The Netflix Gods heard my distain for the streaming service’s teen flick hit To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and they’ve gifted me a charming high school comedy titled Sierra Burgess Is a Loser as an apologetic gesture. Call it coincidental timing, I call it wishful thinking.
By: Graeme Howard Simon Baker’s directorial debut Breath (adapted from the international best seller by Tim Winton) is, at first glance, a by-the-numbers coming-of-age surfing tale. However, the audience is treated to a thought-provoking surfing drama that succeeds in capturing the raw nature of the sport, while also exploring the spontaneity of youthfulness and the joyful exploration of curiosity, fear, and self-understanding.
A teenager’s public suicide sends shockwaves through their high school, as students and teachers alike reel and cope. On the fringe of the tragedy is Hashi, a shy creative writer who had a close friendship with the victim. Being generally shy and uncomfortable to begin with, Hashi – despite finding an emotional connection through poetry – doesn’t know how to exhale his pain. Unfortunately, he chooses ways to grieve that are detrimental to his life.
Craig Johnson (director/co-writer of The Skeleton Twins) returns with another sweet story about solving personal ambiguity with wonder, caution, and experience in Netflix’s Alex Strangelove. This time, the angst takes place in high school, as Johnson evolves the “teen sex comedy” sub-genre with positive (and current) messages of sexual orientation.
All Summers End may not know where it wants to begin, but it’s a memorable journey through repentance and youthful maturity.
ABU is a beautiful trip through the life of Pakistani-Muslim filmmaker Arshad Khan. It’s also an outstanding and promising feature-length debut by the filmmaker.
Two teenage girls come-of-age in a small town. They use “teen speak”, spend all their time on social media, and find themselves consumed by their various hobbies. What makes Tragedy Girls different from a plethora of similar films is that one of these girls’ hobbies is murder.
Beach Rats is a good coming-of-age movie from a gay perspective, but its middle portions are the most compelling. It’s bookended by familiar emotions and the finish line is the type of gut-wrenching finale audiences expect from a sombre story like this one, but writer/director Eliza Hittman takes an interesting route to get there.
Menashe acts as both a faithful slice of life of ultra-Orthodox Judaism and an effective character drama from the perspective of a widower. The resonance is thin though, leaving the audience feeling lukewarm towards Joshua Z Weinstein’s otherwise efficient movie.
I like Crackerhead, but this latest experimental experience from filmmaker Mike Klassen is making me sweat – it’s a tough movie to review if you can’t crack through Klassen’s poker face. The film’s flippant facade has anarchy written all over it, but the drive behind Klassen’s directorial decisions and stylistic storytelling suggests a deeper, poignant project.