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Women Directors 2018

See a comprehensive list of theatrical releases and movies released via streaming and other platforms (dvd, television, video on demand) as well as the reviewed films.



Can You Ever Forgive Me? | Marielle Heller
Feature | Written by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
Based on Lee Israel’s 2008 autobiography
Released October 19 | Fox Searchlight

The real Lee Israel, the celebrity profiler turned forger who died in 2014, was a more boastful figure than the sad-sack recluse Melissa McCarthy plays in Marielle Heller’s sympathetic biopic, especially when methodically detailing her brief, prolific criminal spree in the early 1990s. Israel explained in interviews that she wrote biographies of women with large personalities, such as Tallulah Bankhead and Dorothy Kilgallen, because she considered herself equally interesting. She even quoted a letter she had faked and credited to Dorothy Parker for the title of her 2008 autobiography, Can You Ever Forgive Me? [more]



Stella’s Last Weekend | Polly Draper
Feature | Written by Polly Draper
Released October 12 | Paladin

Polly Draper achieves a delicate balance in Stella’s Last Weekend, blending real-life family dynamics with a fictional narrative to create an achingly funny exploration of loss. This showcase for her sons Nat and Alex Wolff is a far cry from The Naked Brothers Band, the boisterous Nickelodeon series she created, which co-starred their father, pianist/composer Michael Wolff. The precocious musicians went on to play numerous awkward teens, and now reunite as bantering brothers who have both fallen for Violet (Paulina Singer). [more]



Living in the Future’s Past | Susan Kucera
Documentary | Released October 5 | Vision Films and Trafalgar Releasing

Nothing makes the point of this stay-calm-and-carry-on ecology documentary better than a power outage during a thunderstorm, a brief blip in our comfortable lives that triggers deep fears and a reminder that nature can’t be tamed. The big ideas swirling through Living in the Future’s Past all boil down to a simple premise: Our response to climate change is predicated on environmental ambivalence, especially the cycle of panic and complacency that inhibits thoughtful long-term planning. [more]



The Swan | Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir
Debut Feature | In Icelandic | Written by Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir
Based on Guðbergur Bergsson’s 1991 novel
Released August 10 | Synergetic Distribution

Anchored by a remarkable child’s performance, The Swan is a sensitive example of an overlooked element in coming-of-age films: awakening to the outside world. Nine-year-old Sól (Gríma Valsdóttir) is an insular girl, her imagination fueled by the craggy shoreline and unceasing sea that surround her small Icelandic coastal community. She’s angry and resentful at being sent away for the summer, a banishment presented in Guðbergur Bergsson’s 1991 novel as the punishment for shoplifting. [more]



Good Manners | Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra
Feature | In Brazilian Portuguese | Written by Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra
Released July 27 | Distrib Films US

Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra’s contemporary fairy tale is a heady blend of heightened reality and grounded fantasy set in a São Paulo envisioned as an orderly steel-and-glass fortress surrounded by the colorful chaos of improvised neighborhoods. High and low are clearly delineated, and when Clara (Isabél Zuaa) arrives at the condo tower where a demanding, pregnant Ana (Marjorie Estiano) is interviewing potential nannies, her unease is expressed in twitchy discomfort. The visual style (color-saturated modern gothic) and tone of empathic fatalism can be described as Guillermo del Toro meets Jacques Demy, but Rojas and Dutra have created a singular fable where anxiety and fear are directed inward, even when the danger is all too real. [more]