Saturday, January 2, 2021

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

The story focuses on two teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania. Faced with an unintended pregnancy and a lack of local support, Autumn and her cousin Skylar embark on a brave, fraught journey across state lines to New York City.


This powerfully conceived and acted drama addresses many aspects of abortion.


NY Times Review  (March 12, 2020) “A low-key knockout, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” tells a seldom-told story about abortion. And it does so without cant, speeches, inflamed emotions and — most powerfully — without apology. At its most obvious, it follows a 17-year-old as she tries to terminate her pregnancy. It’s a seemingly simple objective that proves (no surprise given the battles over abortion) logistically difficult, forcing her to marshal her modest resources and navigate perilous twists and turns. Here, a woman’s right to self-determination has become the stuff of a new and radical heroic journey.”


Friday, January 1, 2021

The Sound of Metal

During a series of adrenaline-fueled one-night gigs, itinerant punk-metal drummer Ruben (Riz Ahmed) begins to experience intermittent hearing loss. When a specialist tells him his condition will rapidly worsen, he thinks his music career — and with it his life — is over. His bandmate and girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke) checks the recovering heroin addict into a secluded sober house for the deaf in hopes it will prevent a relapse and help him learn to adapt to his new situation. But after being welcomed into a community that accepts him just as he is, Ruben has to choose between his equilibrium and the drive to reclaim the life he once knew. Utilizing startling, innovative sound design techniques, director Darius Marder takes audiences inside Ruben’s experience to vividly recreate his journey into a rarely examined world.

This film movingly addresses deafness, the deaf community and cochlear implants.  It is moving and memorable.  For more see: Wikipedia.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Rider

After a tragic riding accident, young cowboy Brady (Brady Jandreau), once a rising star of the rodeo circuit, is warned that his competition days are over. Back home, Brady finds himself wondering what he has to live for when he can no longer do what gives him a sense of purpose: to ride and compete. In an attempt to regain control of his fate, Brady searches for a new identity.

This is loosely based on Brady Jandreau's own story.  The movie is haunting and captivating.  All of the actors are from the Pine Ridge Reservation. Trailer and Background.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Me Before You

This is a delightful movie about a tough topic.  For a precis, see Wikipedia.  "26-year-old Louisa Clark is a happy, outgoing woman who lives with and supports her working-class family. After losing her job at a local cafe, she is hired as the caregiver of Will Traynor, a former successful banker and once active young man who became paralyzed after being involved in a motorcycle accident two years prior. Louisa has no experience but Will's mother believes her cheery personality will help lift his spirits. Will only spends time with Nathan, his nurse, who assists with his care, exercise and movement and knows that he will never regain use of his body due to the damage to his spinal cord."

I saw it on Amazon Prime.  I have not read the book, but it may be even more important. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Wonder (2017)

This is a moving, touching, funny film about a 10 year-old boy with a congenital facial deformity.  Although the name of his disorder is not given in the film, it is most likely Treacher-Collins syndrome.  It could be about Apert syndrome or any child with facial deformities.The story is told with great sensitivity; you'll laugh and tear up alternately.  It that rare movie that will appeal to all ages.

See NY Times Review. See Trailer.

Rook also discussed in NY Times, November 27, 2019.

There is a book by the same title that I have not read yet: Wonder by RJ Palacio.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Big Sick (2017)

This is an important movie that deals with diversity, cultural issues, health and health care.  It is the true story of a Pakistani-American stand-up comedian and his writer girlfriend (pictured below) who develops adult Still's disease. (~ 2 hours)

Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani), in the middle of becoming a budding stand-up comedian, meets Emily (Zoe Kazan). Meanwhile, a sudden illness sets in forcing Emily to be put into a medically-induced coma. Kumail must navigate being a comedian, dealing with tragic illness, and placating his family's desire to let them fix him up with a spouse, while contemplating and figuring out who he really is and what he truly believes.p with a spouse, while contemplating and figuring out who he really is and what he truly believes.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

I, Am Daniel Blake

(from The Guardian 12 May 2016) With this movie Ken Loach establishes himself yet further as the John Bunyan of contemporary British cinema. Based on research and interviews by the screenwriter Paul Laverty, this movie tells the fictional story of Daniel Blake, a middle-aged widower in the North East (of England) who can’t work or get benefits after a near-fatal heart attack, and the story is told with stark and fierce plainness: unadorned, unapologetic, even unevolved. Loach’s movie offends against the tacitly accepted rules of sophisticated good taste: subtlety, irony and indirection. The film is not objective, and perhaps Loach and Laverty have signed up to Churchill’s maxim about refusing to be neutral between the fire brigade and the fire

This is a powerfully affecting movie.  Set in the U.K. it is pertinent for audiences in other countries as well.  The movie is sober, infuriating and sad.  Practicing medicine in the U.S., I can resonate with the maddening bureaucracy. Physicians are almost nowhere to be seen here.  It seems like no one was running interference for Daniel Blake.  That may well be the way it usually is.