Fionnuala is Screen International‘s chief film critic and reviews editor. She has more than 20 years’ experience as a film writer and critic.
Dir Barry Jenkins
Jenkins’ tender yet terrifying story takes place on the drug-ravaged streets of 1980s Miami — an unforgiving climate for a young, gay black man. Elevated by three strong lead performances and Naomie Harris in tough support, this is an eloquent, shimmering film about a fragile young boy who is still present in the damaged man he becomes. Jenkins directs with humanity, while making daring choices as an artist.
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- Manchester By The Sea
Dir Kenneth Lonergan
Lonergan carefully unwraps a story of monumental heartbreak and it just crackles from beginning to end. Casey Affleck is devastating.
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Dir Paul Verhoeven
A female empowerment fantasy, a rape-revenge thriller; enormously — compulsively — entertaining. And has Huppert ever been better?
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- American Honey
Dir Andrea Arnold
Arnold has a singular voice; this propulsive drive along America’s poverty line offers uncomfortable insights and enduring moments.
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- Toni Erdmann
Dir Maren Ade
Unexpectedly funny but with a powerful voice behind the laughs, featuring a knockout performance from Sandra Hüller.
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OJ: Made In America
Dir Ezra Edelman
This is documentary film-making par excellence. Edelman sets the OJ Simpson case in the roiling sea of racial politics at its combustive intersection with celebrity culture, telling this extraordinary story with care and unparalleled craft. Editing is monumental. Never less than compulsive viewing over its 476 minutes, this is ground-breaking work.
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A Date For Mad Mary
Dir Darren Thornton
This big-hearted Irish romcom, which shared the top prize at Galway this summer, has all the smarts to hit with younger audiences should it get the chance. Just released from prison, surly, boozy Mary pines for her bridezilla BFF who has moved on. Now she needs a date for the wedding and rarely has someone looked for love with less interest. Thornton directs a scuzzily radiant Seana Kerslake as the miserably mad Mary, wildly unpredictable and widely misunderstood, in a film that feels like the love child of Weekend and Once.
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