Two weeks ago, I headed back to Paris to finish up the last semester of my Master’s degree. (Disclaimer: As school starts back up, my posts will probably be less frequent.) I love using the eight hour flight to catch up on all the movies I missed while they were in theaters, because I absolutely cannot sleep on long flights. This time around, I watched four movies! And all four happened to be directed by women. Here are my abbreviated thoughts on all of them.
Skate Kitchen (2018)
Based on a real life group of women skateboarders in New York City, Skate Kitchen explores Camille’s (Rachelle Vinberg) coming-of-age as she navigates a tense relationship with her mother and her blossoming friendships with other skaters. Full of diversity, complex women characters, and a pink-haired Jaden Smith, Skate Kitchen is an interesting and aesthetically beautiful film that, while imperfect, gives viewers a look into skate culture in New York. Aspects of the film definitely felt a little rushed and underdeveloped (e.g. Camille’s relationship with her mother), and the climax and resolution were certainly nothing to write home about, but I still found Skate Kitchen to be an intriguing watch with a lot of potential.
The Darkest Minds (2018)
While this was definitely the poorest-reviewed film I watched on this particular flight, I actually found myself enjoying The Darkest Minds. Several years ago I read the film’s source material, and while I never ended up finishing the series, I found the first book compelling. It takes deft world-building skills to transform the somewhat-complex premise into a watchable film that isn’t too bogged down in the specifics, so kudos to director Jennifer Yuh Nelson. A strong dose of insta-love and teenage angst might turn some people off, but if you’re in the mood to watch some mutant teens run from the law and take on their powerful enemies, this may be the film for you. It doesn’t hurt that it has a diverse, conventionally attractive cast with decent acting chops!
This documentary exploring the life and work of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was made almost entirely by women. From its directors to its music supervisor, RBG pays homage to its subject matter by elevating dozens of women in the film industry. Combining an abundance of archival visual and audio recordings with interviews with Bader Ginsberg and her friends/family, the documentary ultimately provides a comprehensive and emotional look into her life as well as the movement towards gender equality in U.S. law. This was definitely my favorite of the movies I watched on the flight, and I’ll be rooting for RBG during awards season this year.
The Hurt Locker (2008)
I will admit that this was probably the most difficult film to watch given the circumstances, as subtitles were not available and I’m not a fan of listening to music/movies loudly via headphones. That being said, it’s clear why the film made Kathryn Bigelow an Oscar winner (the first and only woman to win the Best Director award). Jeremy Renner won me over last year in Wind River, so it was interesting to see him playing a role prior to the explosion of his career, and his co-star Anthony Mackie also gave an impressive performance. The tension and action that brought The Hurt Locker critical acclaim was not overstated, and though I’m not a fan of movies about the military/war, I found myself engaged throughout the entire film.