Thursday, January 25, 2024

Getting Ready for the 2024 Oscars, Part 1: Some Movies You Might Have Missed and a Recap of the Nominations

[I review the "The Holdovers" - nominated for a 2024 Best Picture Oscar - as well as "Rustin" and "The Color Purple" - films with Oscar nominated performances.]

Oscar nominations were announced this last week and no surprise that "Barbenheimer" ("Barbie" and "Oppenheimer") dominated. I pride myself in seeing all of the nominated films and performances before the ceremony that I can - I don't live in a very large metropolitan area so often the smaller films don't even make it here - but I am happy to say that I have already seen most of the films nominated and weighed in on them, too.

So if you are like me and you want to be in the know, you might have some boning up to do if you want to be Oscar ready, especially if you are going to participate in some Oscar competitions. I am here to help! 

Here are some nominated films and performances that I hadn't yet gotten around to or that had snuck up on me (and maybe you too) and where you can find them. 

Also, at the end of this post, I have listed all of the nominated films with links to my reviews which also tell you where you can find the films.

See you at the Oscars!

The Holdovers (2023)

A bittersweet dramedy about a history teacher, a cook and a student forced to stay behind at a boarding school over winter break.

My movie-going companion wanted to see this one ages ago, but I didn't know much about it and, not being a Paul Giamatti fan, I dragged my feet. Well, I should have picked my feet up.  

This was one of my favorite movies of the year.

Paul Giamatti plays Paul Hunham, who teaches Ancient History at Barton Academy, a New England boy's elite boarding school.  His students are rich, entitled and troubled.  It's Christmas break in 1970, the Vietnam War is in full-swing and five boys must stay at school over the break because of various family issues.  

Hunham is not a well-liked teacher, not by his students or his fellow teachers.  Ironically, Hunham also attended Barton on scholarship as a young man.  But now he is an authoritarian with a difficult personality and has no qualms failing his students if they don't produce, something that Barton's headmaster is not happy about, since giving a donor's son a failing grade leads to no money for the school.

So Hunham is on the naughty list for Christmas, and as punishment, must stay behind to babysit the boys who have to stay over Christmas break. And babysitting these boys is not an easy job.  They are troubled, especially young Angus Tully (Dominic Sessa), whose mother is leaving him at school so she can go off on honeymoon with her new husband. And no one likes Angus either.  Keeping them all company is the cafeteria manager, Mary Lamb (Da'Vine Joy Randolph), who is grieving the loss of her son, a graduate of Barton and who was later killed in Vietnam.

Hunham stays true to form, forcing the boys to study and exercise instead of enjoying their time off, but after a few days, one of the boys' father arrives in a helicopter to take them all skiing. See?  I said they were entitled.  Sadly, though, Hunham is not able to reach Angus's parents to get permission for him to leave so he is left alone with Hunham and Mary.

All kinds of hijinks and misadventures ensue as the mutual dislike of each other turns to understanding as Angus and Hunham each learn about the other and bond - we knew that was going to happen, but it's how they get there that will keep you watching.

Paul Giamatti has made a living being a curmudgeon ever since his dramatic outburst about merlot in the movie "Sideways (also directed by Alexander Payne, who directed this film)." I always saw him as a one-note actor, boiling over and shaking with anger as his specialty.  But here he shows a softer side.  Yes, he still gets to emote but his performance is very nuanced.  I believed him as a troubled guy with a disappointing life and I cared about him. His Best Actor Golden Globe win and now this Oscar nomination - well-deserved. 

But Da'Vine Joy Randolph was a revelation.  Not having seen the film yet and not knowing about her performance, I was surprised by her Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe win - who the heck is she? - but after seeing her in this, again well-deserved.  It was a wonderful performance.  And last but not least, newcomer Sessa was also wonderful in a difficult role and I am sure we will be seeing more of him.

