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Boy Erased

Directed by Joel Edgerton

In Theaters

A horror film where the horrors are the devastating effects of gay conversion therapy, the inability of young people to give consent for such programs, the conflation of sexuality and gender, the perils of groupthink, the use of force and violence on the vulnerable, and the evils of false religious ideas. Jared Eamons (the phenomenal Lucas Hedges) is forced into gay conversion therapy after he’s outed to his father (a conservative Baptist preacher played by Russell Crowe) and his fall-in-line mother (a sympathetic Nicole Kidman). Based on the powerful memoir by Gerrard Conley.

– Dr. David C. Simmons

A Private War

Directed by Matthew Heineman

In Theaters

Rosamund Pike gives a breathtaking performance as Marie Colvin, an American journalist who goes into the most dangerous of war zones in order to “give the first draft of history.” She specifically foregrounds the humanity of those who are usually delegated to the background—those suffering the most because of such wars.

 

“I want people to know your story,” she tells displaced and injured women and children. As she accurately tells a colleague back home in London: “I see things so that you don’t have to.” But the unbearable violence she witnesses begins to overwhelm and unravel her own life. This bleak but powerful film helps us not only to see the ravages that war wreaks on lived lives, but to remember the importance of having a free press to report them.

– Dr. David C. Simmons

Dumplin’

Directed by Anne Fletcher

Netflix

Based on the bestselling book by Julie Murphy, Dumplin’ tells the story of Willowdean “Dumplin’” Dickson (Danielle Macdonald), the plus-size daughter of pageant queen mother Rosie (Jennifer Aniston), who decides to enter her local pageant as a protest and starts a small revolution with a few other contestants.

 

The movie features music and wisdom from Dolly Parton that Willowdean and her best friend Ellen (Odeya Rush) are passionate about—it’s how they became friends in the first place. The movie has moments of sadness that are all too real, but it’s also relatable with its message of being comfortable with who you are.

– Evangeline Murphy

 

 

EDITOR’S CHOICE – THE BEST MOVIES OF 2018

The Tale (Directed by Jennifer Fox)

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Directed by Morgan Neville)

Paddington 2 (Directed by Paul King)

First Reformed (Directed by Paul Schrader)

Black Panther (Directed by Ryan Coogler)

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen)

Minding the Gap (Directed by Bing Liu)

A Futile and Stupid Gesture (Directed by David Wain)

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (Directed by Gus Van Sant)

The 15:17 to Paris (Directed by Clint Eastwood)

– Chris Manson

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