Jonas Carpignano completes his Southern Italian trilogy about a Calabrian town where African refugees, the Romani community and Mafia exist side by side, for the first time focusing on a young female protagonist: a teen girl (Swamy Rotolo) absorbing shocking discoveries about her adored father. The result is a film of haunting intimacy. — DAVID ROONEY
Colin Farrell and Jodie Turner-Smith play a couple whose family harmony suffers when the android sibling they purchased for their adopted Chinese daughter breaks down in writer-director Kogonada’s exquisite, meditative sci-fi drama. The film’s stealthy emotional power creeps up on you. — D.R.
- Ted ReviewDecember 16, 2021
A restless young Parisian woman (Anaïs Demoustier, charming) falls in love with her ex’s partner, a famous writer played by a brilliant Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, in Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet’s seductive debut feature. It’s a kinetic portrait of someone stumbling out of love, falling into it again, letting it go and then picking it back up. — LOVIA GYARKYE
Moving day — the logistics, the emotions — proves the perfect setup for Berlin-based twin directors Ramon and Silvan Zürcher in their strikingly original second film. Spinning more than a dozen characters through its narrative about a young woman and the roommate she’s leaving behind, the movie taps into the weirdness of the familiar in ways that are at once inscrutable and transparent, comic and poignant. — SHERI LINDEN
Audrey Diwan’s drama (winner at last year’s Venice Film Festival) is the urgent chronicle of a young woman’s fight for control of her body. An astonishing Anamaria Vartolomei plays a bright college student in 1960s France facing an unplanned pregnancy with no legal avenues for abortion. It’s timelier than ever, but this compassionate work of social realism requires no recent headlines to make it relevant or gripping. — D.R.
Panah Panahi (son of celebrated Iranian auteur Jafar Panahi) makes his feature debut with this thrillingly inventive family road movie. Channeling the slow-burn realism of the Iranian New Wave, he crafts a subtle and surprising story about a young man cutting ties with the people closest to him so he can find his own way. — JORDAN MINTZER
Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s gorgeous and deeply affecting drama centers on a single mother and her pregnant teen daughter as they seek an abortion in a country where it is technically legal but impossible to access. The filmmaker plumbs the depths of the bonds among women, gradually revealing how far they will go to protect themselves and one another. — L.G.
Filmmmaker Maria Speth observes a provincial German classroom — that of the titular teacher and his sixth-grade students, most from immigrant families — where jam sessions and juggling lessons are as likely as instruction in math and grammar. The Frederick Wiseman-esque result is one of the most richly rewarding docs in recent memory. — S.L.
A 7-year-old navigates the fraught social dynamics of her new school when her older brother starts getting bullied in Laura Wandel’s gripping debut feature. With chilling precision and considerable generosity, the film studies its young subjects, extracting haunting conclusions about the Darwinian nature of ostensibly idyllic settings. — L.G.
A 13-year-old Chinese Canadian girl is torn between remaining a dutiful daughter and liberating her wild side when heightened emotions suddenly start transforming her into a giant red panda in this funny, tender Pixar charmer. Sandra Oh brings her quick wit to the role of the protagonist’s controlling mom. — D.R.
This story first appeared in the June 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.