay serious attention to climate change.
- Mank: Gary Oldman plays Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz in a performance that is nothing but Oscar bait.
- #AnneFrank-Parallel Lives: Narrated by Helen Mirren, this documentary tells not just Anne’s story. It follows other young women who survived the Holocaust. Parallel to the stories of the past, the viewer is traveling with another young woman as she visits different countries in present-day Europe.
When it comes to art, it is more than the materials that the artist used to create it. It tells as much about the artist as it does the subject.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire was released in the US this weekend. In 1760, Marianne (Noémie Merlant) is a painter whose newest commission is to paint a young woman who lives on the island of Brittany. Her subject is Heloise (Adèle Haenel), whose marriage is pending on whether or not her fiance will like her portrait. Heloise refused to sit for the previous painter, leaving their work unfinished.
Marianne pretends to be a companion for Heloise so she can complete the portrait. As the women bond, they become friends and then something more. But the reality is that while they are becoming closer, they both know that the end date of their relationship is coming.
To the naked eye, this film appears to be an LGBTQ period drama with the standard narrative and character hallmarks. But it is more than that. The film shows a world in which men are in the background and true equality exists between women. It also reminds the audience of the severe limitations on women during the period in a way that does not hit the audience over the head.
I absolutely recommend it.