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!)
Brittany Runs a Marathon
Brittany (Jillian Bell) is a 27-year-old mess. She has no focus, no prospects, no ambition. And it turns out she’s not even healthy. A doctor’s visit sets her on a new course—she takes up running. And slowly but surely she runs her way to a new life.
Running becomes Brittany’s focus, her mantra. She’s feeling things she has taken drugs to blunt out. She’s becoming herself.
This star-making turn is inspirational and aspirational. The film, based on a true story, reminds all of us that we have the power to change.
“Brittany Runs a Marathon” opens in select theaters August 23. Find screening info here.
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Written and Directed by Issa López
Issa López’s “Tigers Are Not Afraid” debuted at Fantastic Fest in September 2017 and opened in its native Mexico that November. Now it’s finally getting a U.S. theatrical release. And while the film is a dark fairy tale, its protagonist, Estrella (Paola Lara), is not a princess waiting to be rescued. Instead she and her group of fellow orphans are warriors. In their words, they’re tigers.
This award-winning exercise in magical realism focuses mainly on Estrella, who recently lost her mother to drug war violence, and Shine (Juan Ramón López), a hardened young man who has had everything taken from him by a brutal cartel, the Huascas. Together, the duo care for other children orphaned by the cartel and try to find a way to take down the Huascas and their leader, a corrupt politician nicknamed El Chino (Tenoch Huerta), for good. Along the way, Estrella keeps encountering the ghosts of the Huascas’ victims, who may or may not offer a clue about what happened to her mother.
As bleak as things are for Estrella and the other children, they are still children. Amidst all the tragedy, they manage to have fun and joke around. In their darkest moments, they recount the story of the Tiger, the magnificent animal that’s rumored to have escaped the Huascas’ clutches. The Tiger has seen horrible things, but now he’s free and fears nothing.
As much as Estrella, Shine, and their friends try to convince themselves otherwise, they are not the same as the Tiger. They’re just as courageous, but they still mourn for what they’ve lost. They still have fear. Though they resent it, that’s what allows them to hold on to their humanity.
“Tigers Are Not Afraid” opens in NY August 21. It will expand to Los Angeles and Toronto on August 23 and roll out to additional locations in the coming weeks. Find screening info here.