Obviously Won’t You Be My Neighbor? made me cry. The trailer made me cry. REVIEWS MADE ME CRY. It’s not just a tearjerker, and it’s not a hagiography. It’s the portrait of a complicated man who had frustrations and room for growth, but who also, of course, embodied a vital and rare, tender masculinity.
I couldn’t fit Kenyan film Supa Modo into my regular SIFF schedule, so I was delighted when it came back for Best of SIFF. It’s a simple story about a girl with a terminal illness, whose village bands together to treat her like she’s a superhero. Among the many small joys of this movie was seeing a film narrator character after being introduced to the concept in last year’s Bad Black.
The Rider, written and directed by Chloé Zhao (Songs My Brothers Taught Me), also stars nonprofessional actors as versions of themselves. This beautiful film follows rodeo rider Brady Blackburn (Brady Jandreau) as he tries to find his way after a likely career-ending injury. It’s not a new story, but it feels real because it is. Also, the cinematography is just gorgeous.
Nancy is a film about a young woman and devoted liar who believes – or wants to believe, or wants others to believe – that she was stolen as a child & raised by the kidnapper pretending to be her mother. Rather than the creepfest it had the potential to be, it became a film about human connection and grace. Bonus points for a smooth use of changing aspect ratio. (Also, after seeing this and Hereditary so close together, I just really want Ann Dowd to get to play someone nice, maybe some gentle story with Dylan Baker).
Lobster Cop is not about a cop that is a lobster. It is also not about a cop who polices lobsters. It is about cops who open a lobster – really, crayfish – restaurant as cover for a surveillance operation on a drug crew. It also should have leaned into the screwball of it all (the whole movie stops when a cop is – unnecessarily – killed in action). I admittedly am more lenient on this movie than it deserves because it also included a subtextual gay romance, nevermind that when the significant looks and touches are between a cop and a robber it was never going to end well.
On streaming, I caught the 3 part A Very English Scandal, where the biggest scandal is the gay relationship and not the conspiracy to commit murder. Delicious and heartbreaking all at once.
But most importantly in this two week period was the one-two punch of Rape Jokes & Nanette, Cameron Esposito out there telling all my queer-kid-raised-Catholic secrets & Hannah Gadsby tearing me apart in a really necessary way. Nanette was described to me by a friend as inspiring but not uplifting, which is correct. I couldn’t end the night with it – I had to watch something soft first – but I also can’t stop talking about it. It lays bare how marginalized people tell our stories in a way that’s incredibly true and also that I’d never considered. I think you should know nothing more than that going in. & I think I need to watch it again soon.