The weekend before Thanksgiving is often filled with meal prepping, house cleaning and, of course, family. If you're looking from an escape from whatever household drama that could entail, films about familial hardships might give you some persepctive. This weekend's recommendations from Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary Film Critics portray what happens when families fall apart and, sometimes, come back together.
"Boy Erased," R
- In this powerful and timely drama, a pastor and his wife, played by Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman, send their son (Lucas Hedges from "Manchester by the Sea") into a faith-based conversion therapy program aimed at obliterating his same-sex attractions.
"Monrovia, Indiana," not rated
- The latest offering from esteemed 88-year-old documentarian Fredrick Wiseman focuses its guileless, impartial lens on such staples of life in this small town as its farms, churches, schools, bars, diners, hair salons, city council chambers and tattoo parlors.
- Told from the point of view of a befuddled teenage son, this beautifuly crafted portrait of a crumbling marriage in Montana circa the early 1960s stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan, both perfect as the flawed and complicated parents.
- Much like the wildfire that rages nearby, the quiet implosion of this 1960s Montana family is a slow burn with a disastrous end. Paul Dano's debut as a director is a beautiful but haunting portrait of internal conflict and familial woes.
"Free Solo," not rated
- For Alex Honnold there are two options, be the first person to free solo climb El Capitan, or die trying. The Yosemite scenery will take your breath away but the images of a lone man climbing a 3,000-foot rock wall will bring you to the edge of your seat.
"Private Life," R
- A late-middle-aged couple battle with the trials of bearing a chid. After a series of unsuccessful IVF treatments and failed adoptions, their young, spunky niece moves in and offers them hope. This comedy combines laughter and mourning to depict the most honest of messages: life ain't easy.