5 Tribeca Films Worth The Ticket Price
By Joshua Handler
The Tribeca Film Festival is back, and I am once again covering. This year, as always, has many great films to offer and likely many more to discover. Without further ado, here are the films that I think are well-worth the ticket price:
LIFE, ANIMATED (Dir. Roger Ross Williams) – Winner of this year’s Sundance Directing Prize for Documentary, Roger Ross Williams’ Life, Animated tells the story of Owen Suskind, an extraordinary young man who has autism. At the age of three, Owen stopped talking and became withdrawn, but his parents discovered that they could get him to talk again through Disney’s animated films. Through this discovery, Owen finds normalcy in his life and a path to reconnection with the rest of the world. Life, Animated is a universal film that’s moving and heartbreaking, and it’s animated sequences are transcendent.
MIDSUMMER IN NEWTOWN (Dir. Lloyd Kramer) – Midsummer in Newtown had the potential to be a downer, but while it certainly is heart-wrenching, it is also a clear-eyed, optimistic, powerful look at how art can transform lives, even in the shadow of unimaginable tragedy. The film follows a group of New York theater creators who go to Newtown, CT to produce a version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with a cast primarily made of local students, many of who were directly affected by 2012’s Sandy Hook school shooting. The show has a profound impact on the children's lives. Unmissable.
HIGH-RISE (Dir. Ben Wheatley) – Ben Wheatley’s surreal class war drama, High-Rise, is completely crazy and ridiculously entertaining. Since its premiere last fall at TIFF (where I first saw it), High-Rise has proven to be one of the most polarizing films on the festival circuit, but it's the audacity and uncompromising way in which Wheatley directed this film that made me fall in love with it. Tom Hiddleston leads an incredible cast that includes Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, and Elisabeth Moss. If you want to be adventurous, see High-Rise. It’s one of my personal favorite films to be releasing in the next month or two.
KEEP QUIET (Dir. Sam Blair, Joseph Martin) – Bound to be one of the most-discussed and widely sought-after docs at this year’s festival, Sam Blair and Joseph Martin’s Keep Quiet is about a far-right anti-semitic political leader in Hungary who changes his ways to become a practicing Jew after finding out that he himself is Jewish. Daring and non-judgmental, this film about a man fighting to leave behind a hateful past is essential viewing and epitomizes why Tribeca is one of the premiere festival hubs for docs.
HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE (Dir. Taika Waititi) – Taika Waititi has been on a roll as a director with last year’s hilarious What We Do in the Shadows (which he co-directed with Jemaine Clement) and then Thor: Ragnarok, which is being released in 2017. Between those two films, though, he made the delightful Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which stars Sam Neill and newcomer Julian Dennison (in a breakout performance) as a grouchy old man and his foster kid, respectively, who go on the run after the former’s wife dies. With a huge heart and an odd sense of humor, this film is a charmer that will be loved by many.