Very sweet, extremely conventional Disney story about a mother & daughter who, by exchanging bodies for a day, come to understand the world from the other’s point of view. There are no surprises, but the leads do such a good job of impersonating each other that it’s easy to enjoy. More on FREAKY FRIDAY.
New bride (Das) enters household already containing husband’s aged mother, elder brother & wife (Kharbanda+Azmi), & longtime servant (Chowdhry). Both arranged marriages are fragile, & the sisters-in-law turn to each other for ever-deepening, eventually-sexual companionship. Closely-observed exploration of "ordinary" middle-class Indian women confronting tension between traditional expectations & contemporary options. More on FIRE.
Knowing the “back story” helps (Breillat’s older sister is a popular French actress), but this is still a pretty unpleasant experience. The eponymous younger sister is treated with contempt & hostility by both her mother & her sister, but is avenged (well, kinda sorta) at the end. Brutally frank sexuality. More on FAT GIRL.
German-Jewish teenager runs east from the Nazis. He manages to talk his way into a Russian orphanage, but when the region falls under Occupation, he somehow convinces a group of soldiers that he’s a German being held against his will. Improbably tale that’s fact-based – he actually lived to tell it. More on EUROPA, EUROPA.
Aging ex-Miss Wichita (Julia Roberts) bamboozles her way into a file clerk job @ a law firm & then starts reading between the lines. To everyone’s surprise, including her own, she turns out to have a sharp mind as well as a dynamite body. Julia grins & the audience cheers. More on ERIN BROKOVICH.
A film about the conflict between Hindus & Moslems in post-colonial India that humanizes the epic "partition scenes" in GANDHI. A prosperous Parsee family watches helplessly as their world collapses around them & former friends choose sides. Haunting. More on EARTH.
Dramedy about a Chinese-born woman coming of age in Canada. Her immigrant parents want her to retain some “old country ways,” but she’s determined to find her own balance. Her budding romance with a white boy sparks a family crisis. More on DOUBLE HAPPINESS.
Vivi (Ellen Burstyn) & her eldest daughter Sidda (Sandra Bullock) are at war, so her three bosom buddies (Fionnula Flanagan, Shirley Knight, & Maggie Smith) concoct an “intervention.” The plum in this bowl of cherries is Ashley Judd, luminous & heart-breaking by turns as Vivi in her prime. Without her, it’s funny fluff. Click here…
Jewish intellectual from a Hasidic family creates a future for herself that honors her past even while acknowledging the pain & rage which result from being banished by traditionalists who reject her for her choices. A resonate story for tribe members like Jan but too much insider baseball for Rich. More on DIVAN.
DIGGERS 2006 Lovely little film set at the end of the Bicentennial (1976) as the Ford Administration gave way to Jimmy Carter. Four buddies now in their 30s struggle to get serious about their diminished prospects as a large corporation threatens their livelihood. Nothing new here, just very well-done, affectionate, & thought-provoking. More on DIGGERS.