With the Academy Awards right around the corner, we are checking in on the Flock’s thoughts of this year’s Oscar-nominated films. Whether you already have a favorite nominee or are still undecided, Birdie is here to help you out. Take a look at our thoughts on this year’s Oscar-worthy movies.
Finally, at long last, there’s a new masterpiece by Pedro Almodóvar stepping up to the plate. Parallel Mothers is the story of two single women who simultaneously give birth in the same hospital. Featuring Penélope Cruz and Milena Smit, the two women form a fast bond. The film follows their evolving relationship while confronting class, the ripplings of political unrest, and the intricacies of family.
Watch it for: Penélope Cruz, whose charm and talent have never been stronger.
What the Flock is Saying: “This script is incredible, I love the nuance. I wasn’t expecting the political elements but they were woven into the story so seamlessly.”
If you liked Parallel Mothers, try The Lost Daughter for more complex maternal relationships.
The Lost Daughter
Summertime sadness, anyone? That’s part of the delicate and alluring tone of The Lost Daughter, the first feature directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal. Leda (Olivia Colman) is a professor on a quiet vacation in Italy,. There she meets Nina (Dakota Johnson), a young mother on a vacation with her loud and brazen family. After an initial dispute over beach chairs, Leda takes a near obsessive interest in Nina and her young daughter. This causes inner turmoil and outer chaos, as Leda runs from confronting the regrets of her past. Warning: afterwards, you’ll probably want to call your mom.
Watch it for: Olivia Colman’s subtle brilliance and Dakota Johnson’s skillful flair.
What the Flock is Saying: “Beautifully directed with fantastic performances.”
If you liked The Lost Daughter, try Tully for another story about the solitude and yearning of motherhood.
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Few things are as entertaining as the rise and fall of an empire, particularly one centered around televangelism, addiction, and a lot of false eyelashes. The Eyes of Tammy Faye stars an oddly endearing Andrew Garfield and an open-hearted Jessica Chastain. Chastain eagerly bought the rights to the story back in 2012. This movie is a rollercoaster, involving puppets, prosthetics, and the ‘Praise the Lord; television network. Equal parts outrageous, heartbreaking, and wacky, this movie has something for everyone.
Watch it for: A campy but interesting story on the inception and crumbling of televangelism, and Oscar-nominated Chastain in her element.
What the Flock is Saying: “Pure camp. The prosthetics are a bit much but it’s a fun watch.”
If you liked The Eyes of Tammy Faye, try Jesus Camp, for another story about a devout unraveling.
The Power of the Dog
You want a Western drama? We’ll show you a Western drama! The Power of the Dog is a slow burn with remarkable payoff. Told through tense subtlety and deep-seeded angst that nearly boils over. The film features Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and newcomer (and OSCAR nominated!) Kodi Smit-McPhee. The rockstar cast showcases rich, painful interior worlds and tortured desires for connection. Cumberbatch plays a brash American cowboy with a troubled past and a vendetta against his brother’s new wife, Rose (Dunst). This film explores how unceded heartache turns to bitterness and the danger of holding a quiet grudge.
Watch it for: Gorgeous cinematography, laser-focused direction and performances, and incredible writing.
What the Flock is saying: “Wonderful. Beautiful cinematography, great acting.”
If you liked The Power of the Dog, check out Ozark for another story about a tense family in a pressure-cooking tight spot.
Do you love tennis? Great – you’ll love King Richard! Do you not care about tennis? Great – you’ll love King Richard! Will Smith shines in this film about tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams. He portrays father who worked to help them achieve their successes. Richard Williams (the sensational Will Smith), decided that his daughters were going to be tennis champions before they were born. King Richard is a story about perseverance, talent, integrity, and a father’s fierce love. Heartwarming and heartbreaking, inspiring and joyous, King Richard is a triumphant grand slam (sorry – we couldn’t help it!).
Watch it for: Will Smith’s captivating performance and an incredible story.
What the Flock is Saying: “Will Smith is fantastic and the movie is truly a joy to watch.”
If you liked King Richard, try I, Tonya for more about an athlete’s determination in the face of adversity, and a relentless parent’s role in their journey.
The Tragedy of Macbeth
Few things are as satisfying as Shakespeare done well. The Tragedy of Macbeth tells the classic tale of murder, deceit, and desperation. The film brings this tragedy to audiences in a way that is both grander and more intimate than ever. Shot in black and white, multi-Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand shine in their mastery of this classic text. Shakespeare lovers and newcomers alike will be captivated by the subtleties and depth of this adaptation. You’ll be thinking about this film long after the credits roll. It’s no surprise The Tragedy of Macbeth made it into this year’s Oscar nominees.
Watch it for: the deeply unsettling tone and cinematography. Also the incredible acting of Washington, McDormand, and Harry Melling (previously of Dudley Dursley fame!)
What the Flock is Saying: “Simply stunning, eerie and intense. Definitely recommend!”
If you liked The Tragedy of Macbeth, try My Own Private Idaho for another adventurous drama based (more loosely) on another Shakespeare play
To watch CODA is to adore it. 17-year-old Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones) is the only hearing member of her family. She wakes up at 3am to act as the confident conduit between her family’s fishing business and their hearing community, but arrives at school wary and shy. When she impulsively signs up for choir, she finds herself in love with singing. Unfortunately, this is a talent no one in her family can recognize. What sets the Rossi family apart is not their lack of hearing, but their acute perception. Ruby’s parents (the incredible and heartbreaking Troy Kotsur and Marlee Matlin) are devoted, hardworking, and hilarious. They support their daughter’s talent while learning with what Ruby’s individualism means for the family. CODA is a story about strength, love, passion, coming into one’s own, when to help, and when to let go.
Watch it for: A truly original story, rock-solid family relationships, and a deeper understanding of the world.
What the Flock is Saying: “Delightful and heartwarming film about a child of deaf parents who wants to become a singer.”
If you liked CODA, try Whiplash for another movie about intense musical passion.
Being the Ricardos
Comedic legends are brought back into the spotlight in Being the Ricardos, Aaron Sorkin’s biographical drama about Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The famous couple is portrayed by Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem. The film focuses on the couple’s relationship in 1952 as they navigate their careers, their marriage, and their television show. Sorkin’s adaptation focuses on Lucy and Desi as the people they were behind the cameras, and the immense effort required to shape and expand their careers. It gives a new appreciation to Lucille Ball’s timeless genius, and how her talent and wit made the sexist and patriarchal entertainment industry unable to ignore her.
Watch it for: Sorkin’s writing and direction, and a new look at the comedic geniuses that have shaped American entertainment.
What the Flock is Saying: “Truly enjoyed this more than I thought I would. Nicole Kidman wins you over even if she might not look exactly like Lucy.”
If you liked Being the Ricardos, try House of Gucci for another biographical drama about outrageous celebrities.