[What Did Jaci Think? Early September]

Support the Girls is an incredibly kind film. It’s easy to dismiss conceptually, as it focuses on a day in the life of a manager of a knock-off Hooters-type sports bar. All of the labor in an establishment like that is dismissed by society, but the gift of the film is the generosity with which it honors her work and the work of her employees. Regina Hall delivers terrific performance as Lisa the manager, putting out fires on all levels, and providing firm but loving guidance to all the lives in her orbit. Loved it. (Also loved imagining the reaction Haley Lu Richardson’s Columbus character would have to her character here.)

The Little Stranger unexpectedly reminded me of Damsel, another film this summer where behavior generally coded as romantic is correctly recognized to be creepy. Damsel does this in the context of a Western, The Little Stranger as perhaps a ghost story. If you’re looking for traditional scares, you’ll be disappointed, but if you can appreciate Dohmnall Gleason’s skill at portraying nerdy entitlement, you’ll experience a timely film about a man destroying everything he views as lesser to himself in his attempt to claim what he thinks he deserves.

I almost walked out of The Bookshop about ten minutes in, when a third patronizing white man had given unasked-for advice to Emily Mortimer. I thought “I would rather be in concessions watching Black Panther with the sound off” and while I did not walk out, I’m pretty sure I made the wrong choice. I remember enjoying the novella when I read it a few years ago, but this film is grating, absurd, and unattractively filmed. Excellent knitwear, though.

I wanted to dig Destination Wedding a good deal more than I did, though I must admit I laughed a lot because I, like the characters, hate people. I do not, however, like transphobic jokes, of which there were several. It’s 2018. Catch up. (Things I did like: the play-like structure where only Reeves & Ryder have lines, the incredibly awkward sex scene, Winona Ryder in flannel jammies.)

The Wife was also deeply irritating. While yes, of course, Glenn Close is excellent in it, the story itself does not work because the attempt to establish the start of her relationship with her husband is completely unbelievable. Maybe – MAYBE – it would have worked with a charismatic actor, but Harry Lloyd was not up to the task of overcoming the series of red flags around their meeting and grooming, I mean, courtship.

A Simple Favor washed all of this irritation away with an extremely strong martini. It’s the queerest film I’ve seen this fall (and keep in mind, late September included both Lizzie and Colette, so more on those soon). I’m a fan of Paul Feig’s work anyway, but Feig updating noir? With Blake Lively in menswear? And Anna Kendrick as a barely-keeping-it-together mommy vlogger? And Henry Golding in his second throwback picture in two months? And the delicious French pop soundtrack? I can’t wait to see it again.