Critics have called the prolific French writer Florian Zeller “the most exciting playwright of our times,” and his second film as writer-director confirms that he’s equally adept when it comes to cinema. Despite Anthony Hopkins’ Academy Award for Best Actor, The Father didn’t find the audience it should have (its release coincided with COVID-19). His follow-up, adapted from the play of the same name by Zeller’s regular English translator, Christopher Hampton, is as sharp, insightful, and devastating. Teenager Nicolas (Zen McGrath) is suffering from depression and has stopped going to school. It’s so bad, his mom Kate (Laura Dern) hands him over to his father, Peter (Hugh Jackman), who is celebrating a baby with his new wife, Beth (Vanessa Kirby). Perhaps a stepbrother will raise Nic’s spirits? Peter vows to do everything he can to help—but Nic descends still further.
As in The Father, Zeller uses the subjectivity of the camera to access mental spaces that seem impenetrable from the outside. There are no easy answers here, but the film’s emotional pull is direct and undeniable.
Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby, Zen McGrath, Hugh Quarshie, Anthony Hopkins
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Robert Irwin: A Desert of Pure Feeling
No artist instills a sense of sublime awe like the legendary Robert Irwin, Elusive yet down to earth, Irwin is a true original. His extraordinary work is honored in this stunning portrait of one of the most influential contemporary artists of our age.
Veteran director Marco Bellocchio (The Traitor) returns with a passionate historical drama about a Jewish child abducted by Pope Pius IX in 1865 on the grounds that he had been secretly baptized. This is a rich, operatic film that resonates strongly.
The Mother of All Lies
As her parents and grandmother prepare to leave the Casablanca home they have lived in for decades, Asmae El Moudir takes the opportunity to probe the past, unraveling repressed truths buried within her own family and Moroccan political history.
A Cooler Climate
In a recollection of veteran filmmaker James Ivory's unfinished film about Afghanistan. Old footage provides a pronounced air of mystery to compliment its rough beauty, setting the scene for a look back into Ivory's life.
Winner of Cannes Critics' Week Grand Prix, Tiger Stripes is a coming-of-age body horror film set in a Malaysian girls' school. 12-year-old Zaffan’s body starts to change before everyone else’s, and she becomes convinced she's turning into a monster.
Simon Gillis, Philippe Carcassonne, Hugh Jackman, Daniel Battsek, Ollie Madden, Lauren Dark, Peter Touche, Christelle Conan, Hugo Grumbar, Tim Haslam
Joanna Laurie, Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Florian Zeller, Christophe Spadone
Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller