*** On the heels of 80 for Brady, Jane Fonda embarks on another, far darker quest in Moving On. At an old friend’s out-of-town funeral, Claire (Fonda) bluntly informs the widower (Malcolm McDowell) that she’s going to kill him…and he knows why. Alternating between conspirator and voice of reason, Fonda’s favorite screen partner, Lily Tomlin (9 to 5, Grace and Frankie), shines as Claire’s best friend in droll co-pilot fashion. And if the stars of Klute and A Clockwork Orange weren’t enough 1970s iconography, Richard Roundtree lends all the tender, still-got-it gravitas you’d want from octogenarian Shaft to his role as Claire’s ex-husband. Overall, Moving On’s mission is as precarious as Claire’s. It foregrounds a heightened, ostensibly comedic premise but mostly seeks characters’ wistful realities within the exaggerated. And while major script contrivances link the murder threat’s ridiculousness to the unspoken insecurities of a failed marriage, Moving On does the splits more ambitiously than most American indies of this dramedy ilk. The lead cast’s combined 240 years of on-screen confidence smooth the tone shifts, and writer-director Paul Weitz (About a Boy, American Pie) smartly pins Claire’s revenge plot to inequities in memory and absolution that haunt our cultural conversations—essentially, who gets to “move on.” R. CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER. Cedar Hills, Living Room.
ONE FINE MORNING
*** No one ever says that Sandra (Léa Seydoux) is spread too thin in One Fine Morning, writer-director Mia Hansen-Løve’s follow-up to Bergman Island, but it’s obvious when you observe the Parisian single mother’s daily routine. Through weariness and without complaint, Sandra dotes on her young daughter and cares for her dementia-ridden father, struggling to imagine how a new romance could fit into her life. But it’s not just the contents of Sandra’s plate that suggest a put-upon person; it’s how Hansen-Løve allows all the other characters to monologue. Sandra’s love interest (Melvil Poupaud) is a verbose chemist, her mother (Nicole Garcia) a remarried political advocate, her daughter (Camille Leban Martins) a bright young student. Even Sandra’s career as a translator deemphasizes her perspective. That’s a fascinating challenge for Seydoux, a movie star (best known for Bond films and Blue Is the Warmest Color) inhabiting an everyday person decentralized in her own life. It’s a frustratingly subversive, perhaps overly thorough approach to making the audience constantly hope that someone else will put Sandra first. Maybe that day will come some fine morning. Maybe the reprieve will last five minutes. Maybe this is just the thankless labor for too many women. R. CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER. Cinema 21.
*** Fans of Ari Aster and Robert Eggers tend to view the Scream movies as the Marvel films of the horror genre. They lack subversive messages, recycle storylines and characters and, often, mirror their box office success. Scream VI, however, just might be able to change those opinions. Speeding through a switchback road of finger pointing, red herrings and deception, the film will surprise and confuse even the most ardent Wes Craven fans until the final seconds. Writing duo James Vanderbilt (White House Down, The Amazing Spider-Man, Zodiac) and Guy Busick (Ready or Not, Castle Rock, Urge) reunite to flaunt their obvious passion for the horror genre and Craven’s satire-soaked franchise, proving that their new installments have the chops to stand the test of time. Laura Crane (Samara Weaving), a cinema professor at fictional Blackmore University, opens the film discussing her love for 20th century slashers and how the genre serves as a crystalline representation of broader social fears of the time. It’s overwhelmingly clear how that sentiment relates to Scream VI and its use of cellphone surveillance, fake news, and social media conspiracy theories as a driving force behind the plot throughout the film. The film’s relevance also manifests in Vanderbilt and Busick’s devious portrayal of the modern horror cinephile, satirizing the indie and elevated horror fans that will likely steer clear of this movie due to its capitalistic appeal. But there’s a fine line between tongue in cheek and a bitten tongue. Collectively, we’re witnessing horror films with Gen Z actors as leads for the first time, and the worlds they live (or die) in need to change with them. Still, dialogues about healthy coping mechanisms and trauma-informed care in the setting of a slasher film can’t help but stick out like a sore thumb. Scream VI will likely receive similar criticism to Halina Reijn’s Bodies Bodies Bodies, given that cringe zoomer internet culture is quite possibly the most fear-inducing motif. R. ALEX BARR. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Clackamas, Eastport, Evergreen Parkway, Laurelhurst, Lloyd Center, Movies On TV, Oak Grove, Pioneer Place, Progress Ridge, Regal Tigard, Studio One, Wilsonville.
THE QUIET GIRL
** This year’s Best International Feature category at the Oscars brims with gutting little parables of innocent creatures finding and losing love. If EO the donkey and the boys of Close didn’t drain your waterworks, The Quiet Girl is eager to try. The black sheep of a literally and emotionally bankrupt home, 9-year-old Cáit (Catherine Clinch) is shipped to her cousins’ idyllic dairy farm in Southern Ireland for the summer. There, the practically mute child finds her new guardians will welcome and explore her reticence in ways no sibling, teacher or parent ever has. Cáit’s cousin Eibhlín (Carrie Crowley) is practically angelic, though it takes Eibhlín’s husband, Seán (Andrew Bennett), longer to warm up, as Cáit fills their lives’ child-sized void. The adults of The Quiet Girl are either so kind or so dismissive toward children that one almost expects Matilda-style magical realism from the entirely polarized treatment, while Cáit herself is more vessel than character. The result is a soft summer fable that all but attacks our tear ducts. Starving a vulnerable audience proxy of love and then dosing them at exactly the prescribed times takes unflinching focus—and it’s hard not to feel, even if the tenderness is an act of force. PG-13. CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER. Bridgeport, Living Room.