Following the Women’s Marches that occurred across the U.S., now is the best time to see movies centered around strong, female characters.
“Elle” is a French psychological thriller starring Isabelle Huppert. The film follows Huppert’s character as she tries to find the person who attacked her in her own home, striving for revenge.
“20th Century Women” is a semi-autobiographical film about the director, Mike Mills’ childhood. The main characters of the film were inspired by Mills’ own mother and sister.
Both films are currently playing at Pickford Film Center downtown.
Dir. Paul Verhoeven
Director Paul Verhoeven is best known for his 1992 film “Basic Instinct.” He follows his trend of tough women in his latest release, “Elle,” an adaptation of Philippe Djian’s novel “Oh…” Huppert stars as Michèle Leblanc, the head of a video game company, who is sexually assaulted in her own home. The film follows her as she tries to reconcile with the assault and her need to find her attacker to seek revenge. “Elle” unfolds into a deep dive into Michèle’s psychology, as more aspects of her life start to crumble. In an interview with Film Comment, Verhoeven said he storyboarded the entire movie himself, only showing the finished products to the director of photography and assistant director. The film premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, where it was up to receive the highest honor at Cannes, the Palme d’Or. “Elle” includes graphic scenes and may be triggering for some.
“20th Century Women” (2017)
Dir. Mike Mills
In what many consider to be a follow up to his 2011 film “Beginners,” Mills once again tackles a family oriented film, this time focusing on the mother role, played by Annette Bening. Bening stars as Dorothea, a single mother trying to raise her son Jamie without a father. Set in Santa Barbara, California in 1979, the movie is a coming of age story for Jamie, who is surrounded by strong women characters that contribute to the man that he will become.
“It felt like I was raised by my mom and sisters so I was always appealing to women in the punk scene or women in my world,”Mills said in an interview with Variety.
The film currently has a rating of 89 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, with many reviewers praising Bening for her exceptional acting.