Pick of the week: “Silver Linings Playbook“: My full review is here. Writer-director David O. Russell messes with the traditional rom-com formula in this ragged and funny film about two not just eccentric but possibly damaged souls (Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence) who somehow figure out they’re good for each other. Where it’s going is easy to predict — how it gets there isn’t.
“Beginners” — This semi-autobiographical drama from writer-director Mike Mills looks at a self-interested man (Ewan McGregor) who has to come to terms with the fact that his newly widowed father (Christopher Plummer) is a closeted gay man. It’s about sexuality and identity, definitely, but “Beginners” is also a movie about fathers and sons, how each can learn from the other at the unlikeliest of times.
“Who Is Dayani Cristal?“ — My full review is here. This innovative documentary looks at the life of one illegal immigrant who died trying to cross the border into America, partly through interviews with U.S. authorities, and partly by following actor Gael Garcia Bernal as he retraces the man’s 1,000-mile journey.
“A Single Man” — My full review is here. Fashion designer Tom Ford makes his debut film look like an old Esquire spread, but beneath the exquisite suits and early ’60s decor is a gorgeously realized tale of a closeted gay man quietly grieving the death of his partner and pondering suicide. It’s a role that fits Colin Firth as well as his suit.
“The Final Member“ — My full review is here. This documentary is like a Christopher Guest mockumentary, only it’s real, and it involves penises. The proprietor of a penis museum in Iceland featuring male members of every species wants to add a human specimen to the collection, and must decide between two candidates, a self-described 93-year-old adventurer and a very strange American who dresses his little fellow in all sorts of costumes. It’s a riot.