Best & Worst Films at the 2023 Berlin International Film Festival

  • Publish Date: February 25, 2023
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Which movies impressed at this year's Berlinale?

Berlinale 2023

Which films impressed reviewers at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival, and which were disappointments?

Below, we summarize the reactions of critics to all of the notable films debuting at this year's Berlinale. We have grouped the films into rough categories (from best to worst) based on how much critics seemed to like them, beginning with this year's major award winners.

The major award winners

Golden Bear (Best Film in Competition)
On the Adamant (Sur l'Adamant)
Documentary | France/Japan | Directed by Nicolas Philibert

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It's the first documentary to take Berlin's top prize since 2016's Fire at Sea. French documentarian Nicolas Philibert’s 11th feature observes the Centre de jour l’Adamant, a mental health barge anchored on the Seine and focused on its patient’s creative needs. Screen Daily's Jonathan Romney describes this year's surprise Golden Bear winner as an “engaging and affirmative” film “waving a flag for the positive possibilities of an empathetic, culture-centred approach to mental care.” For Variety critic Guy Lodge, it’s “a warm reminder of [Philibert’s] perceptive gifts,” which previously resulted in international success with 2002’s To Be and to Have. And in his review for THR, Jordan Mintzer writes, “On the Adamant ultimately becomes a moving testament to what people are capable of, if they could just find the right place to do it.”

Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize (2nd Place)
Afire (Roter Himmel)
Drama | Germany | Directed by Christian Petzold

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The latest from German writer-director Christian Petzold (Phoenix, Transit) is the second in a planned trilogy based around the elements. The first, Undine, updated the myth of the water nymph. Here he takes on fire. In her summation of the festival for the New York Times, Jessica Kiang notes that “Petzold’s films are many things, but rarely are they as funny as this discursive tale of an insecure writer struggling to finish his book.” Thomas Schubert (in a much praised performance) plays that uptight writer, Leon, whose life is upended by the chaotic energy of a surprise house guest, Nadjia (Paula Beer, working with the director for a third consecutive time). For Rory O’Connor of The Film Stage, the film “unfurls with all the page-turning seduction of a gripping novella,” and in her review for The Playlist, Savina Petkova writes, "Afire is the uncompromising work of a master not only on conceptual and stylistic levels but also in terms of his emotional politics.” Variety's Guy Lodge adds, “It’s the film’s great, disorienting structural risks, its humoring of human untidiness and confusion, that make it so subtly thrilling and moving.”

Best of the festival

Drama/Comedy | Canada | Directed by Matt Johnson

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Based on Jacquie McNish's 2015 book Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry, the latest from Canadian filmmaker Matt Johnson (Operation Avalanche, The Dirties) tells the story of RIM company founders Mike Lazaridis (Jay Baruchel), Douglas Fregin (Johnson), and future co-CEO Jim Balsillie (a bald Glenn Howerton) and their invention of the first addictive smartphone, dubbed colloquially the CrackBerry. Collider's Marco Vito Oddo believes “Johnson manages to craft a thrilling and moving story about friendship, pride, and the brutality of the free market,” and in her review for The Playlist, Rafaela Sales Ross praises the film’s ability to understand “how a love of fiction often fuels technological advancement, with late nights shared over sci-fi classics building not only a community but a desire to emulate what was once only possible through the screen.” Writing for TheWrap, Robert Abele finds it “equal parts high-tension business saga and nerd comedy,” and Variety's Peter Debruge believes BlackBerry “feels fresh, making geek history more entertaining than it has any right to be.” Toronto Globe & Mail critic Barry Hertz adds, “This is a relentlessly live-wire film that deserves its spotlight on the world stage at this year’s Berlinale: BlackBerry is funny, fast and nerve-rattling. And it is always – always – intensely entertaining.”