Filmed at several Massachusetts boarding schools including Groton, the beauty of the campus and the snow-covered New England towns, covered bridge and all, belies the struggles going on with our characters in this very special, bittersweet film, very thoughtfully written by David Hemingson, whose original screenplay has been nominated for a 2024 Academy Award. The film has also been nominated for Best Picture, Best Film Editing with Giamatti and Randolph getting Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress nods respectively.  Sadly, director Alexander Payne was snubbed. 

Rosy the Reviewer says...a wonderful bittersweet Christmas movie that you will want to watch year round. One of the best movies of the year! (Peacock)

Rustin (2023)


It's sad how people can be erased from history when they don't fit the mold. That's what happened to Bayard Rustin.

Bayard Rustin (Colman Domingo) was a mover and shaker in Martin Luther King's fight for civil rights.  He is right there behind King as King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech at the 1963 March on Washington, which Rustin was instrumental in making happen.  But Bayard Rustin was also an openly gay man and that didn't fit the picture.

Produced by Michele and Barack Obama, this is Rustin's story, a Quaker and activist who embraced non-violent protest working with Martin Luther King.  He actually sparked King to act, but early on, was dismissed by King when King feared being linked with a homosexual. It didn't help that Rustin was suspected of having Communist leanings.  

But in 1963, when Rustin wanted to plan a march on Washington, he enlisted King (Aml Ameen) again.  He also had to get approval from other movers and shakers in the movement - Roy Wilkins (Chris Rock), A. Philip Randolph (Glynn Turman), John Lewis (Maxwell Whittington-Cooper) and others. The organizers were hoping for 100,000 to show up in Washington D.C. for The March for Freedom and Jobs. They got that and more - 250,000 came and the Civil Rights Act passed nine months later.

Written by Julian Breece and Dustin Lance Black and directed by George C. Wolfe, the film, though very talky, is an historically important film, with a tour de force performance from Domingo, who has been rewarded with a 2024 Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Domingo has been a working actor for years, toiling on TV, but this is his first starring role in a feature film.  And he makes the most of it.  He also starred in "The Color Purple," (see review below) in a decidedly different role which he also knocked out of the park.

This was not just an homage to Rustin but an homage to political activism and organizing, reminding us of what it takes to make change happen and the people who brought about change via the Civil Rights Movement. And speaking of those people, I would have liked to have seen an epilogue showing the actors next to the real life people with something about what the real life people went on to do.  I know epilogues like that can be a cliche, but in this case, these people deserve to be remembered.

In an interview, Domingo said that Michele and Barack Obama had specifically chosen him for the role and that Barack had told him, "There would be no Barack Obama without Bayard Rustin."

Rosy the Reviewer important film about a man who deserves his place in history (Netflix).

The Color Purple (2023)

A musical version of the 1985 film.

This is the film version of the stage musical, which ran on Broadway from 2005-2008 (revived in 2016) and which, in turn, was based on the 1985 Oscar-nominated adaption of Alice Walker's 1982 novel. Most of you probably saw the first film and/or read the book, but in case you didn't, here is a recap of the story.

In 1909 Georgia, teenager Celie (Phylicia Pearl Mpasi as young Celie) lives with her sister Nettie (Halle Bailey) and abusive father Alfonso (Deon Cole). Their mother has died and Alfonso has been sexually abusing Celie causing her to become pregnant twice.  Both children were taken away from Celie and Alfonso forces her to marry local farmer, "Mister" Johnson (Colman Domingo), who already has three children. She is basically there to take care of the children and act as a housekeeper.

Then Alfonso goes after Nettie but she escapes and moves in with Celie until Mister tries it on with her too.  But she is not having it.  She leaves telling Celie she will write her every day.

Fast forward to 1917. Now Celie (Fantasia Barrino) is older and resigned to her life of misery. Mister's son Harpo (Corey Hawkins) marries Sofia (Danielle Brooks), but unlike Celie, who is compliant and puts up with abuse, Sofia is defiant. Then singer Shug Avery (Taraji P. Henson) comes to town and befriends Celie. These three women bond in this story of sisterhood.

