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!)
TV Movie of the Week: “Transparent: Musicale Finale”
Directed by Jill Soloway
It goes without saying that “Transparent” has changed our culture. The show was really the first time that a TV series centered on a trans character and how a family reacts to them. Since Jill Soloway has been blowing up many conventions over the last several years, it is not surprising that they do it again with the final, musical chapter of the Pfeffermans’ saga.
Maura, who in previous seasons has been played by Jeffrey Tambor, has died, and the family is having trouble coping. The kids—played by Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass and Gaby Hoffman—have always been a bit much and, as expected, they are unmoored by this, as is Maura’s former wife, Shelly (Judith Light). The finale really brings Shelly into the light in a way that hasn’t happened before. It shows how she struggled to fit into her place as a woman and how she was sidelined from her family following the divorce.
There are songs about boundaries. There are songs about why Sepulveda Boulevard is so long. Some are great. Some are a bit confusing. But the bottom line is that this show is about family and resiliency and also about love and acceptance. And that is why it resonates. (Melissa Silverstein)
“Transparent: Musicale Finale” will begin streaming on Amazon Prime on September 27.
Biopic of the Week: Judy
Whatever you have heard about Renée Zellweger’s turn as Judy Garland in Judy—it is true. She is incredible. It is exhilarating to watch. It’s one of those performances that people will be talking about for a long time. The issue is Zellweger is better than the movie itself.
The film takes place in the last several months of Garland’s life, when she was doing London concerts because she was broke and had nowhere to live. She was struggling, trying to figure out how to take care of her kids—but as we know from years of movies and stories about Garland, she had no skill set to take care of herself.
Judy reminds us that this woman was abused by the Hollywood system her whole life. It made me sad to remember that she died when she was 47. She had so much more to give. (MS)
Judy opens in select theaters September 27. Find screening info here.
Feature of the Week: Sister Aimee
Written and Directed by Samantha Buck and Marie Schlingmann
Aimee Semple McPherson was a hugely popular evangelist in 1926 when she went missing.
In Sister Aimee, filmmakers Samantha Buck and Marie Schlingmann take many liberties—and provide a great feminist story to the evangelist on the run from herself and from what she has fed the public. Aimee (Anna Margaret Hollyman) goes on the lam towards Mexico with her lover, then dumps him, then meets a woman who becomes her lover.
This film is a true adventure story about a woman struggling to find her identity and place in the world. (MS)
Read Women and Hollywood’s interview with Samantha Buck and Marie Schlingmann. Sister Aimee opens in limited release September 27. It will be available on VOD October 1.