Updated: Jan 22, 2021
The below are brief reviews of new release I feel are worthy of recommendation. These films were reviewed from digital screeners. Screen and Stage encourages its readers to follow safety precautions outlined by health authorities.
Herself (Dir. Phyllida Lloyd, 2020, In select theaters and streaming on Amazon Prime Video now) - Films about domestic abuse are quite common, but rarely are they depicted with the ruthless lack of sentimentality of HERSELF, directed by Phyllida Lloyd (MAMMA MIA!, THE IRON LADY) and written and starring Clare Dunne. Telling the story of a mother who leaves her abusive husband and works to build a house from scratch to start anew, the film, while predictable at points, is elevated by Dunne's searing performance and the acute sense of authenticity both she and Lloyd bring to the material. HERSELF's greatest achievement though is giving a voice to survivors of domestic abuse and showing that the psychological effects of it last long after the physical aspect ends. 3/4
The Reason I Jump (Dir. Jerry Rothwell, 2020, Available in virtual cinemas now) - Adapted from Naoki Higashida's groundbreaking account of living with non-verbal autism, THE REASON I JUMP is an inventive, empathetic new documentary that uses Higashida's words to illuminate the inner worlds of young people with non-verbal Autism around the world. Through immersive sound design and unconventional cinematography, Rothwell places the audience inside the minds of his subjects, allowing us all a glimpse inside their remarkable worlds. THE REASON I JUMP asks us to understand that while we all might live in the same world, everyone experiences it differently, and it is in that ask that this film sends us forward into our own lives, hopefully more prepared to understand others better. THE REASON I JUMP should be required viewing. 3.5/4