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Up To Date

Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' September 29-October 1

Sundance Selects
Adèle Haene is equal parts detective and doctor in Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenn's film 'The Unknown Girl.'"

From Puerto Rican devastation and despair to the political caterwauls playing out on football fields, there are plenty of reasons people may want to tune out for a few days. For those looking to pause and pardon themselves from current events, Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary Film Critics present the following movie recommendations, which will provide some respite and, hopefully, perspective.

Steve Walker

The Unknown Girl, Not rated

  • This hypnotic drama from esteemed filmmaker brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne focuses on a Belgian doctor haunted by the death of an immigrant woman whose pleas to get into her clinic after hours go unanswered. 

Polina, Not rated

  • Following a Russian ballerina's journey from a tough childhood to her acceptance into the Bolshoi Ballet to her status as a free agent and aspiring choreographer, this Russian-French co-production is imbued with artistry.

Rebel in the Rye, PG-13

  • Nicholas Hoult impresses as J.D. Salinger, captured as an aspirational college student, a struggling writer, a veteran who returns shell-shocked from World War II, and ultimately a famous writer with crazy fans and steely convictions.

Cynthia Haines

Stronger, R

  • The tragic story of Jeff Bauman, who lost both his legs below the knees in the Boston Marathon bombing, is brought to life in a powerful performance by Jake Gyllenhaal, who is at once contentious, fatalistic, flawed and inspirational.

The Unknown Girl, Not rated

  • After a fatigued physician ignores the appeals of a stranger seeking after-hours entry to her clinic, and the stranger later turns up dead, the doctor seeks to right her wrong by finding out who the unfortunate soul was.

Viceroy's House, Not rated

  • Britain's last viceroy of India is tasked with overseeing the territory's transition to an independent nation. All hopes for a peaceful transfer of power are blown apart by a riddling conflict of race, religion and ideology.

Bob Butler

Battle of the Sexes, PG-13

  • This retelling of 1973's fixture between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs is funny, obnoxious and surprisingly relevant. Emma Stone and Steve Carell star as a reluctant feminist and an overbearing, over-the-hill buffoon, respectively.

Stronger, R

  • The nationalist potential of this adaptation of Jeff Bauman's memoir about losing his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing could give some pause, but turns out to be a masterly mix of despair, resilience and love.

Viceroy's House, Not rated

  • Charged in 1947 to oversee the dissolution of British rule over India, "Dickie" Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville, Lord Crowley of Downton Abbey) sees savage rifts between the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims played out among his palace staff.
The Kansas City region has long been a place where different ways of life collide. I tell the stories of people living and working where race, culture and ethnicity intersect. I examine racial equity and disparity, highlight the area's ethnic groups and communities of color, and invite all of Kansas City to explore meaningful ways to bond with and embrace cultures different from their own. Email me at luke@kcur.org.
Since 1998, Steve Walker has contributed stories and interviews about theater, visual arts, and music as an arts reporter at KCUR. He's also one of Up to Date's regular trio of critics who discuss the latest in art, independent and documentary films playing on area screens.