Every Labor Day, I have the privilege of attending the Telluride Film Festival with my Mom. It’s a jam packed weekend of amazing movies, great lectures and really fun people watching. Not only did I get a preview of the must see fall films, but I also met a bunch of truly motivated millennials. If these kids are our future, all hope is not lost.
I have to say, this year’s festival was one of the best. The must see fall films are not just beautifully written, and exquisitely acted. They also deal with themes that have been at the forefront of my consciousness since the election. Especially sexism. There were movies starring women, directed by women and written by women. It was kind of awesome. So, here’s my list of must see fall films. You guys are in for a treat….
Battle of the Sexes
The match between Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs changed the world of sports forever. It proved that women athletes were just as big of a draw as men. That they deserved a seat at the table as well as fair pay. But at the same time that Billy Jean was paving the way for Title IX, she was also struggling with her own sexual identity. Funny, poignant and inspiring, this film shines a spot light on how far we’ve come, yes, but also on how much is still left to do before women and men are truly on par.
The Shape of Water
This latest film from Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Devil’s Backbone, Hellboy) is a story about love in all of its many facets. Starring the incomparable Sally Hawkins, this movie imagines what would happen if the creature from the black lagoon and the heroine swam off into the sunset.
It is a testament to del Toro’s skill that he is able to pull it off. This movie is a reminder that looks are deceiving. That different can be beautiful. And that true courage comes in all shapes, sizes and skin colors.
Actress Greta Gerwig is best known for her quirky performances in movies like Frances Ha. But in this, her writing and directorial debut, she proves herself to be a triple threat. Set on the streets of Sacramento, the story focuses on the fraught relationship between a high school senior played by Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) and her overbearing mother played by Laurie Metcalf. Both hysterical and heartbreaking, this is a movie that will resonate with mothers and daughters everywhere.
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
Based on Peter Turner’s memoir about his love affair with aging film star Gloria Graham, this film features what I hope will be an Oscar winning performance by Annette Bening. In an age where youth reigns supreme, it was so refreshing to see an older actress letting it all hang out.
Remarkably free of any cosmetic “help”, Ms. Bening owns every wrinkle. And it’s sexy as hell. Jaimie Bell plays her much younger paramour in a heart wrenching story of love and loss. Make sure to bring your kleenex.
Christian Bale stars as Captain Joe Blocker, a man who helped tame our American west by killing off its indigenous “hostile” people. But when he is forced to escort an ailing Chief back to his tribal home in Montana, he learns that life is rarely black or white. Co-starring Rosamund Pike as a woman who pays the ultimate price for the American dream, this is a movie about forgiveness. It is also a stark reminder that, really, we are all immigrants.
Winston Churchill gave three of his most famous speeches in a two week period right before England entered WWII. And if it wasn’t for the power of his words as well as his willingness to do the right thing despite a total lack of support, we might all be speaking German these days. Gary Oldman gives a transcendent performance as this very complicated man. It made me long for leaders with strength, integrity and amazing oratory skills.