Drama

The Future of Anime Is Female: ‘Yuri!!! On Ice’s Director Sayo Yamamoto

Yuri!!! On Ice

Thankfully, this hasn’t stopped animator/director Sayo Yamamoto from not only surviving over the past two decades — but thriving. And in style. Like Attack on Titan, Yamamoto’s ‘Yuri!!! On Ice’ has become a breakout hit, and amazingly, it’s only her third time as a series director. … Yamamoto’s success as a woman director shouldn’t be the exception to the rule in the anime industry.

Teen Girls Coming of Age in ‘Clueless’ and ‘The Edge of Seventeen’

Clueless and The Edge of Seventeen

These two women directors, Amy Heckerling (‘Clueless’) and Kelly Fremon Craig (‘The Edge of Seventeen’), use their films to give a focused examination on the insecurity and self-doubt teen girls face. Cher and Nadine’s personal struggles, as well as their relationships with older mentors, reveal how patriarchal expectations shape their lives as they come of age.

‘Queen of Katwe’ Is a Gorgeous, Inspiring Look at a Young Black Life Fully Realized

Queen of Katwe

But at its core lies a story of redemption, cultural pride, feminism, and economics — elements of a young life contending with extraordinary challenges. … ‘Queen of Katwe’ is a mesmerizing story of a life fully realized, a life that’s often overlooked and not given a chance. Its young cast, led by Nalwanga’s nuanced performance, help illuminate layers of humanity resting deep in the “slums” of Uganda, exhibiting talent well beyond their years.

Céline Sciamma’s Films (‘Girlhood,’ ‘Tomboy,’ and ‘Water Lilies’) Capture the Complexities of Adolescence

Girlhood film

French director and screenwriter Céline Sciamma of ‘Water Lilies,’ ‘Tomboy,’ and ‘Girlhood’ has gained critical acclaim for her portrayals of adolescence and coming-of-age, particularly on themes of gender and sexuality. … This undefined, yet crucial space is an uncomfortable one and Sciamma’s films excel because they embrace the chaotic ambiguity of youthful liminality.

Andrea Arnold’s ‘American Honey’: A Young Woman Reclaims Her Life’s Trajectory

American Honey

Andrea Arnold’s films largely focus on the female experience, predominantly that of young women transitioning into adulthood. … It is here then, that Arnold’s depiction of female desire and agency warrants praise. Star acts on her own wants and needs, and seeing Jake, acknowledges her longing. She consciously rejects the current trajectory of her life, and intentionally and purposefully seeks a new one.

‘The Transfiguration’ Offers Insights into Vampirism and How Our Experiences Shape Us

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The point of the story is that, like so many vampires, he’s been transformed against his will into a creature he can’t quite make peace with. It’s an insight into vampires – backed by what seems to be an encyclopedic knowledge of how they have been portrayed in film – but just as interestingly, and perhaps more importantly, it’s an insight into how our experiences shape us; how early the die can be cast on the type of people we grow up to be.

The Love That’s Really Real: ‘American Psycho’ as Romantic Comedy

American Psycho 4

Although primarily a horror film, ‘American Psycho’ has a satiric backbone that appropriates codes from the romantic comedy genre to expose the absurdities of our gender ideals. Director and co-writer Mary Harron’s lens skewers the qualities we find appealing in romantic comedies as terrifying.

Flaws Make the Woman: In Praise of ‘Love’s Mickey Dobbs

Love TV series

Too often, representations of women fall into clichéd binary opposites in the style of Levi-Strauss. Thus, TV shows feature the “good” woman in direct conflict with the “bad” woman, with this clash driving the narrative forward. Mickey encompasses both; she is simultaneously good and bad, selfish and giving, childish and mature. It is this complexity that ensures Mickey’s believability and development as a character. She is real and human, and thus, relatable.

Alienated Women: The Terror in Mica Levi’s Scores for ‘Under the Skin’ and ‘Jackie’

Under the Skin and Jackie

Jackie’s deeply emotional outbursts may stand in stark contrast to the alien’s lack of empathy, but both women share a troubling alienation from the people around them. Mica Levi’s scores make this alienation audible, the grim discomfort of her music allowing the audience to feel, even for 90 minutes, the terror of such a solitude.

‘The Revenant’ Should Be Left in the River to Drown

The Revenant

Don’t believe the hype. You have been conned. ‘The Revenant’ is a terrible film. … The second galling part of the film is its abhorrent treatment of Native peoples. It is at best mediocre, at worst condescending, and at all times unremarkable lazy recycled fodder. Almost every time Hugh has an interaction with a Native American person, they meet with disaster. … Can we see this whole movie from the Arikara tribe’s perspective? From Powaqa’s perspective? That would be an actual game changer.

‘Moonlight’ and the Radical Depiction of Love

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It’s like Plato’s overused allegory of the cave – everything we knew about this world before was shadow and puppetry; now we’ve seen a glimpse of the real thing. ‘Moonlight’ deals with highly politicized content – race, class, sexuality, gender expression, drug use – in a disarmingly nuanced way. It parachutes into territories dominated by stories about hate and dares instead to tell us stories about love.

‘Logan’: On Death and Dying. And Mutants.

Logan

‘Logan’ is a real film. In fact, it’s more real than any comic book superhero movie has business being. … It is a beautifully crafted film. If you still think that comic books and their offspring are incapable of being high art, I urge you to give it a chance.