Written and directed by Bo Burnham
The dramedy centers around the visceral awkwardness of middle school. For those who had a tough time as a teen, certain parts will cause you to watch the relatable discomfort through your fingers like a horror movie. Eighth Grade is also one of the only movies to accurately tackle the effects of social media on the teen brain.
Directed by Kevin Macdonald
Hopefully one day, Whitney Houston will get the well-rounded documentary she deserves. Whitney uses the star's life tragedies for shock value too much to qualify, but the movie is worth a watch for the archival footage and photos used, which only reinforce her incomparable talent.
Written and directed by Josephine Decker
In telling the story of an experimental theater group, Decker explores the intersection between art, ownership, and mental illness. The movie is surreal, unsettling, and even disturbing, but not in a way that anyone could predict. In her first movie role, star Helena Howard is mesmerizing.
Directed by Sandi Tan
In this documentary, director Sandi Tan recounts her harebrained teenage scheme to make a feature film in her home country of Singapore, with no budget or training. Along the way the project is aided, and eventually destroyed, by an older, mysterious con-man. Tan and her friends are left only with the foggy memories and stunning but soundless visual of their dream project.
Written and directed by Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan
Set against raging wildfires in 1960s Montana, the slow-simmering drama of a family crumbling under the stress of marriage. Carey Mulligan is especially impressive as a messy and complicated wife and mother coming to the realization that the life she has is not the one she wants.
Directed by Anne Fletcher, written by Kristin Hahn
The teen comedy genre has been in desperate need of saving, and Dumplin' is the salve, following the heavy daughter of a vain beauty queen as she navigates body image, pageants, and romance with the help of her friends and the discography of Dolly Parton.
Written and directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
Shoplifting is a necessity for a multi-generational family living in poverty in Tokyo. As the movie unfolds, it becomes clear that their connections to each other are not by blood, and therefore prone to structural damage. Shoplifters is both sad and heartwarming, funny and empathetic. Also, there are lots of noodles.