MARRIAGE STORY
2019, Netflix, 136 min, USA, Dir: Noah Baumbach

Propelled by fiercely authentic performances, this incisive and compassionate portrait of a marriage breaking up and a family staying together plays out with subtlety and sincerity at every turn. New York couple Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and Charlie (Adam Driver) have survived separations until Nicole commits to starting a new life in California. Charlie accepts the idea of divorce - but cannot accept the bicoastal custody arrangement that comes with it. Laura Dern and Alan Alda costar as Nicole and Charlie’s dueling divorce attorneys.


THE FAVOURITE
2018, Fox Searchlight, 119 min, Dir: Yorgos Lanthimos

Early 18th-century England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper. When new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance to return to her aristocratic roots. As the politics of war become quite time-consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the queen’s companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way.


PHILOMENA
2013, The Weinstein Company, 98 min, UK, Dir: Stephen Frears

Decades after giving up a child to nuns for adoption, Philomena Lee (Judi Dench in a tour de force performance) travels to America to try to find her son. Journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan, who also co-wrote the screenplay), sensing a great human interest story, travels with her, and both make surprising discoveries along the way. PHILOMENA gives a dark chapter of recent Irish history a human dimension thanks to director Stephen Frears’ deft blend of drama and humor.


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