After years of abuse, will Celie finally find her voice and be reunited with Nettie and her children?

If you read the book or saw the original movie, you know the answer.  Secrets are revealed and good triumphs over evil.  If only life was really like that.

This is a difficult story to live through because of the rampant racism and patriarchy that Celie and others have to endure.  But it's also a story of endurance and hope.  The acting is excellent, especially Brooks as Sofia (she won a Tony for her performance in the 2016 revival of the Broadway musical and has been nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar) and Colman Domingo as Mister. With this role and his role in "Rustin (see review above)," Domingo certainly had a good 2023. And Whoopi Goldberg, who played Celie in the original film also makes an uncredited cameo appearance as Celie's midwife.

Though this is a musical, it's not one where people burst into song that much for no reason.  There is a little of that, but the music is mostly woven into dream sequences, church and stylized dances, so if you think you don't like musicals, this one probably won't bother you that much.

However, the film, directed by Blitz Bazawule with a screenplay by Marcus Gardley, is slow-moving, and though this is not a remake of the earlier movie per se because it's a musical, I had to ask myself - did we need this new version? 

Rosy the Reviewer says...I can appreciate the production values and the film is worth seeing for the performances, but I don't think we needed this remake, even if it was a musical version, when we had a perfectly good Oscar nominated film already. When something is good, let's leave it alone, and the original was good (For rent of purchase on Amazon Prime)

And as promised, here is a round-up of the nominated films and performances that you need to see if you want to be in the know when the Oscars roll around.  I have included my earlier reviews that also tell you where you can find the film to stream, if available (click on the name of the film).


See you at the Oscars!

Nominated for Best Picture:

  • "Anatomy of a Fall" - Five nominations including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director 
  • "Barbie" - Eight nominations including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress 
  • "The Holdovers" - Five nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress (See review above)
  • "Killers of the Flower Moon" - Ten nominations including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director 
  • "Maestro" - Seven nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress 
  • "Oppenheimer" - Thirteen nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director 
  • "Past Lives" - Two nominations including Best Picture 
  • "Poor Things" - Eleven nominations including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director (Stay tuned for review next week)
  • "American Fiction" - Six nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor (Stay tuned for review next week)
  • "The Zone of Interest" - Five nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best International Feature Film (will review this film as soon as I can find it somewhere)!

And though these films were not nominated for Best Picture, they included some nominated performances and screenplay:

  • "Rustin" - Best Actor (See review above)
  • "Nyad" - Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress
  • "The Color Purple" - Best Supporting Actress (see review above)
  • "Society of the Snow" - Best International Feature (Stay tuned for review next week)


Thanks for reading!

See you next time!

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to like it and share it on Facebook, Twitter, or other sites; email it to your friends and/or follow me on Facebook at 

And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Rosy the Reviewer Weighs in on Some Good Sports Movies: Who Knew?

 [I review the sports films "Ferrari," "Air" and "Nyad"]

It's a well-known fact, in my family at least, that I am not a sports gal.  I have paid my dues watching my kids and grandkids compete, but I am not known to keep sports stats or even make it through an entire TV football game.  But a good movie is a good movie, no matter what the subject matter, and these are some good movies.  And in a time when movies seem to be trying to appeal to young people with super heroes and horror, it's refreshing to see movies that appeal to adults. These films honor superheroes of a special kind.

Ferrari (2023)

It's 1957 and not only is Enzo Ferrari's business in trouble, his personal life is also a mess.

Enzo Ferrari (Adam Driver) started his successful car company in 1947, but now it's the summer of 1957, and his company is floundering. He has been too focused on sports cars and speed and not manufacturing enough cars for us common folk, er well, common rich folks. He is faced with merging with another company to keep his business afloat. 

