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Up To Date

Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' August 31-September 2

emilymortimer-in-thebookshop-film.jpg
Berlin Film Festival
Bookmonger Florence Green, played by Emily Mortimer, brings about a surprising cultural awakening in Isabel Coixet's "The Bookshop."

Whether they're embarking on a new business venture, breaking out of languishing personal relationships, or just attempting to survive junior high school, this weekend's recommendations from Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary Film Critics are full of women making their own paths. Thier stories aren't just compelling fodder for the silver screen, they also provide inspiration for hopeful trailblazers of all genders.

Steve Walker

"Juliet, Naked," R

  • In this off-beat comedy based on a Nick Hornby novel, Ethan Hawke plays a reclusive rock star who is prodded out of hiding by the museum curator girlfriend (Rose Byrne) of an obsessive fan.

"Puzzle," R

  • Kelly Macdonald gives a winning performance as a housewife who finds an upcoming jigsaw puzzle championship — and the attention of her competition partner — a welcome distraction from being taken for granted by her husband and sons. 

"Eighth Grade," R

  • This bruising but ultimately endearing look at an awkward teenage girl's last week of eighth grade, written and directed by Bo Burnham, is both an indictment of the cruel intentions of social media and a tribute to adolescent resilience.

Cynthia Haines

"The Bookshop," PG

  • In this adaptation of the Penelope Fitzgerald novel, Emily Mortimer portrays an entrepreneurial widow whose new bookshop introduces a bit of progressivism to a reluctant, conservative English town.

"Puzzle," R

  • In this English-language version of a 2010 Argentinian film, Kelly Macdonald stars as Agnes, a suburban housewife who suffers ennui, boredom, and neglect at home until a new hobby — competitive puzzling — shifts her perspective.

"Juliet, Naked," R

  • Burned-out musician Tucker Crowe strikes up a discourse with online commenter Annie after she insults his latest album as a way to get back at her boyfriend, a Tucker Crowe superfan played by Chris O'Dowd.
As culture editor, I oversee KCUR’s coverage of race, culture, the arts, food and sports. I work with reporters to make sure our stories reflect the fullest view of the place we call home, so listeners and readers feel primed to explore the places, projects and people who make up a vibrant Kansas City. 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.