Our second venture into films directed by women tell stories of a disgruntled dinner party, a young girl on a road trip to potential stardom, a teenage girl finding her way, unorthodox sibling sharing, plus a documentary. Onward and upward.
Love Like Poison (2010) – Katell Quillévéré
Set days before teenage Anna’s confirmation, Love like Poison (taken from the Serge Gainsbourg song) explores the girl’s longing to find her place in the world, the film’s tender story focused on her relationships with her wiley grandpa, Pierre, a boy her age simply smitten by her, and the local priest who empathises with Anna’s doubt in her faith. Around her, these very adults, including her mother reeling from the abandoned father, have their own personal insecurities. Quillévéré, who helped write the script, handles the delicacy of the story with a simplistic and assured hand. This is breezy, flows with the mentality of a short fiction film (it’s only 110 minutes), like a lovely poem that comes and goes with the turn of a page. – – – Robin Write @WriteoutofLA
The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002) – Nanette Burstein
The Kid Stays in the Picture is a rip-roaring account of legendary film producer and former studio production chief Robert Evans. Though it is a documentary it is unlike any documentary you’ve likely ever seen. Co-directed by Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen, Kid used revolutionary computer graphics to make still photographs seemingly come to life, intermixed with stock footage and film clips from Evans related films. Narrated by Evan himself, the film bursts with life. It feels like it plays loose with the facts, skewed towards presenting information that Evans wants you to know while disregarding other details, but it is so entertaining you get swept up in it completely and go along for the ride. Besides, like Evans famously says in the film, “There are three sides to every story: Your side, my side, and the truth. And no one is lying”. – – – Tim J. Krieg @FiveStarFlicks
Your Sister’s Sister (2011) – Lynn Shelton
Writing and directing this genuine human dilemma story, Lynn Shelton’s wickedly honest, funny film is a juicy little slice of American cinema – equal parts drama and comedy. Effectively executed as a premise that has two sisters with a strong bond that have to lock emotional horns when the guy in the picture sleeps with one while pining for the other. These are family and friendship ties rife with emotion-led decisions and secrets, revealing the true confessions and yearnings of the threesome. Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Mark Duplass are all both easy on the eye and engaging in their portrayals of these young adults somehow getting lost and messed up along the way to those relationship goals, whatever they may be. – – – Robin Write @WriteoutofLA
Little Miss Sunshine (2006) – Valerie Faris
Co-directed with Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris has helped compose a hyperactive, endearing chunk of family life on film. Little Miss Sunshine is the definition of a cinematic crowd-pleaser. To say this is a real treat of an ensemble is a super-under-statement, crammed with a colorful array of characters that feel somehow familiar, fully flexing the terrific words from Michael Ardt’s fearlessly funny script. Perhaps Alan Arkin took one for the team with his Best Supporting Actor Oscar, representing a prolific cast of performers, including Steve Carell’s sympathetic outcast, Paul Dano’s ticking time-bomb teen, and of course Abigail Breslin’s fruitful little firecracker. Not a spec of dust to found anywhere. – – – Robin Write @WriteoutofLA
The Last Supper (1995) – Stacy Title
Running on the notion that murder may well be the best medicine for social extremists, Stacy Title exquisitely executes (pun intended) the story of five grad students who have had just about enough of such assholes who believe Hitler had the right idea or that AIDS is the cure for homosexuality. Title’s movie is blackly comic, and still relevant in it’s vulgar, outlandish characters and their oh-so- strong opinions. Inviting their guests for dinner in what was a light-hearted Sunday evening routine once upon a time, the students allow their victims to spout verbal diarrhea before silencing them for good. We on the other hand are invited to test our own ideas about the mortality of the evil-minded. – – – Robin Write @WriteoutofLA
Originally published in June 2016.