The Echo (El eco)
Documentary | Mexico/Germany | Directed by Tatiana Huezo

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Tatiana Huezo’s follow-up to her narrative feature debut, Prayers for the Stolen, is a return to the award-winning documentary filmmaking of Tempestad. Focusing on three generations of women in three families in a rural village in the Mexican state of Puebla, it’s an “intimately observed exploration of tough and tender realities,” according to THR's Sheri Linden, who wishes there could be a Michael Apted Seven Up-style follow-up to this “clear-eyed and warmhearted chronicle.” For Variety critic Guy Lodge, The Echo’s “fully inhabited storytelling and environmental detailing” feel “notably consistent with its fictional predecessor,” resulting in a film with “unsentimental tenderness.” In his review for The Playlist, Carlos Aguilar adds, “From one scene to the next, like paint strokes slowly giving shape to an idea on a canvas, one can draw thematic parallels between the individual stories” in this “melancholically lush and intricately humanist portrait.”

Kiss the Future
Documentary | Ireland/USA | Directed by Nenad Cicin-Sain

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Based on the 2004 memoir Fools Rush In by Bill S. Carter, Nenad Cicin-Sain’s documentary chronicles the underground community that formed in the 1990s during the Siege of Sarajevo as well as Carter’s plan to reach out to U2 and raise global awareness during the band’s 1993 Zoo TV Tour. The result is a “moving and inspirational film,” writes THR's Frank Scheck, and a “touching reminder of music's ability to change the world.” Screen Daily critic Fionnuala Halligan deems Kiss the Future a “polished yet unexpectedly affecting documentary,” and Steve Pond of TheWrap thinks it’s a “rich and moving chronicle of the use of art as both a weapon and a means to salvation.”

Drama/Thriller | Australia | Directed by Ivan Sen

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The latest from indigenous Australian filmmaker Ivan Sen (Mystery Road, Goldstone) follows detective Travis Hurley (Simon Baker) to a small opal mining town in the Australian outback to investigate a unsolved murder of an Aboriginal girl from 20 years earlier. Sen, who also handles the black-and-white cinematography, editing, and music on the film, has produced a “terrific outback noir,” according to The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw, who also calls Limbo a “tough, muscular film with the grit of crime, but a heartbeat of compassion.” Screen Daily's Wendy Ide believes there’s an “extraordinary bone-deep weariness” to this “terrific, atmospheric crime movie,” and Variety critic Guy Lodge finds Limbo to be “oblique, secretive and as hard-boiled as the ground is hard-baked.” THR's David Rooney adds that this “transfixing detective story” and “distinctive cold-case procedural” leaves a “haunting impression.”

Drama | USA | Directed by Tina Satter
Acquired at Berlinale by HBO and will debut on HBO and HBO Max in 2023 (likely in Q2)

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Writer-director Tina Satter’s debut feature is an adaptation of her play, Is This a Room, which consisted of dialogue taken directly from the June 3, 2017 interrogation of Reality Winner by FBI agents Wallace Taylor and Justin Garrick. In adapting the play, Satter sticks with the verbatim approach, resulting in a combination of docudrama and cinéma vérité that feels like a political thriller. Telegraph critic Tim Obey believes the film is “particularly strong as a showcase” for Sydney Sweeney, who plays Winner. (Josh Hamilton plays Agent Garrick, and Marchánt Davis is Agent Taylor.) Variety's Jessica Kiang similarly finds “Sweeney’s every flicker of emotion, micro-reaction, evasion and retraction ... utterly believable” in this “enormously compelling film.” Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian labels Reality a “brilliant piece of work,” and Collider's Marco Vito Oddo agrees it’s a “remarkable directorial debut.” At IndieWire, Steph Green writes, “Inching towards its grand reveal through surreally awkward conversation, Reality is gripping and deceptively layered, delineating both the FBI’s queasily ingenious interrogation tactics and Sweeney’s extraordinary range.”

The Shadowless Tower (Bai Ta Zhi Guang)
Drama | China | Directed by Lu Zhang

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Chinese filmmaker Zhang Lu’s follow-up to Yanagawa (now available on Film Movement Plus) follows Gu Wentong (Xin Baiqing), a divorced food critic who is pushed to reconnect with his estranged father by his colleague Ouyang Wenhui (Huang Yao), a young photographer with whom he often meets near the titular White Pagoda. According to THR's David Rooney, Tower is a “contemplative film of quiet rewards” and its “melancholy spell stays with you.” For Leonardo Goi of The Film Stage, “Scenes do not begin or end in The Shadowless Tower so much as bleed and spill into each other, inviting you into a dreamscape where the boundary between fact and mirage is purposely blurry.” In her positive review, Variety critic Jessica Kiang writes, “As The Shadowless Tower ambles onward, it reveals its arcs of change not in dramatic showdowns or sudden revelations, but in ellipses, in the occasional mysterious fold in chronology and, most rewardingly, in the casual, unforced repetition of certain motifs.”

