Which Movie Should You Watch This Thanksgiving Weekend?
By John Horn with Darby Maloney
Thanksgiving is the holiday where we come together to be grateful, share quality time with friends and family, struggle to take more than one bite of your mother-in-law's Jell-O Fluffy Cran-Raspberry Salad, and try to figure out what in the world everyone can do together once the food ends and before the political fights begin. (Leave, before it's too late!)
If going to the multiplex is part of the plan, we have everything you need to know to make your decision. Avoid fighting with your relatives with the help of the movies.
Remember, it's OK to divide and conquer. Sometimes the best idea is for one group to see one film, while another faction gets tickets for a different movie -- and maybe the third finds a nearby bar or coffee shop and settles down with a good mystery (like Tana French's The Witch Elm).
IF YOU WANT A CINEMATIC EXPERIENCE AND DON'T MIND READING
Roma, drama, rated R (2 hr, 15 min)
In Spanish with English subtitles
If you live in the Los Angeles area, that means you're lucky. For a lot of reasons, but they include the fact that you can actually find a movie theater that's showing"Roma. This Netflix film will be coming to the streaming service Dec. 14, but it's getting a rare-for-Netflix theatrical release starting today.
We recommend seeing it on the big screen if you can. Roma is writer-director Alfonso Cuarón's (Gravity) deeply personal reminiscence of a year from his childhood in Mexico City during the early 1970s.
It has a few very intense scenes, but its beauty balances its darkness. The movie unfolds almost like a dream. Cuarón told us that he wanted the camera to be "almost like a ghost that is observing, looking at the past. ... I want it to feel more as if it's haunting you."
IF YOU WANT A MOVIE WITH STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS
The Favourite, biographical dramedy, rated R (1 hr 59 min)
The Favourite follows two women (Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz) as they compete for the affections of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) in the 18th century. This is the newest feature from filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, The Killing of a Sacred Deer) -- and it is definitely not The Crown.
A Private War, biographical drama, rated R (1 hr, 50 min)
In A Private War, directed by Matthew Heineman, Rosamund Pike plays celebrated war correspondent Marie Colvin. She was an American reporter for The Sunday Times of London who was killed while on assignment in Syria in 2012.
Even before her death, Colvin was a bit of a legend among her colleagues. She'd reported from conflict zones in Kosovo, East Timor, Iraq, Libya, Chechnya -- and she even lost her left eye in a grenade attack in 2001 in Sri Lanka. That didn't hold her back.
Can You Ever Forgive Me?, biographical drama, rated R (1 hr, 46 min)
The lead character in Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a woman over 50 who's a hoarder, an alcoholic, a misanthrope, a failure in her career, and whose closest relationship is with a cat. Director Marielle Heller told us she was all in for that: "Hell yeah, give me that movie. I want it. I think there's something about a character like that that if it was a man we'd be like, that sounds interesting." Melissa McCarthy plays that lead character -- writer Lee Israel, who became known for being a successful literary forger.
IF YOU WANT A FAMILY MOVIE THAT GROWN-UPS AND KIDS CAN ENJOY
Ralph Breaks the Internet, comedy, rated PG (1 hr, 52 min)
This animated film has some of the best reviews of any movie in theaters right now. A follow-up to Wreck-It Ralph, it's been singled out for making fun of its own makers -- the Walt Disney Company. It might not be as transgressive as Deadpool, but it's a start.
And there's a scene in which Disney princesses appear fully conscious of the story tropes that have bound them for generations. Progress?
IF YOU WANT SOMETHING VISUALLY STUNNING
At Eternity's Gate, historical drama, rated PG-13 (1 hr, 50 min)
At Eternity's Gate is a visually stunning movie where the light is almost like a character in the film. Willem Dafoe plays Vincent Van Gogh at the end of his life, when he was practically creating a painting a day. Directed by visual artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), the movie is less interested in Van Gogh's mental health than how he saw light and color and put that on canvas. Dafoe told us how he learned to paint to play the part.
IF YOU'RE WITH PEOPLE WHO DISAGREE ABOUT PRESIDENT TRUMP BUT AGREE THAT BIGOTRY IS UGLY AND JAZZ IS LOVELY
Green Book, historical dramedy, rated PG-13 (2 hr, 10 min)
Director Peter Farrelly is best known for comedies like There's Something About Mary, bus his new movie Green Book is about race, class, and two men who find common ground despite their differences. The story, based on real events, follows African American pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and his Italian-American driver/bodyguard (Viggo Mortensen) as they tour the segregated south in the early 1960s.
IF YOU WANT A MOVIE ABOUT POLITICS BUT NOT TRUMP
The Front Runner, political drama, rated R (1 hr, 53 min)
The new movie from Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air) is about politics and the media that covers it. The Front Runner looks back at the rapid fall of presidential candidate Sen. Gary Hart (Hugh Jackman), when he was accused of an extramarital affair.
People may misremember certain details about the 1987 story -- the Miami Herald actually started tailing Hart before he challenged the media to follow him around -- but what's hard to forget is how it changed political reporting forever.
What does this story tell us about politics in 2018? Reitman told us, "This is a film that offers a prism of 1987 to look at today. ... I'm really just hoping that the movie offers one more angle so that we can have a rational conversation about a world that is very confusing right now."
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