But Ferrari's company woes are not the only problems he faces.  He lives with his wife, Laura (Penelope Cruz), but let's just say they don't get along.  In fact, early in the movie she pulls a gun on him.  They are both mourning the death of their only son and heir, Dino, and Enzo spends most of his time with his mistress, Lina Lardi (Shailene Woodley), and the son they have together, Piero (Giuseppe Festinese).  Lina is pressuring Enzo to legitimize Piero and give him the Ferrari name, and Ferrari does need an heir, but there is a problem - his wife, Laura.

It also doesn't help that Laura owns half of the company and Enzo can't move ahead with business deals without her shares.  She demands a check for $500,000 which would bankrupt the company if she cashes it.  She also finds out about Lina and Piero.  Not good.

But despite all of that, Ferrari is concentrating on his racing team and the upcoming Mille Miglia, an open road 1000 miles endurance race.

With a screenplay by Troy Kennedy Martin (based on a biography by Brock Yates) and directed by Michael Mann, as one would expect, there is beautiful cinematography, some dizzying racing scenes and lots of car shop talk in the film that culminates in a horrifying crash that made me jump out of my seat.

Adam Driver plays Ferrari with a steely majesty as the man worshiped for his accomplishments in a post-WW II Italy, but to see Adam Driver with white hair and all padded up to look like the 59-year-old Ferrari, I couldn't help but wonder, why him?  Don't get me wrong, I am a fan, but I couldn't help but think someone like Robert DeNiro would have been a better pick.  When I said that to my movie-going companion, she said perhaps Driver's name would pull in the younger crowd, and I think she is right.  And he is good in the role, but I have to say, I was a bit distracted by the make-up and prosthetics. And I am not going to get into the debate about his Italian accent. On the other hand, Penelope Cruz, ten years older than Driver, looks right for her role as Laura, and though it's basically a one note part - bitter - she gets to show her acting chops. But, Shailene Woodley seems out of place in this film and doesn't have much to do.

I came from a car racing family.  Both my Dad and brother were into drag racing and the Indy 500.  For some reason, my Dad was not as interested in European cars or Formula 1.  He was an American car guy, but the thrills of car racing run the gamut and there are thrills to be found in this film, no matter what your car racing preference. I felt his presence watching this film.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a standard old school biopic that car racing fans and movie fans alike will enjoy. (In theatres)

Air (2023)

It's all about how Nike went from a company known for running shoes to inventing the Air Jordan basketball shoe.

Now that sounds like a big yawn of a film, right?  Well, you would be wrong, because this film is fast and fun and engrossing. "Moneyball" comes to mind.  How could coming up with a computer-generated analysis to figure out what players to hire for the Oakland A's make for a good movie?  Well, we know how that worked out, right? - six Oscar nominations and countless other awards later. And "Air" is in that same league.

In 1984, Oregon-based Nike, Inc. is not doing well selling basketball shoes and co-founder and CEO Phil Knight (Ben Affleck) is thinking about shutting that division down. Converse has 54% of the basketball shoe market and Adidas 29%.  Nike, with only 17% of the market, can't compete. But he wants to give it one more shot.

So Knight gives Nike's basketball talent scout, Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon), the task of finding a spokesperson for Nike basketball shoes.  That's not easy, though, because many of the upcoming NBA draft have already made it clear they prefer Adidas and Converse shoes. But Sonny Vaccaro is not daunted.  He may be a nerdy, Dad-bod, Members Only-wearing guy, but he has moxie and wants the 21-year-old, third draft pick, Michael Jordan, even though it looks like there is no way they can get him, partly because of the money and partly because Jordan likes Adidas.

But Sonny is not a shrinking violet. He goes straight to Michael's mother, Deloris (Viola Davis), and tells her what Nike would do for Michael, and in preparation for meeting with Michael's parents, Vaccaro asks designer Peter Moore (Matthew Maher) to come up with a prototype shoe that will lure Michael and his parents. Moore does that, and he names it "Air Jordan."  After some negotiating ups and downs that are fun to watch, and Deloris driving a hard bargain, we see how it all came down for Michael Jordan to go with Nike.  And yes, we all know how this turned out, but in case you didn't know the details, an epilogue shows that what Nike was hoping for that first year - three million in sales - went to $162 million!