Anime | Japan | Directed by Makoto Shinkai
Opens in theaters April 13

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The new film from Makoto Shinkai (Your Name., Weathering with You) is “an absorbing, intriguing, bewildering work: often spectacular and beautiful, like a sci-fi supernatural disaster movie or an essay on nature and politics, but shot through with distinctive elements of fey and whimsical comedy,” according to Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian. Set on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, the film follows 17-year-old Suzume, who has lived with her aunt since losing her mother as a little girl. She meets a mysterious young man named Souta and together they open a door letting loose calamities all over Japan, resulting in a journey to close all the doors to prevent further disasters. Variety critic Peter Debruge finds it “funnier and more streamlined than Shinkai’s earlier hypercharged toon epics,” and Jonathan Romney of Screen Daily claims Shinkai “lays on its effects – whether comic, spectacular or just unashamedly kitschy – with even more unrestrained aplomb” than in any of his previous films. THR's Leslie Felperin is impressed with how a film “soaring in scope and cute as a kitten” still has a “deep sense of loss ... baked into [its] bones.” And in an "A–" review for IndieWire, Steph Green writes, “It is a spiritual journey through the very fabric of a land, anatomizing how we navigate nostalgia for home and grief for lost loved ones when both have been long-destroyed by the senseless strike of an invisible force.”

Drama | Mexico/Denmark/France | Directed by Lila Avilés

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Mexican director Lila Avilés’ follow-up to her 2018 debut The Chambermaid brings audiences into the home of seven-year-old Sol (Naíma Sentíes) and her family, who are gathering to celebrate the birthday of Tona (Mateo Garcia), Sol’s father. Rory O’Connor of The Film Stage believes it’s a “wonderfully busy piece of work, fraught with messy emotions but in too much of a rush for overt sentimentality; though it does allow for one or two softer moments.” Screen Daily critic Jonathan Romney finds this “thematically rich piece offers a set of vivid character studies, while musing on life, death and time.” THR's Leslie Felperin thinks this “noisy, joyous” film “should further solidify Aviles’ reputation as an auteur with a unique vision and remarkable skills with actors, especially non-professionals.” And in his "A+" review for The Playlist, Carlos Aguilar writes, “As remarkable as The Chambermaid was, Tótem feels richer in its sublimely compassionate, cinematic observations on subjects for which words alone wouldn’t suffice.”

Other notable debuts (good but unexceptional)

The Adults
Drama | USA | Directed by Dustin Guy Defa

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In writer-director Dustin Guy Defa's third feature, following 2011’s Bad Fever and 2017’s Person to Person, the adults of the title are three siblings: Rachel (Hannah Gross), the oldest, Eric (Michael Cera), and Maggie (Sophia Lillis), the youngest. Eric is a small-time poker player who returns to his parents’ home (where Rachel now lives with Maggie) and hopes to rekindle the intimate world they used to share. It’s a film “at-times-excruciating, at-times-hilarious,” but also “tender” and with a “beating heart,” according to Rory O’Connor of The Film Stage. For IndieWire's Steph Green The Adults offers a “a raw, sensitive, and true look at a family in flux with too much love to give and no tools to whittle it into something useful.” And Screen Daily critic Jonathan Romney colorfully describes the film as a “poignant work that occupies a dramatic space somewhere between Kenneth Lonergan and Whit Stillman – or that might be described as mumblecore Chekhov with a side order of Looney Tunes cartoon vocals.”

