Oscar winners Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Coleman add significant gravitas to the heartbreaking drama, “The Father.” Hopkins plays an elderly gent tortured by dementia and Coleman is his long-suffering daughter who does her best to help him. Writer-director Florian Zeller uses some clever dramatic tricks to give us a sense of the mental confusion and emotional disorientation that Hopkins’ character is experiencing. “The Father” is a touching and empathetic portrait of the painful personal crises of both the patient and his family.
The Russo Brothers have achieved massive success by directing films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They go for something completely different with the edgy crime drama, “Cherry,” based on Nico Walker’s semi-autobiographical novel. Tom Holland plays an Iraq War veteran suffering from PTSD who becomes a drug addict and bank robber. He manages to get his girlfriend hooked, too, while on his predictable downward spiral. It’s a gritty and well-acted drama, but the flashy direction draws attention to itself rather than the characters, weakening the story’s impact. “Cherry” is an over-directed near miss.
The comic coming-of-age drama “Moxie” is a likable if only modestly successful YA movie directed by Amy Poehler. Hadley Robinson plays Vivian, an introverted 16-year-old girl who just tries to get along. However, a new classmate arrives who shakes up her “let’s not make waves” worldview. Vivian is inspired to anonymously create an underground magazine called “Moxie” that addresses the sexism, racism and injustice she sees at her high school. The movie’s heart is in the right place even if all of the puzzle pieces seem a bit too obvious. “Moxie” is an amiable tale of female empowerment.
Your local art house theaters are offering online viewing options for a number of intriguing movie titles. More information is available at nelson-atkins.org, Screenland.com, fineartsgroup.com and drafthouse.com.