Ah, September; the beginning of my favourite time of year. Soon the wind will be crisper, the leaves will become multi-coloured, and – most importantly – it will be awards season again. But before we’re bombarded by a barrage of hoity-toity Oscar hopefuls, there’s a plethora of films on offer this month.
If you’re in the mood for some Chekhov, his play The Seagull has been adapted into a feature with a fantastic cast that includes Annette Bening, Saoirse Ronan and Elisabeth Moss. Perhaps you would prefer something to get you in the mood for Halloween next month, in which case The Conjuring series expands its franchise with supernatural horror The Nun. However, if you want something more light-hearted, I’d recommend Night School, which sees Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish team up with the team behind Girls Trip, which plunged the latter into stardom. Of course, if none of those take your fancy, there’s plenty more to look out for this month.
American Animals – 7th September
I love a good heist film – but I love a good college movie even more. Thankfully, American Animals blends both, so it’s a win-win for everybody.
Based on a true crime that occurred at Transylvania University, American Animals tells the story of a group of young men who have each become a little disillusioned by their lives at college. However, upon learning that their university library houses several rare – and therefore, valuable – books, they decide to carry out a robbery that turns out to be a lot harder than they anticipated.
The cast has several up-and-comers, including Evan Peters (of American Horror Story fame), Barry Keoghan (superb in last year’s Dunkirk and The Killing of a Sacred Deer) and Blake Jenner (who certainly made the most of a small part in 2016’s The Edge of Seventeen). Combine that with an intriguing plot, and this should easily while away an autumnal afternoon.
Puzzle – 7th September
Perhaps less well known, this movie tells the story of Agnes (Kelly Macdonald), a wife and mother, who feels like her entire existence has been reduced to those two words. However, when she joins a jigsaw puzzle club on a whim, her new puzzle partner, Robert (Irrfan Khan) might just be the breath of fresh air she’s been waiting for.
Judging by the trailer, this appears to have serious Waitress vibes about it, which – if you’ve seen that 2007 gem – you’ll know is a good thing (if you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favour and go watch it). Directed by Marc Turtletaub, who produced Little Miss Sunshine, this film promises a mix of romance, drama and, of course, jigsaw puzzles.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post – 7th September
While the Venice Film Festival officially kicks-off awards season, some hopefuls – like this film – have already premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, which took place last January. One might understandably think that nine months is a long enough time to forget a movie, but The Miseducation of Cameron Post garnered enough support to carry it at least this far.
Set in Montana, 1993, Cameron (Chloë Grace Moretz) has just been caught by her boyfriend in a rather compromising position with a girl. Soon, she is shipped off to a gay conversion therapy centre in the middle of nowhere, to learn how to “get better”. Initially thinking that she’s utterly alone with no one to relate to, she soon befriends a couple of other campers (Sasha Lane and Forrest Goodluck) who might be able to help her make sense of her situation.
This might be a difficult watch, but anyone – whether you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community or not – will be able to gain something from this film. Besides, director Desiree Akhavan is a star on the rise; it will be interesting to see how she follows up this breakout success.
Crazy Rich Asians – 14th September
Hopes are running high as Jon M. Chu directs the first major Hollywood studio picture to feature an all-Asian cast in a modern setting since The Joy Luck Club 25 years ago.
When Nick (Henry Golding) learns that his best friend is to be married in Singapore, he manages to convince his girlfriend, fellow university professor Rachel (Constance Wu), that this is the perfect opportunity for her to meet his family. However, upon their arrival, Rachel soon learns that Nick’s family are indeed crazy rich, and it’s going to take a lot of work to convince Nick’s mother (Michelle Yeoh) that she’s good enough for the grandiose family.
Although the crux of this story has been done over and over again (a family disapproves of their heir’s choice in romantic partner), there are so many reasons why this time, in this film, it’s different. For one thing, the cast are of an ethnicity that is hardly represented in Western cinema – and on the rare occasion that there does happen to be a character of Asian descent, they are almost always playing up to a stereotype.
Here, the two main characters work as professors at a prestigious university and Asians are depicted as having a lifestyle to aspire towards, where Asian culture is celebrated and seen as something to expand rather than compromise. But also, it explores an intersection that so many ethnic minorities living in the diaspora experience – where you are a mix of two cultures, but never really feel like you completely belong in either. I could go on, but I think my point is clear: please go see and support this movie.
Featured image courtesy of Georgia Butcher.
Image use license here.