CHICAGO - The Oscars won’t air until March 2023, but believe it or not, this year’s awards season is already in full swing!
Your friendly neighborhood FOX Digital film critics will be checking out some of the buzziest movies of the fall at the 58th Chicago International Film Festival, which runs Oct. 12-23 at venues around Chicago. Here are six films to look out for when they hit movie theaters and streaming platforms in the next few months.
My Policeman (in theaters Oct. 21; streaming on Prime Video Nov. 4)
David Dawson, Emma Corrin and Harry Styles in "My Policeman." Photo: Amazon Studios
After making his leading man debut in last month’s "Don’t Worry Darling," Harry Styles is already back with another major acting role. This time around he plays Tom Burgess, a gay policeman living in 1950s Britain. Unable to live freely, Tom marries a school teacher named Marion ("The Crown" star Emma Corrin) while carrying on an affair with museum curator Patrick (David Dawson). The trio’s complicated relationship carries over into flashforwards to the 1990s, where they’re played by Linus Roache, Gina McKee and Rupert Everett, respectively. Based on a novel by Bethan Roberts, this romantic drama aims to explore forbidden love, changing social conventions, longing, regret and forgiveness. And it could wind up being a major contender in this year’s awards season — perhaps even for Styles himself.
The Banshees of Inisherin (in theaters Oct. 21)
Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan in "The Banshees of Inisherin." Photo: Jonathan Hession/Searchlight Pictures
With fantastic early buzz out of the Venice and Toronto film festivals, the dark comedy "The Banshees of Inisherin" is already shaping up to be a major player this awards season. Particularly for Colin Farrell, who stars as an Irish man named Pádraic who’s shocked when his lifelong pal Colm (Brendan Gleeson) suddenly ends their friendship. Confused, Pádraic sets about trying to repair the relationship at any cost — even as Colm delivers a hefty ultimatum. And while that might sound like a simple premise, it could be something special in the hands of writer/director Martin McDonagh ("Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"), who previously made magic with Farrell and Gleeson in the 2008 dark-comedy crime thriller "In Bruges."
Call Jane (in theaters on Oct. 28)
Elizabeth Banks in "Call Jane." Photo: Protagonist Pictures
It felt like an eerie bit of timing when HBO debuted "The Janes" — a documentary about an underground 1960s abortion service — just weeks before the Supreme Court decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Center overturned nearly five decades of Roe v. Wade. And it will likely feel just as eerie to watch "Call Jane" tell a fictionalized version of that same story. Starring Elizabeth Banks and Sigourney Weaver, "Call Jane" explores the history of the Jane Collective, a real-life Chicago organization that helped women access safe abortions in the late 1960s and early 1970s, at a time when the procedure was illegal in most of the United States. As film critic Caroline Siede wrote in her review of the film from this year’s Sundance Film Festival, "Anchored by Banks’ carefully calibrated performance and plenty of elegantly understated long takes from director Phyllis Nagy (the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of "Carol"), "Call Jane" uses a light touch to make the abortion experience feel exactly like what it is: normal."
WATCH FOR FREE ON TUBI: Phyllis Nagy’s Oscar-nominated screenplay for "Carol" — get the app
She Said (in theaters Nov. 18)
Photo: Universal Pictures
Hollywood’s reckoning with the #MeToo movement comes full circle with this cinematic retelling of how "New York Times" reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor broke the story of Harvey Weinstein's sexual misconduct allegations. Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan star as the dogged journalists whose reporting not only shattered decades of Hollywood silence but also kicked off a worldwide conversation about abusive power dynamics. Based on Twohey and Kantor's book of the same name, "She Said" is helmed by "Unorthodox" director Maria Schrader and written by "Disobedience" screenwriter Rebecca Lenkiewicz, two women who know their way around complex stories about gender and patriarchy. And like "All the President's Men" before it, this investigative journalism saga could prove to be a favorite among awards voters.
WATCH FOR FREE ON TUBI: James Norton plays an intrepid 1930s journalist in "Mr. Jones" — get the app
Nanny (in theaters Nov. 23; streaming on Prime Video Dec. 16)
Anna Diop and Rose Decker star in Nanny. Photo Amazon Studios
This psychological horror fable kicked off the year with a bang when it won the Grand Jury Prize in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. And now "Nanny" makes its theatrical/streaming debut just in time for awards season. Anna Diop stars as Aisha, an undocumented Senegalese woman working as a nanny for an affluent Manhattan couple (Michelle Monaghan and Morgan Spector). But as Aisha saves towards being able to afford to bring her own young son to the States, she becomes increasingly disturbed by a violent, volatile presence threatening her hard-earned American dream. Expect an atmospheric, thoroughly original debut from writer/director Nikyatu Jusu.
Women Talking (in select theaters Dec. 2; expands Dec. 25)
Michelle McLeod, Sheila McCarthy, Liv McNeil, Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy, Kate Hallett, Rooney Mara and Judith Ivey in director Sarah Polley’s film, WOMEN TALKING An Orion Pictures Release. Photo: Michael Gibson
Based on a novel by Miriam Toews, "Women Talking" has deceptively simple premise: Eight Mennonite women meet in secret in a hayloft to discuss acts of gendered violence that have been committed in their isolated religious community. What follows is an urgent, poignant discussion about how to reconcile faith, forgiveness and community with trauma, accountability and self-determination. It’s a "conversation about how to remake a broken world," according to writer/director Sarah Polley. And with a star-studded cast that includes Frances McDormand, Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley and Ben Whishaw, "Women Talking" has already emerged as a critically acclaimed standout of the fall festival season — one that could very well ride that wave to awards season gold.
WATCH FOR FREE ON TUBI: Sarah Polley directs Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen in "Take This Waltz" — get the app
You can find more information about the Chicago International Film Festival on the fest’s website.
Make it an awards-worthy double feature with "Lion," streaming free on Tubi
Lion (2016): Dev Patel transformed his career (and his public image) with this critically acclaimed true story of a young Indian-Australian man who becomes determined to find his lost birth family. With four Golden Globe nominations, six Oscar nods and two BAFTA wins, it’s a cross-cultural story that resonated around the world. Rated PG-13. 118 minutes. Dir: Garth Davis. Also featuring Sunny Pawar, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, Priyanka Bose, David Wenham.
About the writer: Caroline Siede is a film and TV critic in Chicago, where the cold never bothers her anyway. A member of the Chicago Film Critics Association, she spent four years lovingly analyzing the romantic comedy genre one film at a time in her column When Romance Met Comedy for The A.V. Club. She also co-hosts the movie podcast, Role Calling, and shares her pop culture opinions on Twitter (@carolinesiede).
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