It’s hard to argue with someone when they believe themselves to be a good person. Most people do I guess, but there’s some specific sort who believes that their success, or maybe their suffering — or any part of themselves they deem to be immutable — is what makes them virtuous. Maggie Gyllenhaal is The Kindergarten Teacher and she wears her vocation like a cross around her neck, returning to her New York suburb house in the evenings to a vacant husband, asshole kids, and a glass of wine.
The moment that Captain Marvel starts working is when Brie Larson’s hero crashes in through the roof of a Blockbuster Video. If you thought that nerd culture’s recent spate of eighties nostalgia was overbearing, just you wait. The nineties are back baby. Her first reaction to it is to blow the head off a True Lies standee. The disappearance of the video store was a great blow to the growing democratisation of culture; our local one was family owned, lived in a tiny place between the One-Stop and a chippy. They had as complete a collection of the studio Ghibli films as I think it was possible to have, the proprietor was the guy who introduced us to them.
Literally one of the first scenes in On the Basis of Sex is a love scene — as though the film wants to remind you that the octogenerian Supreme Court judge fucks. It’s got an odd structure: spending ten minutes profiling her time at Harvard Law School, ten hunting for jobs in New York, and the rest on the tax law case she takes on while a professor — her first as a future women’s rights attorney.
The heroes of Can You Ever Forgive Me? are lonely and sad, trying to grapple with the fact that they’ve achieved far less with their lives than intended. I am twenty four, I shouldn’t be able to relate in the way I do. The title is not just a reference to a particularly witty bon mot Melissa McCarthy’s forger, Lee Israel, puts into the mouth of Dorothy Parker — it’s also a question I ask of a younger version of me late at night, for letting their prodigious (and possibly imagined) potential go to waste.
Mary Queen of Scots wants to be a big feminist picture. A brutal excoriation of the wrongs done to women, powerful before their time, brought down by men who cannot counteance their position. In truth I have little idea how historical a work it is, writer Beau Willimon (of House of Cards, among others) adapted the work from an acclaimed biography — but one senses that his tastes are a little too contemporary for the material.
The way that Crystal Moselle shoots skateboarding feels a lot like anybody else would shoot flying. It is loose and liberating, the camera gliding alongside as they perform, humanity captured in the shared joy of movement. The drama of Skate Kitchen comes in the fact that this promise is not one held up by society. While the skate park should itself be a meritocratic space, your skill on the board legitimizing your right to ride, it is not immune from the prejudices that consume the rest of society.
I didn’t cry at all watching The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which seems to suggest that there’s something wrong with the film. Given my background I was sure that I would be a wreck the entire way through. But Desiree Akhavan is not interested in mining the story of young queer folks in enrolled in full time conversion therapy for the bleak, helpless, tragedy that many of those who suffered through such experiences describe it as. Instead we spend much of the time here looking at the moments that would help one survive it.