Disco Boy
Drama | France/Italy/Belgium/Poland | Directed by Giacomo Abbruzzese

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In writer-director Giacomo Abbruzzese’s narrative feature debut, Franz Rogowski stars as Aleksei, a young Belarusian who flees to France and joins the French Foreign Legion. His mirror is Jomo (Morr Ndiaye), a revolutionary defending his home in the Niger Delta. Their intertwined destinies lead to Aleksei meeting Jomo’s sister Udoka (Laëtitia Ky). For Collider's Marco Vito Oddo, the “lack of connectivity tissue in the script and the insistence of Abbruzzese to put style above substance damages both the pacing of Disco Boy and the message it is trying to convey.” THR critic Leslie Felperin agrees, writing, “A committed, intensely physical lead performance by German actor Franz Rogowski ... luminous cinematography courtesy of ace DP Helene Louvart, and stirring electronic music by composer Vitalic all come together to make this a sensuous, striking film experience. But, yeesh, that script by director-screenwriter Giacomo Abbruzzese is a mess.” Ben Croll is more positive in his review at IndieWire, admitting it “might be reductive to call Disco Boy a kind of club kid cousin to Beau Travail, but the comparisons aren’t entirely off,” but also believing the film “stands (and writhes and shimmies) all on its own.” The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw adds, “Perhaps Abbruzzese has taken something from Denis, but perhaps also from Gaspar Noé or Nicolas Winding Refn in the sense of confrontational spectacle and narcosis,” resulting in a “movie that wants to dazzle you with its standalone setpieces, but also to carry you along with its storytelling.”

Thriller | UK | Directed by Ng Choon Ping and Sam H. Freeman

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Expanding on their BAFTA-nominated and BIFA-winning short film, writer-directors Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping make their feature debuts with this queer thriller starring Nathan Stewart-Jarrett as Jules, a drag artist who begins a sexual relationship with Preston (George MacKay), the closeted homosexual who brutally attacked him. It’s a “gripping revenge tale that refuses to give easy answers to complex issues of gender, sexuality, and toxic masculinity,” according to Collider's Marco Vito Oddo, who finds Jules and Preston to be “complex human beings, filled with contradictions.” Rafaela Sales Ross is less enthusiastic in her review for The Playlist; she warns, “Subtlety proves a scarce commodity as the debuting duo chops at this cautionary tale until its fragile narrative bones are fully exposed, dialogue stripped of any valuable nuance.” But Wendy Ide of Screen Daily labels the film “subversive, unsettling and sexually charged,” while Variety critic Guy Lodge appreciates this “tense, sometimes startling revenge drama,” and its “stylish, commendably uncompromising fusion of genre fireworks and measured, thoughtful character study.”

Drama/Thriller | Greece/Germany/Belgium | Directed by Vasilis Katsoupis
Opens in theaters March 17

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In this existential thriller from director Vasilis Katsoupis and screenwriter Ben Hopkins, Willem Dafoe takes a solo star turn as Nemo, an art thief locked inside a New York penthouse after a heist goes wrong. Nemo’s struggle to survive and possibly escape drive the narrative, but Inside “evolves into something rather more intriguing: a philosophical interrogation of the value of art to a dying man,” writes Wendy Ide for Screen Daily. In his review for TheWrap, Robert Abele agrees that the film “certainly poses big questions about the relationship of art to existence,” and it’s Dafoe who serves up a performance full of “physical and spiritual magnetism.” The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw is less enamored of this “strange, enclosed experience,” but claims “Dafoe’s mastery of the screen keeps it meaningful.”

Drama | German/France/Serbia | Directed by Angela Schanelec

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German filmmaker Angela Schanelec’s follow-up to her 2019 Silver Bear-winning I Was at Home, But is “the definition of not for everybody,” writes Jessica Kiang in the New York Times, "but if you’re the kind of masochist who enjoys the Sisyphean challenge of a movie that refuses to give up all its secrets, no matter how much you mentally wrestle with them, it might be for you.” Using the myth of Oedipus as a jumping off point, the story takes viewers from the mountains and beaches of Greece to the lakes of Berlin while following Jon, an adopted boy who grows into a young man before being imprisoned for manslaughter and later, after his release, has a daughter with Iro, one of his prison guards. The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw admits, “While unable honestly to claim to have understood it, I have to concede the movie’s artistry, its conviction, even its brilliance.” And in his review for IndieWire, Ben Croll adds to the consensus, “Both enigmatic in form and uncompromising in intent, the film is, by any standard definition, a dense and challenging work.” Screen Daily critic Wendy Ide also allows that Music “requires considerable investment from the audience,” but nevertheless finds it “an oddly fascinating endeavour.”

