February Movie Reviews

Abby Greenberg, Reporter

“1917” – directed by Sam Mendes 

Rating: 9/10

   The “boots on the ground” WWI movie to end all others. Filmed to look like one long, meandering shot, 1917 follows two British soldiers on a journey over two-ish hours of almost real-time as they rush to deliver a message calling off an attack at the front lines that is doomed to end in failure. That consequence is always looming as you watch this film, as well as the war itself–it almost feels like an additional character for how present it is. Mendes painstakingly crafts each scene to be so immersive that you never truly get a chance to breathe at all. This movie is so technically impressive that it’s hard to criticize it as a whole, but if I was going to nitpick (which we all know I am), I’d point to the screenplay-though it’s easy to overlook, there’s not too much depth there. It’s a pretty standard wartime story, and when there isn’t nail-biting action or spectacle onscreen, it begins to drag. Regardless, Mendes does create a film more than worthy of its numerous awards, and it should be watched on the biggest screen you’ve got.


“Little Women” directed by Greta Gerwig 

Rating: 9/10

   Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”) returns with the 7th adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women,” and manages to apply the stories of women finding freedom during Civil War-era America to modern times in a new and captivating way. The stories of the women within this book have been treasured for generations, and fans of Gillian Armstrong’s 1994 adaptation (the one with Winona Ryder) need not worry–this film is absolutely oozing with care and love. It’s probably the closest to a warm cup of tea a movie could get. Packed to the brim with stellar performances, it’s only shortcoming is the pacing–it moves lightning-fast, so if you aren’t paying attention you might miss a crucial bit of dialogue. While watching this I had the biggest, dumbest grin on my face, and when I realized I had one, I thought I look like an idiot, I should stop smiling, but I couldn’t. If you’re thinking that it’s definitely not a movie for you, just know that my dad (whose favorite movie is “Rocky”) rated it a seven out of ten, so I’d encourage you to give it the benefit of the doubt.


“Marriage Story” directed by Noah Baumbach 

Rating: 6/10

   I’m writing this while watching Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig be all couple-y and cute at the Oscars, and it seems a far cry from this strained, melodramatic look at a deteriorating relationship that does all it can to make you question why it’s deteriorating, until you come to the conclusion that maybe it’s just Noah Baumbach reconciling his 2011 divorce in the grandest manner possible. That’s not to say it isn’t a good movie–Baumbach certainly shows his writing chops, while both Driver and Johansson do some solid work. Sealing it is Laura Dem, however, with a scene stealing monologue about how society measures the merits of motherhood, and if she doesn’t win best supporting actress I’ll riot (spoiler alert: no riots needed). It’s an emotionally saturated movie that was a little much for me–it didn’t quite land, but maybe it will for you. Regardless of its emotional impact, “Marriage Story” is nonetheless a well-written, well-acted examination of a modern relationship and the struggles attached.



“SPRING BREAKERS” directed by Harmony Korine 

Rating: 7/10

   While I hope none of your spring breaks are like this, you should all watch this movie (though, for legal reasons, that statement applies only to those aged 17+).  A neon, hypnotic journey through the nightmarish world of a spring break rager, “Spring Breakers” follows a group of four girls who rob a fast-food restaurant to pay for their spring break trip to Florida, and it predictably devolves from there. Upon its 2012 release, this film received a lot of bad reviews for being shallow and meaningless, but I’d argue: isn’t that the point? It’s a nihilistic, cynical celebration of what’s called youth culture–the minute you begin to look for the plot is the moment you’ll lose it. The liquid narrative and repetitive dialogue is built for just taking it all in. There isn’t a meaning or purpose, and if there is, I’m pretty sure Korine is the only one who knows it. It’s not for everyone. Maybe you’ll just think it’s a bad movie, but you certainly won’t forget it soon. It’s a fun trip.