Girlfriends and Misfits

Lots of fashion inspiration here

Hello and welcome to the fifth edition of Thelma and Alice at the Movies, a recommendation newsletter for people who want to watch more movies made by women. You can find additional recommendations and reviews over at my blog or on Twitter @ThelmaandAlice. Today, I am getting my second shot of the Moderna vaccine, so maybe next month I’ll be recommending a film that I actually saw in a real, live movie theater with other human beings. In the meantime, here are some picks that you can find on your small screen. . .

The Mother of Frances Ha

Girlfriends (1978)
Streaming on Criterion, VOD on Amazon for $2.99

I finally caught with this movie after hearing about it for years. Don’t wait as long as I did! This has to be one of the most influential movies of the 1970s. With its quirky, artsy, twenty-something female lead and documentary-style camerawork, it paved the way for all the 90s indie movies that you love—and maybe a lot of your favorite TV shows, too. Its theme is female friendship, and it follows two roommates, Susan and Annie, whose lives go in different directions when Annie decides to get married and moves out to live with her husband. Meanwhile, Susan has to find a way to cover the rent while also pursuing a career in art photography. In an interview at Filmmaker Magazine, director Claudia Weill said she wrote it (with screenwriter Vicki Polon) because she didn’t see herself in movies, and apparently Weill had to carry around rolls of the film from studio to studio in order to sell it — just as Susan lugs around her portfolio from gallery to gallery in downtown NYC. IMDB * REVIEW * TRAILER

Netflix Hidden Treasure

The Kindergarten Teacher (2018)
Streaming on Netflix

Maggie Gyllenhaal is mesmerizing in this story about a kindergarten teacher who becomes enthralled with one of her students. She believes she sees poetic genius in a little boy and goes to great lengths to nurture his talent. At the same time, she’s struggling to locate her own purpose as her children are growing up and don’t need her as much. It’s a mid-life crisis movie mixed with elements of a psychological thriller and the perfect vehicle for Gyllenhaal’s odd, slightly destabilizing screen presence. IMDB * REVIEW * TRAILER

A Misfit Movie to Watch With Your Kids

Troop Zero (2019)
Streaming on Amazon Prime

I often struggle to get through animated movies with my kids, so I’m always looking for live-action fare that we can watch together. This one fits the bill as it follows a misfit girl scout troop in a small Southern town. The rag-tag group is led by Viola Davis, who finds herself in competition with her old rival, played by Allison Janney, whose own troop is highly traditional—and competitive. Davis and Janney are great together and the children are truly funny. Although it has its cliche moments, it’s more eccentric than most family movies and has some surprisingly emotional moments. IMDB * REVIEW * TRAILER

Tilda to the Max

Orlando (1993)
Streaming on Amazon Prime

I recently watched Pedro Almodóvar’s short film The Human Voice, where Tilda Swinton delivers a tortured monologue while changing into various beautiful ensembles. She also buys an axe. It’s amazing. After it was over, I wanted more Tilda, so I tried Orlando, an adaption of Virginia Woolf’s novel of the same name. Orlando is probably Woolf’s most playful book, a gender-bending sci-fi historical drama that was written for Vita Sackville-West as a kind of love letter. The adaptation has the same spirit of fun, with Tilda stealing glances at the camera and donning a variety of fabulous costumes. IMDB * REVIEW * TRAILER

*************WiLD CARD*************

Little Shop of Horrors + GMO technology + Almodóvar-esque color palette