Horror | USA/France | Directed by Jennifer Reeder

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The latest feature from Knives and Skin and Night's End director Jennifer Reeder is a surreal horror thriller about Jonny (Kiah McKirnan), whose father sends her to live with her estranged Aunt Hildie (Alicia Silverstone) on her 18th birthday, when a family spell causes her to undergo a drastic metamorphosis. It’s “overstuffed but underpowered,” according to Variety's Jessica Kiang, who claims the “images, like the strained screenplay, reach for a weirdness they can’t quite grasp.” But Jonathan Romney of Screen Daily believes Perpetrator benefits immensely from “McKirnan’s unflappable performance and energetic humour” and the score by Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner. And in her review for The Playlist, Anna Bogutskaya is the film’s strongest supporter: “Oozing, gooey blood and messed-up school uniforms, secrets whispered in high school bathrooms, glitter dresses, and uncanny face masks all meld together to create a film rich in atmosphere and artifice.”

Someday We’ll Tell Each Other Everything
Drama | Germany | Directed by Emily Atef

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The new film from More Than Ever director Emily Atef is set in the summer of 1990 on farmland where the border no longer exists between two Germanys. Adapted by Daniela Krien from her own 2011 novel, Someday focuses on the passionate affair between Marlene Burow’s Maria, who lives with her boyfriend on his parent’s farm, and an older neighboring farmer, Henner (Felix Kramer). For Variety critic Guy Lodge it’s a “pretty but somewhat dreary mood piece,” and In his review for THR, Jordan Mintzer thinks the film “starts off rather promisingly but veers toward caricature midway through, never to find its way again.” Much more positive, The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw believes this “tale of erotic obsession and despair” is a “vehement movie, with a driving narrative force and a robust sense of time and place.” And Jonathan Romney of Screen Daily applauds a film that is “emotionally and erotically intense, elegantly crafted and superbly acted.”

The Survival of Kindness
Drama | Australia | Directed by Rolf de Heer

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The latest film from Dutch-Australian filmmaker Rolf de Heer (Charlei's Country, Ten Canoes) contains no intelligible dialogue as it follows BlackWoman (Mwajemi Hussein) as she escapes a cage in the middle of the desert where she has been left to die, only to find more captivity as she struggles to survive an oppressive world. “Although the storytelling conveys deep compassion for the plight of persecuted peoples, and Hussein’s unflinching performance speaks volumes, mostly without words, there’s a grim inevitability” to a film that THR's David Rooney suspects some will find “immersive and others distancing,” while others might find it “unrelentingly bleak, even infuriating in its ability to be simultaneously opaque and obvious.” Wendy Ide of Screen Daily believes Survival to be “striking, thought-provoking filmmaking, although it rather runs out of steam and ideas in the third act.” And in her review for Variety, Jessica Kiang admits it’s “all quite extravagantly grim” but praises “Hussein’s magnetism” in an “allegory so direct as to be obvious, told in a style so spartan as to be opaque.”

The disappointments

Drama | UK | Directed by Guy Nattiv
Opens in theaters August 25

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Skin director Guy Nattiv’s biopic about former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir focuses on her leadership during the 1973 Yom Kippur War with Egypt and Syria. Helen Mirren, under a fair amount of makeup and prosthetics, stars as the “Iron Lady” of Israel, and she, despite some casting controversy, is the highlight of a “superficial biopic and blinkered bit of history,” according to Ben Croll of IndieWire. THR's Leslie Felperin admits that “despite being entombed,” Mirren “manages to emote very effectively with her voice, mimicking Meir’s midwestern twang, gait and posture.” While Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian finds little to like about the movie, calling it a “lumbering, heavy, solemn film smothered by its own weighty self-consciousness,” Variety critic Owen Gleiberman believes it’s a “tense and absorbing backroom docudrama,” with Mirren “acting with deft skill and control,” making Meir “terse, decisive, and ferociously alive.”