Sports movies with lots of sports action can be fun and exciting but, like "Moneyball," sometimes it's what goes on behind the scenes that is the most fun and exciting. And even without basketball footage, this film delivers.

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck together again, with Ben acting and directing, showing us once again what a brilliant director he is.  As for the acting, Matt does most of the heavy lifting, but the ensemble cast of Jason Bateman, Chris Tucker, Chris Messina and others all do their part too. The screenplay by Alex Convery is fast-moving and snappy, lots of 1980's nostalgia, and it all adds up to a smart, delightful and satisfying film. And can I give a special shout-out to Chris Tucker?  No matter what he does he makes me laugh. And that's a good thing.  He is a special guy.  

And fun fact: who knew the "Just do it" advertising slogan came from what someone said when he was about to be executed.  See what you can learn from the movies?

Rosy the Reviewer says...this is one of those movies where you know how it ends, but it's the journey and it's an enjoyable one that even non-sports fans will love. (Amazon Prime) 

Nyad (2023)

The true story of swimmer, Diana Nyad, who at 64 was finally able to accomplish her dream of swimming the 110 miles from Cuba to Florida.

In 1978 at the age of 28, long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad (Annette Bening), whose name fittingly means water nymph, attempted to swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys without a shark cage, a distance of 110 miles and 60 hours in the water.  That try failed but 33 years later, she tried again, but an asthma attack scuppered that swim.  Her third and fourth attempts ended when she was stung by jellyfish and by the onslaught of bad weather, but finally her fifth attempt, at the age of 64, with the help of her best friend and coach, Bonnie Stoll (Jodie Foster) and boat captain and navigator, John Bartlett (Rhys Ifans), was successful, though there has been some controversy surrounding its authenticity.

Written by Julia Cox and directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (who also directed the Oscar-winning documentary "Free Solo"), this film is their first feature film, and it is all about that final swim and how Nyad got there, but it's also the story of a life-long friendship between Nyad and her coach and friend, Bonnie Stoll.  Jodie Foster and Annette Bening are a wonderful team.

We don't see Jodie Foster acting much these days, and in a recent interview, she said it has to be something special to get her to want to act anymore.  But this film is special, and she helps to make it so with her quiet, intense portrayal. But Annette gets the splashy role (sorry) as she embodies Nyad's huge ego and her "magnificent obsession," which I guess is what it takes to accomplish something really, really big.  Both Bening and Foster were nominated for Golden Globes, and I expect some Oscar nominations in their future. Speaking of Annette Bening - she is one of those actors who will give it all to her "art," and as beautiful as she is, doesn't shy away from looking like hell, which she often does in this film.  She also did all of her own swimming, saying that some days she was in the water for over 8 hours.

Bening and Foster are both wonderful actresses individually, but together they are electric and just wonderful together.  They tell a story of a strong friendship and you can tell it's a real life friendship because it just emanates from the screen.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a riveting true story of what it takes to achieve a life-long goal and the power of female friendship. (Netflix) 

Thanks for reading!

See you next time!

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to like it and share it on Facebook, Twitter, or other sites; email it to your friends and/or follow me on Facebook at 

And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that, and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Some Good Movies You Might Have Missed in 2023

[I review "Past Lives," "Fair Play," "Anatomy of a Fall" and "A Good Person"]

Past Lives (2023)

Two childhood friends reunite 20 years later.

Na Young (Greta Lee) and Hae Sung (Teo Yoo) are 12-year-old classmates living in South Korea.  They really, really like each other, so it's devastating when Na Young's parents decide to immigrate to Toronto. Fast forward 12 years. Na Young has changed her name to Nora Moon and moved to New York City, and Hae Sung has just finished his military service in South Korea. When Nora discovers on Facebook that Hae Sung is looking for her, they reconnect through video calls, talking at all hours, but eventually Nora tells Hae Sung that they should stop talking so she can focus on her writing and her life in New York. At a writer's retreat, Nora meets Arthur (John Magaro), and they fall in love and marry.  Meanwhile, Hae Sung meets a woman he likes. 

