Members’ Choice 2019-20 Spring

Honeyland  Members’ Choice  (Macedonia 2019 documentary, Turkish/Macedonian/Serbo-Croat/Bosnian). Hatidze Muratova is the last in a long line of Macedonian wild beekeepers, eking out a living farming honey in small batches to be sold in the closest city four hours’ walk away. Hatidze’s peaceful existence is thrown into upheaval by the arrival of an itinerant family. Oscar noms.

Audience 87%; critics 100%; “uses life in a remote village to offer an eye-opening perspective on experiences that should resonate even for audiences halfway around the world.

The Lighthouse  Members’ Choice  (USA 2019 psychological thriller) Hypnotic and hallucinatory tale of two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe & Robert Pattison) on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s. Oscar nom.

Audience 72%; critics 100%; “A gripping story brilliantly filmed and led by a pair of powerhouse performances, The Lighthouse further establishes Robert Eggers as a filmmaker of exceptional talent.

The Farewell  Members’ Choice  (USA 2019 comedy/drama, Mandarin/English/Japanese/Italian) A Chinese family, when they discover their beloved Grandmother has only a short while left to live, decide to keep her in the dark and schedule an impromptu wedding to gather before she passes. Billi (Awkwafina) struggles with the family’s decision to hide the truth. Winner Best Actress Golden Globe (Awkwafina), BAFTA nom.

Audience 87%; critics 98%; “deftly captures complicated family dynamics with a poignant, well-acted drama that marries cultural specificity with universally relatable themes”. 

The Princess Bride (USA 1987 fairytale/ comedy) Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin and Cary Elwes star in Rob Reiner’s fairytale adventure about a beautiful princess and the gallant hero who rescues her from an evil villain. Oscar nom.

Audience 94%; critics  97%; “A delightfully postmodern fairy tale, The Princess Bride is a deft, intelligent mix of swashbuckling, romance, and comedy that takes an age-old damsel-in-distress story and makes it fresh.”

Room (USA 2015 drama/thriller) Highly suspenseful and deeply emotional, a unique and touching exploration of the boundless love between a mother (Brie Larson) and her child (Jacob Tremblay) growing up in enclosed surroundings.  Winner Best Actress Oscar, BAFTA & Golden Globe (Brie Larson).

Audience 93%; critics 93%; “Led by incredible work from Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, Room makes for an unforgettably harrowing — and undeniably rewarding — experience.” 

Memento (USA 2000 mystery thriller) A man (Guy Pearce) is determined to find justice after the loss of a loved one, even though he is incapable of fully remembering the crime, in this offbeat thriller. Oscar & Golden Globes noms.

Audience 94%; critics 92%; “Christopher Nolan skillfully guides the audience through Memento’s fractured narrative, seeping his film in existential dread.” 

Brittany Runs a Marathon (USA 2019 comedy/drama) Brittany is a hot mess of a New Yorker who always knows how to have a good time; but at 27, her late-night adventures and early-morning walks-of-shame are starting to catch up. Forced by her doctor to face reality she laces up her Converses and starts running.

Audience 87%; critics 88%; “an earnest and hilarious dramedy that finally gives Jillian Bell a role worthy of her gifts”.

Sorry We Missed You (U.K. 2019 social realism) Ricky and his family have been fighting an uphill struggle against debt since the 2008 financial crash. An opportunity to wrestle back some independence appears with a shiny new van and the chance to run a franchise as a self-employed delivery driver. BAFTA nom.

Audience n/a; critics 85%; “may strike some as tending toward the righteously didactic, but director Ken Loach’s passionate approach remains effective.

Shoot the Moon (USA 1982 comedy / drama) When a successful writer (Albert Finney) and his wife (Diane Keaton), discover that their marriage has lost its thrill and appeal, the two split up in search of more fulfilling relationships and must deal with their four confused young children. Golden Globe noms.

Audience 76%; critics 83%; critics consensus n/a.

State of the Union (USA 1948 comedy/drama) Frank Capra directs Spencer Tracy as an aircraft tycoon coerced into seeking the Republican Presidential nomination. His campaign manager suggests for appearance’s sake he reunite with estranged wife Katharine Hepburn.

Audience 78%; critics 80%; critics consensus n/a.

Judy and Punch (Australia 2019 comedy/crime drama) In the anarchic town of Seaside, nowhere near the sea, puppeteers Judy (Mia Wasikowska) and Punch are trying to resurrect their marionette show. The show is a hit due to Judy’s superior puppeteering, but Punch’s driving ambition and penchant for whisky lead to an inevitable tragedy that Judy must avenge.

Audience n/a; critics 75%; “revisits classic characters from a fresh perspective, marking debuting writer-director Mirrah Foulkes as a filmmaking talent to watch.

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