The Mustang starring Matthias Schoenaerts and Gideon Adlon

New Shows + Movies by Women — August 7, 2020

There’s a good selection of new movies this week, but no new fiction series. Check the last section for a new docu-series “Immigration Nation”, however. In fact, I’d say the documentaries this week are some of the most important that I’ve had the opportunity to feature.

If you’ve missed them, there are a number of good narrative series that’ve come available recently. I featured Gen Z character study “In My Skin” last week and reviewed it this week. The five-episode Welsh series has quickly become a favorite and it’s easily in discussion for best series I’ve seen this year. It’s showrun and written by Kayleigh Llewellyn, directed by Lucy Forbes, and is available on Hulu (or the BBC app if you’re not in the U.S.)

I’d also recommend “Never Have I Ever”. Created by Mindy Kaling and showrun by Lang Fisher, the 10-episode coming-of-age series is funny, superbly emotional, and features a diverse cast. It’s available on Netflix.

While I haven’t seen them, I’ve heard good things about Australian/British comedy “Frayed” (HBO in the U.S., BBC app elsewhere) and the Netflix reboot of “The Baby-Sitters Club”.

There’s also FX/Hulu’s joint miniseries “Mrs. America”, which tells the story of the women who drove and opposed the women’s liberation movement in the 1970s. “Love, Victor” is a very charming queer coming-of-age series on Hulu. If you’ve got Apple TV, check out semi-musical “Little Voice”.

Those are some of the top new fiction series by women that come to mind if you’re looking for one to start. Let’s get to the movies this week:

NEW MOVIES BY WOMEN

The Mustang (HBO)
directed by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre

A prisoner is offered the opportunity to participate in a rehabilitation program where he’ll work with horses. He tries to take pride in this while actively resisting efforts to shorten his sentence. He distrusts his temper that left his partner disabled, and believes he’s safest to others in jail.

Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre is a French actress who’s shifted more toward writing and directing in recent years. You may have seen some of her directing in series like this year’s “Mrs. America” and 2019’s “The Act”.

You can watch “The Mustang” with an HBO subscription, or see streaming services where you can rent it right here.

Ordinary Love (Hulu)
co-directed by Lisa Barros D’Sa

I’ve featured “Ordinary Love” before, but this is the first time it’s come to a subscription service. Much as I’m tempted to cancel Liam Neeson these days, this looks good and it’s one of the few forays he’s made into more serious films recently.

One can’t help but think of Neeson’s own history, in losing his wife Natasha Richardson suddenly after a ski accident in 2009. It’s difficult to know how much of that experience is brought into a performance where a character finds out his wife is dying. It’s also difficult to know how much it matters in discussing the performance.

Lisa Barros D’Sa is part of a director team with Glenn Leyburn. They directed “Cherrybomb” and “Good Vibrations” together previous to this.

You can watch “Ordinary Love” with a Hulu subscription, or see streaming services where you can rent it right here.

I Used to Go Here (VOD)
directed by Kris Rey

A novelist is invited back to speak at her alma mater. Her writing career is stumbling, and the trip finds her alternately involved in the lives of her former professor and current students. Caught in between, she has to figure out what direction she wants to take next.

This was originally scheduled for a SXSW premier in March, and might’ve been able to use that as a launchpad. Unfortunately, COVID-19 cut that possibility short. “I Used to Go Here” has gotten good reviews, so perhaps it will find life in home rental.

Director Kris Rey has an intriguing life story. She was once a Chicago public school teacher, and then later a successful independent ice cream maker who lost a battle for her business with the state of Illinois (this opens up a whole other conversation about the political power of the ice cream industry – yes, really, I’m not even kidding – in Illinois).

She formed a filmmaking duo with Joe Swanberg in the mid-2000s that helped drive the mumblecore movement forward. The pair were responsible for casting Greta Gerwig in one of her first roles, “Young American Bodies”.

You can rent “I Used to Go Here” for $7 from Amazon or Google Play.

Work It (Netflix)
directed by Laura Terruso

We’ve all been there. We want to get into a good college, but whether we can depends on winning a dance competition. I mean, dance scholarships are extremely competitive, but getting in on one when you’ve never danced before…OK, I’m also the guy who defends “Step Up: Revolution” concluding with a community-wide dance sequence that melted the capitalist villain’s icy heart, so maybe I’m not one to talk. End of the day: if there’s good choreography in it, I’ll watch.

Director Laura Terruso has helmed a couple under-the-radar comedies: “Fits and Starts” and “Good Girls Get High”.

You can watch “Work It” with a Netflix subscription.

Spinster (VOD)
directed by Andrea Dorfman

Chelsea Peretti stars as a woman trying to date as a freshly-single 39 year-old who then decides, oh wait, that’s a silly thing to focus her entire life around. Chelsea Peretti then stars as a woman who gets shit done and actually lives life according to her own priorities.

Director Andrea Dorfman has helmed a number of Canadian indie films that haven’t necessarily made much noise in the states. She’s also directed a few documentaries.

You can rent “Spinster” for $7 from Fandango or Redbox.

Crshd (VOD)
directed by Emily Cohn

It’s Izzy’s last day of her freshman year at college. She hasn’t had sex yet, so she decides it’s going to happen before the end of the night. Doing this means getting into an exclusive party. Hijinks ensue.

This is writer-director Emily Cohn’s first feature.

You can rent “Crshd” for $4 from Google Play, $5 from iTunes, or $6 from Amazon.

NEW DOCUMENTARIES BY WOMEN

Immigration Nation (Netflix docu-series)
co-showrunner Christina Clusiau

I’m so exhausted of this. What do I do? Do I argue for these people’s humanity for the thousandth time? Do we list how ICE has violated countless laws and operational procedures in its short 17 years of existence, how vastly it’s committed human rights violations, how the Senate has allowed them to break the law without consequence time and again?

ICE has abducted citizens. It’s broken international laws for treatment of refugees that the United States agreed to and is legally bound to uphold. It’s sprayed chemicals to choke detainees. It’s denied medical care to children.

“Immigration Nation” brings a host of new allegations against ICE. At some point, you’ve got to hope they make enough of a difference.

You can watch “Immigration Nation” with a Netflix subscription.

The Fight (Amazon)
co-directed by Elyse Steinberg

The United States is running concentration camps. The United States is stripping women’s rights. The United States is destroying trans rights that are human rights. The United States is destroying our ability to be accurately represented in government in order to fight these things.

“The Fight” looks at lawyers engaged in cases that weigh on each of these issues.

You can watch “The Fight” with an Amazon Prime subscription.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

If you enjoy what you read on this site, consider subscribing to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

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