In Review: The Wife

Something is unwell in The Wife, the Meg Wolitzer adaptation from director Björn Runge and starring Glenn Close as its titular enigmatic matron. Jonathan Pryce as her husband is a buffoonish novelist being awarded a Nobel Prize for literature, the result of decades of universal praise with Close’s doting Joan at his side. As the family heads to Stockholm for the awards ceremony, it unfolds a mystery about the nature of their partnership, one that cracks the facade of their supposedly picturesque marriage. Too bad we don’t buy any of it – not the initiating circumstances of the secret, nor any of its fallout.

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In Review: Searching

For cases like Searching, innovation isn’t enough. Here we’re given a thriller that takes place before our eyes entirely within a computer screen, darting across various social media platforms, news sources, and personal archives. The concept promises a nimble take on a familiar genre, an idea that has already been witness in the Unfriended horror series and in stretches of Michael Haneke’s Happy End to hilariously caustic effect. Searching, however, doesn’t reflect the conciseness of its concept in its execution.

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In Review: Madeline’s Madeline

Trust that when a film charts its own unique identity while discussing matters of personal authenticity that it knows what the hell it is talking about. Welcome to the forefront Josephine Decker’s Madeline’s Madeline, a thrillingly original tale on self-creation and mental health with more invention in its veins than we can keep up with. The film defies more than a few conventions and builds a whole new set of rules on its way to the core of its titular heroine’s psyche, resulting in a film that is an immersive embodiment of her pathology. The lines between character, content, and performance blur together into something wildly ambitious and unlike anything else you’ve seen in theatres this year. Madeline’s Madeline is a stone cold killer.

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In Review: Support The Girls

Writer/director Andrew Bujalski does something impossible with his newest comedy, Support The Girls: create something sweet and optimistic about American corporate misogyny and indifference. At the end of its contractual casual cruelty is a hard-won optimism that’s true to the service industry it depicts, the backbone of an economic institution regularly pushed to its breaking point. How he makes something so warm out of unfeeling capitalism is a bit of a marvel. But then again, the film is bolstered by a rich and hilarious female ensemble, led by contemporary underrated legend Regina Hall.

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In Review: Puzzle

Marc Turtletaub’s Puzzle takes what could be an overly simplistic pitch and finds a bittersweet human depth: a conservative housewife finds life renewal when she stumbles into competitive puzzling. The plot’s potential for oddness and twee cutesiness is luckily kept to our fears, for the film gives way to a sober and heartfelt character study made all the more surprising because of its entry point. Puzzle is more in search of micro moments that open the floodgates for macro changes in its protagonist than any performative pastiche to undercut its patient narrative.

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