Fast forward another 12 years. Now Hae Sung has broken up with his girlfriend, and he and Nora are back in touch.  Hae Sung makes plans to visit Nora in New York to finally see her and meet Nora's husband.  This brings up all kinds of insecurities for Arthur.  Did Nora marry him for a green card? But he takes it all in stride. The three go out to dinner and, speaking in Korean, Hae Sung wonders what Nora and he might have been in past lives and what would have happened if she had never left South Korea. What will happen?  Will these two get together?

This is what could be affectionately called a "small film," but this little film has already garnered 39 awards and is nominated for a Best Picture Golden Globe nomination and one for Lee for Best Actress. It was also on People Magazine's Top Ten films of the year.  Speaking of Lee, fans of "The Morning Show" will recognize her as Stella Bak, but in this film, Nora is a real departure from Stella as Lee shows her softer side. The yearning between Nora and Hae Sung is palpable.

Written and directed by Celine Song, this is a film that will resonate with you long after it's over. The past lives that Hae Sung wonders about could be about reincarnation - don't we sometimes wonder if we have known people in past lives? - but this film is not just about that, but rather all of the "past lives" we have had in one lifetime.  In my lifetime, I have moved across country three times, moved away from the town where I lived for 30 years and raised my children and then moved back, all past lives.  And I still wonder what I had left behind each time and what would have happened if I had stayed. This is a love story, but also a story about immigration, about leaving behind one life to have a new and better life.

Think about your own past lives, the moves you have made, the lives and people you left behind.  What if you had stayed? 

Rosy the Reviewer says...a tender, bittersweet and profound "what if" tale that will stick with you. (Amazon - in English and Korean with English subtitles)


Fair Play (2023)

What happens when she gets the promotion he wants.

Emily Meyers (Phoebe Dynevor, who you will recognize from "Bridgerton") and Luke Edmunds (Alden Ehrenreich) both work at One Crest Capital, a hedge fund.  They are both financial analysts, equals at work, and they are also in a secret passionate relationship, secret because fraternization at work is frowned upon. Though they live together, they leave for work and arrive separately and keep it totally professional at work.  Luke proposes to Emily while at his brother's wedding, and she happily accepts. All is hunky dory until one of the portfolio managers is fired and Emily gets the promotion, even though there had been rumors it would go to Luke.  When Emily tells Luke, he is first.  Well, you know how that works.

Slowly but surely Luke starts to feel resentful and tensions arise in their relationship. As Emily's star rises, Luke's starts to fall and it all goes to hell.

Written and directed by Chloe Domont, this is your classic case of what happens when the power dynamics in a relationship change and what can happen when a woman eclipses her lover, and let's just say that male fragility and misogyny ain't pretty. It's also about the cutthroat world of high finance and the sexism women face in that world. The screenplay is talky but sharp, and though much of it is the interaction between Emily and Luke, the film feels like a thriller as it leads up to the crazy ending.  Dynevor and Ehrenreich are just wonderful here, especially Dynevor who has now decidedly left the Regency world of "Bridgerton."

Rosy the Reviewer says...a riveting romantic thriller. (Netflix)

Anatomy of a Fall (2023)

Did he fall or was he pushed?

Novelist Sandra Voyter (Sandra Huller) and her husband, Samuel (Samuel Theis), live in an isolated mountain chalet near Grenoble.  Sandra is a successful novelist and is being interviewed by a female student when all of a sudden music starts to play so loudly that the interview is halted.  Samuel is up in the attic working and playing the music. When their visually impaired son, Daniel (Milo Machado Graner), returns from a walk with his guide dog, Snoop, he discovers Samuel dead below the attic window. What happened?

