Written & Directed by John Patrick Shanley
Meryl Streep dominates this movie, and her entrance is such a fantastic one. In the middle of Father Flynn’s (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) sermon about doubt, the camera follows a black shrouded figure walking along the pews. This is Sister Aloysius (Streep) looming over the children in attendance, intent on bringing down her hammer on any one of them who shows slight disdain for being in church. I wouldn’t say Aloysius is a villain, but she is most certainly the antagonist in the picture, on her fervent crusade to flush out what she sees as wrong-doing in a place she believes is her church.
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The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Written by Aline Brosh McKenna
Directed by David Frankel
There is a certain kind of movie made in the first decade of the 21st century that faded away. I don’t know exactly how to describe it, but it is often derived from is referred to as “chick lit,” novels published for the demographic of women 18-40-ish. I believe everyone should read what they like, and there isn’t necessarily a line between “high art” and “low art,” you like what you like. I simply just don’t like this genre of literature or type of film. It doesn’t have the aesthetic qualities and thematic elements that appeal to me, but if you do enjoy these things, all the best to you. The Devil Wears Prada is one of these things.
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The Hours (2002)
Written by David Hare
Directed by Stephen Daldry
A single day in the life of a human being can shake the foundations of the earth like an earthquake. The Hours takes place at three points in time following three women, each on a day that alters the course of their lives. Suicide is an element in each of their days, but not all attempts are successful; however, the suicides ripple through their world, much like that earthquake mentioned above. And always the interminable hours, time continues to tick by so slowly, making them feel each moment they endure life.
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Written by Charlie & Donald Kaufman
Directed by Spike Jonze
The first thing you need to know is that there is no such person as Donald Kaufman. Writer Charlie Kaufman completely fabricated his identical twin brother for the purposes of this story and then included him in the writing credits. Adaptation is a movie intended to mess with your head and not hide its commentary on storytelling, films, and narcissism. To say what this movie’s plot is about is near impossible as it composes so many layers and goes deep into the mental recesses of Kaufman.
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Defending Your Life (1991)
Written & Directed by Albert Brooks
It makes sense that writer-director Albert Brooks would reimagine the afterlife as a comfortable professional-managerial class utopia. It allows him to continue making satire about the social class he knows the most about. Judgment City is everything a privileged person could want. You get to stay in a nice hotel room, the food is the best you’ve ever tasted, you can’t gain weight, and you’re chauffered where ever you want to go. The only catch is that after a week, you’ll be assigned to Paradise or reincarnation.
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Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Written & Directed by Robert Benton
Much like 2019’s Marriage Story, Kramer vs. Kramer is very concerned about not giving the audience a biased story about divorce. While Dustin Hoffman is definitely the lead actor, Meryl Streep’s role as his wife who flees their home is not the villain. They are antagonistic for part of the story, but by the end, the film gives us a realistic finale. In real life, healthy people can’t stay enemies, mainly when there is a child in the middle. That’s not always the case, and maybe these characters are too aspirational, but the emotion and humanity of the situation feel very real.
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