Picks of the Week is Women and Hollywood‘s newest resource. W&H writers are often asked for recommendations, so each week they’ll spotlight the women-driven and women-made projects—movies, series, VOD releases and more—that they’re most excited about. (Sign up for the Women and Hollywood newsletter at womenandhollywood.com to get each week’s picks delivered to your inbox!)
Documentary of the Week: One Child Nation
Directed by Nanfu Wang and Zhang Lynn
I didn’t really know what to expect from One Child Nation—but whatever it was that I did expect, the documentary itself exceeded it by miles.
The film delves into the one child policy in China, which for me was always this amorphous rule that I didn’t really have any context to relate to. A population control measure, it prohibited Chinese families from having more than one child.
Nanfu Wang, who directed with Zhang Lynn, talks to the people who were forced to adhere to the policy and explores how it affected their lives. One Child Nation also deals with the policy’s aftermath, and the children it victimized. Some were abandoned. Some were taken away. Many were trafficked out of orphanages. The film focuses on the adoption industry and what happens when there are no records. Many of these children will never have any way to find their families in China. It’s heartbreaking.
This policy affected women and their families, and also affected the men and women who had to carry it out. It was cruel on so many levels, and the remnants of that cruelty has haunted people for their entire lives. (Melissa Silverstein)
One Child Nation opens in select theaters August 9. Find screening info here.
Series of the Week: “GLOW”
Created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch
The “GLOW” gang make their mark on the Vegas strip in Season 3 of the ‘80s-set Netflix comedy. The ragtag group of wrestlers are headliners at the Fan-Tan Hotel and Casino, and business is good—so good that shows are selling out weeks in advance, and they’re being invited to extend their contract through the end of the year.
The prospect of staying in Sin City is especially complicated for Debbie (Betty Gilpin). As the star and a producer of the wrestling show, she wants it to succeed, but she’s missing her son in LA and feeling overwhelmed with guilt about her absence. This season sees Debbie becoming increasingly confident and fulfilled in her work behind the scenes. The former soap star has a real talent for producing, though Bash’s (Chris Lowell) insecurities and sexism are getting in the way of her growth.
Ruth (Alison Brie) has problems of her own. “I have a job, I have a boyfriend, and somehow I still feel lost,” she tells Debbie. Despite her long-distance relationship, she can’t seem to stay away from Sam (Marc Maron), who has made his feelings for her clear. What’s less clear is exactly how she feels about him.
There’s a great subplot where we get to hear how playing Fortune Cookie, a racist caricature, has been taking a toll on Jenny (Ellen Wong). The season also delves deeper into Bash’s sexuality and Arthie’s (Sunita Mani) relationship with Yolanda (Shakira Barrera). (Laura Berger)
“GLOW” Season 3 hits Netflix August 9.
Feature of the Week: After the Wedding
I don’t think it’s a hard sell to say that Michelle Williams is one of the most talented actresses of her generation, if not the most talented. Watching her in After the Wedding just confirmed my deep respect for her.
Williams plays Isabel, a woman who has made her life working at an orphanage in India, one that is in need of services and improvements. She is summoned to New York to meet a potential donor for some much-needed funds. The donor is a wealthy media mogul named Theresa (Julianne Moore) and she requests that Isabel attend her daughter’s wedding before a final decision is made. As you can surmise from the title, everything happens after the wedding.
While the drama is a remake of Susanne Bier’s 2006 film of the same name, its tone and substance is very different from the Danish original. All the performances are wonderful, especially Abby Quinn as the young bride. But Williams is the standout—because she is somehow able to show such deep emotion on her face with such little movement. It is a true gift. (MS)
After the Wedding opens in NY and LA August 9. It will expand to additional cities in the coming weeks. Find screening info here.