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The company that brought us “Euphoria” on Netflix also produces some excellent films in a variety of genres from drama to horror to documentary. I have compiled my favorites into a list for your viewing, just in case you needed more movies to add to your “To Watch” list. I used information from A24’s website and Wikipedia to make sure my recollections and summaries of the plots were accurate.

2015: “Room”

Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, written by Emma Donoghue (first as a novel, then as a screenplay)

Jack is a spirited five-year-old who is looked after by his loving and devoted Ma, whose name is Joy. Their life is anything but typical, however, as they are trapped in a shed which Joy calls “Room” by a man called Old Nick. As Jack’s curiosity about their situation grows, and Joy’s resilience reaches its breaking point, they enact a risky plan to escape, ultimately bringing them face-to-face with what may turn out to be the scariest thing yet: the real world. Both Joy and Jack struggle to adjust to their new circumstances and this family story will get at your emotions for sure.

2016 Academy Award Winner Best Actress – Brie Larson

2016 Golden Globe Winner Best Actress (Drama) – Brie Larson

2016: “Moonlight”

Directed and written as a screenplay by Barry Jenkins (inspired by the book, “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by Tarrell Alvin McCraney)

“Moonlight” chronicles the life of a young black man named Chiron in three parts, from childhood to adulthood, as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami. Simultaneously a vital portrait of contemporary African-American life and an intensely personal and poetic perspective on identity, family, friendship, and love, this groundbreaking movie reverberates with deep compassion and universal truths. There are moments of pure hope as well as crushing heartbreak. Chiron’s journey to understand his mother, his identity, his friendships, and eventually his growth as a person will keep you riveted through the end.

2017 Academy Award Winner Best Picture

2017 Academy Award Winner Best Adapted Screenplay

2017 Academy Award Winner Best Supporting Actor – Mahershala Ali

2017 Golden Globe Award Winner Best Picture (Drama)

2017: “Lady Bird”

Written and directed by Greta Gerwig

Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson is a teenager in California in 2002 and while we may think ourselves to be different, this film may show you how similar we are after all. Lady Bird is discovering how to navigate relationships with herself, her family, and the girls and boys in her life and she does it with the same clumsy, earnest love as the rest of us. As a high school senior, she is worried about applying to and going away to college, and her mother worries about the financial burden. Lady Bird’s relationship with her mother is a cornerstone of the film, taking you on a rollercoaster of emotions from start to finish.

2018 Golden Globe Awards Best Picture (Musical or Comedy) Best Actress – Saoirse Ronan

2018: “Eighth Grade”

Written and directed by Bo Burnham

Kayla Day is trying to survive the end of middle school, which I don’t think I am alone in recalling as being particularly torturous. She copes through making vlogs, even though she is quiet at school, striving to gain social acceptance from her peers a motivational advice-giver. This does cause frustration for her caring dad who thinks she’s a little too obsessed with social media. She ends up getting invited to a party, deals with feelings of anxiety and embarrassment, tries and sometimes succeeds to be more mature than she is, and in the end, she has some powerful moments embracing her younger self and sending love to her older self. And she totally inspires audiences to think about time capsules.

2019: “Midsommar”

Written and directed by Ari Aster, director of “Hereditary,” another great A24 film from 2018

Dani and Christian are a young American couple with a relationship on the brink of falling apart. After an awful family tragedy, Christian does not break up with Dani, who invites herself to go with him and his friends on a trip to Sweden. They are going as anthropology students to observe the midsummer festival of one of their peers, who is bringing them as guests to his hometown. What begins as a carefree summer holiday in a land of eternal sunlight takes a sinister turn when the strange villagers invite their guests to partake in festivities that may not be what they seem. I don’t want to say too much and spoil the whole plot, but be prepared to be surprised.

2020: “Boys State”

Directed by Jesse Moss and Amanda Blaine

This documentary follows a group of Texas high school senior boys in an intense immersion into a week-long annual program for an elaborate mock exercise: building their own state government from the ground up. Filmmakers closely follow the escalating tensions that arise within a particularly riveting gubernatorial race, focusing on a few particular boys and their stories. People will most likely identify with and dislike one or the other of the boys and parts of the platforms the mock parties create, but perhaps you will feel motivated and inspired about the power of your vote and your voice in the democratic process. In the end, the ballots are cast, and the boys go home and go on to have further education and career opportunities. Maybe their minds were changed by what happened at Boys State or maybe their beliefs were solidified, but the audience will certainly be able to judge for themselves the impact and importance of being involved in the political process.

2020 Sundance Film Festival Feature Film Award Winner U.S. Grand Jury Prize (Documentary)

Hopefully you found a new movie to check out this weekend! Keep an eye on A24 on social media for news about their next upcoming feature films.

Sarah Adams

CU Boulder '22

Linguist and cat person, most likely watching a hockey game, but I ought to be working on my Masters thesis.
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