Film & Television

Summer Preview: Movies By, For, and About Women

14729317040_27be0e0f8f_zPhoto by Thomas Hawk via Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Summer at the cinema is marked by blockbuster titles — mainly superheroes and science fiction, crammed with big-budget special effects and CGI. For some reason, Hollywood still thinks that the only people who go to the movies June through August are teenage boys. Of course, there’s usually an animated family feature or two (this year’s endearing Finding Dory has already earned $286 million in just 10 days), but finding quality films by, for and about women becomes even tougher as temperatures rise. After all, if your local cineplex has reserved 5 of its 8 screens for Independence Day: Resurgence, there ain’t a whole lot of real estate left.

This summer, there are several notable woman-centric titles that are worth hunting down. You may have to find the nearest independent movie theatre (albeit, fewer and farther between these days). Check out bohemian neighborhoods, areas with museums or universities. For me, living about 45 minutes up the coast from Boston, I do well heading to Cambridge, MA, an area more academic and eclectic than mine.

Here are some of the summer releases worth a commute:

Now Playing

The Fits (limited release)

Anne Rose Holmer’s directorial debut focuses on the interior lives and interpersonal dynamics of teen girls. The main character is Toni (played by dynamic newcomer Royalty Hightower), a young boxer who leaves her sport to join a popular dance team. As she redefines herself, and as the team succumbs to a mysterious illness, larger issues of the transition from child to adult, girl to woman are explored. The movie debuted at last year’s Venice Film Festival and has already received raves from The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and Indiewire.

Nuts! (limited release)

Director Penny Lane’s documentary, which won the Special Jury Award for Editing at Sundance, chronicles the stranger-than-fiction fortunes of Dr. John Romulus Brinkley, an entrepreneur who built an empire on an “innovative” male impotence cure (specifically, goat testicle transplants). The movie is a mash-up of archival audio/video footage and original animation. Lane worked 8 years on the project and asserts that, “Nuts! is just a good old story about a big fat liar, some goat balls, and a million-watt radio station. Because who says smart films have to be boring?” Who indeed?

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  • Susanna Gaertner June 28, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Sure do appreciate this comprehensive line-up….

  • b. elliott June 28, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Thanks for your guidance! Great round-up!!!

  • Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. June 28, 2016 at 8:25 am

    Now I know everything I should see this summer when nature proves to be too hot and dry.

    Thanks, Alex, for this comprehensive review.

    Dr. Pat