Ingeborg Bachmann - Journey into the Desert
Drama | Switzerland/Austria/Germany/Luxembourg | Directed by Margarethe von Trotta

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Eighty-one-year-old Margarethe von Trotta’s 18th feature chronicles poet Ingeborg Bachmann’s (Vicky Krieps) doomed relationship with Swiss playwright Max Frisch (Ronald Zehrfeld). The director of Hannah Arendt and Searching for Ingmar Bergman “delivers a thoughtful exploration of love in a patriarchal society,” according to Collider's Marco Vito Oddo, who believes the film “becomes a universal tale of perseverance in the face of social limitations regarding female sexuality.” On the other end of the spectrum, Variety critic Jessica Kiang thiks the film reduces Bachmann’s genius to “mere romantic biography” with only “Krieps, who does her best to evoke Bachmann’s intelligence and interior life,” giving the film life. In his review for THR, Jordan Mintzer agrees Krieps is Journey's “saving grace,” making Bachmann’s “constant inner turmoil feel both real and painful.” More positive overall, Screen Daily's Lee Marshall sees the film as “one creative woman’s clear, unapologetic tribute to a writer who was adopted as something of a feminist icon after her death, yet is little read today,” with Krieps walking a “mesmerising tightrope between strength and fragility.”

Drama/Thriller | UK | Directed by John Trengove

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South African writer-director John Trengove (The Wound) makes his English-language debut with this thriller starring Jesse Eisenberg as Ralphie, a financially insecure soon-to-be father who finds camaraderie in a libertarian masculinity cult led by Adrien Brody. For Variety's Peter Debruge, the "characters feel thin, the secret society seems implausible” and the twists “feel rigged to reaffirm [Trengove’s] own views of toxic masculinity.” At Screen Daily, Nikki Baughan is impressed by Eisenberg, but is disappointed that Manodrome “doesn’t really get under the skin of this sickening uber-masculinity, but paints it in broad strokes and asks us to make our own judgements. Nothing about it feels particularly revelatory.” In her review for The Playlist, Rafaela Sales Ross agrees, “As 'Manodrome' approaches its dramatic conclusion, it’s hard not to be lulled into the futile imaginings of the film it could have been. At least the mourning can be softened by the best Eisenberg offering in over a decade.”

She Came to Me
Rom-com/Drama | USA | Directed by Rebecca Miller

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Writer-director Rebecca Miller’s first film since 2015’s Maggie's Plan stars Peter Dinklage as Steven, an opera composer whose creative crisis is not solved by Patricia (Anne Hathaway), his therapist wife, but by a dalliance with Katrina, a romance-obsessed tugboat captain played by Marisa Tomei. The rom-com's story also encompasses young love in the form of Patricia’s teen son Julian, who is dating Tereza (Harlow Jane), whose mother (Joanna Kulig) is Steve and Patricia’s house cleaner. With all of this going on (we didn’t even mention Brian d’Arcy James’s Trey, who enjoys dressing up as a Confederate in historical re-enactments), it might not be a surprise that critics split on how successfully Miller juggles her various plot strands. In his review for TheWrap, Simon Abrams finds She Came to Me “consistently disjointed” and “as frazzled and unfortunate as its nervous characters,” and David Katz of The Film Stage similarly dismisses the film as a “weak piece of work,” even though it’s “always endearingly eccentric and watchable.” But The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw believes the “excellent cast brings a prosecco sparkle” to this “likeable confection,” and Wendy Ide of Screen Daily thinks there’s a “bruised charm to this screwball-inspired New York story,” thanks to a “first-rate cast, a rippling, frequently witty score and a highly-strung, madcap plot.” IndieWire critic Kate Erbland adds, “It’s funny and strange and sometimes truly dark. Not all of it works or even coheres, but it also offers a fresh look at what love does to people, both on the big screen and out in the world.”

Documentary | USA | Directed by Aaron Kaufman and Sean Penn

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Originally intended to be a look at Volodymyr Zelensky’s strange journey to becoming president of Ukraine, this documentary co-directed by Aaron Kaufman and Sean Penn morphed into a front-row account of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The Independent's Geoffrey Macnab finds the resulting film “sprawling and uneven but also heartfelt and inspiring,” but a majority of critics were hoping for less Penn and more Zelensky and the people of Ukraine. For Marco Vito Oddo of Collider it’s a “wasted opportunity to give a proper voice to the people who still live and fight in Ukraine,” and Screen Daily's Jonathan Romney admits it’s “undeniably well-meaning and impassioned,” but also “awkwardly narcissistic,” resulting in a “manic, unfocused” film. In her review for The Playlist, Anna Bogutskaya is much harsher, calling Superpower “an outrageously self-aggrandizing, pathetically lightweight documentary.”


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