THR critics pick the 15 best movies – News Kidda

Venice, Toronto

Laura Poitras’ sublime Golden Lion award-winning documentary chronicles photographer Nan Goldin’s mission to hold the Sacklers responsible for their company Purdue Pharma’s opioid crisis. It’s also a portrait of the artist, an intimate look at grassroots political action, and a devastating tale of family. — SHERI LINDEN

Venice, Toronto

Martin McDonagh’s brilliant dark comedy about the abrupt break-up of lifelong friends (a never-better Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) steadily evolves into an unexpectedly gripping account of a bond that’s broken, but never erased. It is the writer-director’s most profound and distinctly Irish work for the screen to date, as well as one of his best. — DAVID RONEY

Venice, Telluride

Luca Guadagnino’s gripping account of the first love between two cannibal hobos in 1980s Central America is a delicate emo horror film. Even as they feast on flesh, the film shows the protagonists (played with touching vulnerability by Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet) not as monsters, but as outsiders craving connection. — DR

Casa Susanna

Venice, Toronto

Sébastien Lifshitz’s sharp, tender documentary reveals the secret history of a support network founded in the 1950s and 1960s by transvestite men and trans women. The focus is on the Catskills guest house which was a haven for these Boy Scouts. In their specificity and emotion, the memories here live with a complexity that defies labels. — SL

Toronto

Steven Spielberg’s film is a vivid portrayal of the author’s first flashes of directorial talent and a portrait, full of love but not clouded by nostalgia, of the family that made it. With heartbreaking twists from Michelle Williams, Paul Dano and Gabriel LaBelle, it is brimming with compassion for both his parents, who divorced when he was a teenager. — JOHN DEFORE

Toronto

Rian Johnson’s delightful sequel offers fun action, delicious rewards and a bold design. Still, it doesn’t suffer from “give them the same, but more of the” bloating. His ensemble — Daniel Craig is joined by Kate Hudson, Kathryn Hahn, Janelle Monáe, and others — is even better, his criticism of the rich sharper. — JD

Toronto

A personal drama that glistens with pain, pride and hard-won elation. Elegance Bratton’s feature film debut draws on his own story as a gay Marine to create one of the most poignant portraits of queer black masculinity since Moonlight. It’s a great vehicle for theater actor Jeremy Pope in his first on-screen lead role. — DR

Telluride

Emma Corrin and Jack O’Connell storm the screen as kindred spirits, ignited by carnal passion in Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre’s sharp and sensual adaptation of DH Lawrence’s novel about an upper-class woman’s affair with a working-class man. It’s an interpretation faithful to Lawrence’s idealization of sex and nature in invigorating ways. — SL

Venice, Toronto

Imprisoned and subject to a film ban in his country, Iranian author Jafar Panahi offers his most chilling clandestine metafiction yet. Deceptively simple, with increasingly complex layers, it’s a hushed powerhouse about the divide between modernity and tradition, the world of difference between Tehran and Iran’s rural backwaters. — DR

Venice, Toronto

Anchored by a wonderful Virginie Efira as a 40-year-old teacher whose bond with her boyfriend’s daughter evokes unexpected maternal desires, Rebecca Zlotowski’s film affirms her gift for investing formulas with freshness and charm, cleverness and sexiness. It has the contours of conventional Parisian dramedy, but digs into something harder and wiser. — JON FROSCH

Venice, Toronto

Alice Diop’s narrative debut, an enchanting drama about the isolation of motherhood, the grief of parenthood and racial interpellation, tells the trial of a French-Senegalese woman who committed infanticide. Based on a real case that thrilled France, the film draws its strength from its subtlety and observant naturalism. — LOVIA GYARKYE

Venice, Telluride

Cate Blanchett is astonishing as a composer-conductor whose reputation is shattered by revelations about her personal life in Todd Field’s rich, enchanting character study that doubles as a caustic dissection of power dynamics and culture uplift. It is a forensically crafted, grand work whose guts, artistry and burning authority will no doubt spark conversations. — DR

Telluride, Toronto

In one of his best papers to date, Werner Herzog focuses his lens on the world of brain-computer interfaces, their therapeutic potential and chilling implications. Speaking to people working in neurotechnology (inventions that connect the nervous system to electronic and other devices), he evokes a wry, lyrical mix of awe and doom. — SL

Telluride, Toronto

Sarah Polley’s film, in which female members of a Mennonite colony sort out their response to sexual abuse by men in their cult, is a finely crafted vision of anger and hope. With a top-notch cast led by Rooney Mara, Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley, the clever, beautifully shot feature answers existential questions faced by any contemporary woman navigating patriarchal institutions. — SL

Telluride, Toronto

Florence Pugh is monumental as an English nurse who travels to an Irish village in 1862 to care for a child who has stopped eating in Sebastián Lelio’s enchanting film, arguably his best yet. Based on Emma Donoghue’s novel, it is a haunting study of religious obsession and the oppression of women. — STEPHEN FARBER

This story first appeared in the September 16 issue of News Kidda magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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