Compelling Belgian drama has suicide, homophobia, swearing.
‘Close’ by Belgian director Lukas Dhont is an intense drama about suicide and grief. The main characters, 13-year-old boys Léo (Eden Dambrine) and Rémi (Gustav De Waele), are the target of teasing and bullying at school because of their close friendship. Classmates call them “f—–s” and joke that they have their period and like to get their butt slapped. The film promotes support for close, physically warm male relationships and awareness of the potential harms of bullying in adolescents. Parents, teachers, and an older sibling are patient, attentive, and supportive of children dealing with complex emotions, including grief. Children struggle, fight and sustain injuries (including a broken arm) playing ice hockey. Strong language includes “s—“, “pansies”, “wuss”, “fool”, “fart”, and “pee”. In French and Flemish with subtitles. (105 minutes)
So-so superfan comedy scores on age representation.
“80 for Brady” is a sports-themed comedy produced by and starring NFL quarterback Tom Brady and written by the women behind “Booksmart.” Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Rita Moreno and Sally Field star as four friends heading to the Super Bowl. On the one hand, it’s a silly movie designed to bridge the gap between male sports fans and “football widows.” But it also counters stereotypes by focusing on four women over 70 and portraying them as three-dimensional people living fulfilling lives. While the story is primarily about the power of female friendship, romantic storylines are a part of the women’s lives – one is married, the other a widow, the other single with an adult child, and the other in love – and they are portrayed as attractive/sexually appealing. There’s some suggestive humor—a fanny pack is naively referred to as a “strap on,” for example—but nothing gets too bawdy. Wine, champagne and beer can be spotted, but no one can be seen drinking. That said, the women accidentally eat weed gummies at a fancy party, and fun/funny hallucinogenic high jinks ensue, portraying cannabis use in a positive light. Expect a few examples of strong language: “s—“, “son of a b—-“, a use of “f—ing” for emphasis, etc. One character is a cancer survivor, and that plays into the plot. (98 minutes)
Strange, gruesome but effective thriller about compassion.
“Knock at the Cabin” is a horror thriller from director M. Night Shyamalan about two fathers (Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge) and their young daughter (Kristen Cui) who are asked by four intruders to execute a member of their family in order to to save humanity. . Based on a novel by Paul Tremblay, it is a suspenseful, economical and even intimate film that wrestles with the question of which aspects of humanity are actually worth saving. Violence is intense: there are murders, gory wounds/blood seeping through clothes, guns and shooting, a character slitting his own neck, fighting, bludgeoning with weapons, a hate crime, terrifying news footage, a concussion and more. Language includes “f—“/”f—ing”, “bulls—“, “b—-“, “b——“, “a–” and “goddamn .” A flashback takes place in a bar, with some drinking/drunkenness.Dave Bautista and Rupert Grint co-stars.(100 minutes)
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