What follows is an intense search for the truth.  Did Samuel fall accidentally?  Was it suicide?  Or did Sandra push him?

Sandra asks for help from her lawyer friend, Vincent (Swann Arlaud).  She tells him that Samuel had attempted suicide six months earlier attempting to overdose on aspirin after he went off his antidepressants.  Daniel tells the police investigators conflicting stories and blood spatter and an audio recording of a fight between Samuel and Sandra lead to Sandra being indicted.

At the trial, the blood splatter testimony isn't good but the recording is damning.  In it, Samuel accuses Sandra of plagiarism, infidelity and trying to run his life, and it appears that violence occurs, though it is not clear who does what to whom. Sandra admits to having an affair with a woman the year before and the prosecution claims that Samuel was playing the loud music because Sandra was being interviewed by an attractive young woman and that a confrontation resulted after she left. Daniel asks to testify and this leads to some new revelations.

What is the truth?

Written by Justine Triet and Arthur Harari and directed by Triet, this is an anatomy of the fall of a marriage as much as an investigation into Samuel's physical fall as the trial progresses. The actors are wonderful, especially Huller.  Young Graner is also exceptional. For once a kid at the heart of the film that isn't obnoxiously precocious.

Winner of the Palme D'or for Best Film at the Cannes Film Festival, this is on many Best Movie lists for 2023, has already won many awards as well as a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture, Non-English Language and a Best Actress nomination for Huller. It is a taut courtroom drama that tells the story of not just Samuel's fall but the fall of a marriage.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you like your psychological dramas intense and complex, this is for you. (Amazon - In English and French with English subtitles)

A Good Person (2023)

Allison's life falls apart after a fatal accident.

Allison Johnson (Florence Pugh) is an aspiring musician, engaged to her high school boyfriend, Nathan (Chinaza Uche). The day following their engagement party, Allison causes an accident when she takes her eyes off the road to look at her phone while driving. She was on her way to look at wedding dresses with her soon-to-be sister-in-law, Molly (Nichelle Hines) and Molly's husband, Jesse (Toby Onwumere).  Molly and her husband are killed in the accident, but Allison survives with critical injuries. Sadly, when the physical injuries heal, the psychic injuries continue and affect two families.

One year later, dealing with severe depression and unable to deal with her guilt, Allison is living with her mother, Diane (Molly Shannon), and is addicted to the opioids prescribed for her injuries from the accident. Her prescription has run out and she is not doing well. Meanwhile, Nathan and Molly's ex-cop father, Daniel (Morgan Freeman), is taking care of his granddaughter, Ryan (Celeste O'Connor), who is still processing the loss of her parents. A recovering alcoholic, he is not doing very well either.

After bad experiences, Allison decides to attend AA where she runs into Daniel. Daniel has his own guilt over his drinking and the two forge a sort of relationship with Allison trying to help Ryan, who is not doing well in school and acting out.

Both Allison and Daniel relapse but both eventually come to terms with their lives in their own ways. Seeing how they do that is what will keep you engaged to the end.

Morgan Freeman really shows his acting chops in this film, especially in a scene in the AA meeting where he admits to his wrong-doing when drunk.  Very moving.  But this is Florence Pugh's movie.  She goes from happily in love to the absolute bottom and to quiet resolve and it's all shown on her expressive face. I could feel her emotions coming through the screen. She made me really root for Allison. Her performance is just wonderful and one that should be rewarded with an Oscar nomination. She is one of our best actresses today.

Written and directed by Zach Braff, there is a model train metaphor afoot in this film, model trains and villages acting as a sort of means of control over one's life.  You can set up your model village however you want, and your little figurines can live the life you never had. That is what Daniel has done, but in the end, he has accepted that in real life we can't really control what is going to happen. He accepts his life and teaches Allison to accept hers. Sometimes bad things happen to good people.

Rosy the Reviewer says...yes, it's all a bit grim but it's also inspiring, especially Pugh's performance. (Amazon)

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And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!