Media in Trump’s America: The Film Industry’s Dystopian Take
Don’t count on Trump to pay heed to any of these films, which he’d probably dismiss as hailing from Meryl Streep’s “liberal movie people." But you certainly should.
The thin-skinned once and future reality-TV star wandering around the White House has hijacked 2017. An endless stream of controversial policies and obnoxious remarks directed at women, immigrants, Muslims, Mexicans, LGBTQ people and countless others has triggered a concerted anti-Trump creative resistance. In times like these, some escapist entertainment would totally be justified, but if you’re a member of the “woke” audience, you’ll want to watch a film that echoes ongoing anxieties and highlights the plight of marginalized folks. A number of visionary filmmakers have already had their zeitgeist-tapping films praised on the festival circuit, adding serious Oscar pedigree to their anticipated November bows.
Film and Race: Mudbound
Chief among these films is Dee Rees’s Mudbound, a post-Second World War epic about two families grappling with racial violence in rural Mississippi that was sold to Netflix for a colossal $12.5 million at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Based on Hillary Jordan’s beautifully written novel of the same name, Mudbound features Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund and a star-making (as an actress) turn from R&B legend Mary J. Blige.
Film and Sexuality: Call Me By Your Name
Another book adaptation being hailed as a screen masterpiece is Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name, about a forbidden summer romance between a precocious 17-year-old (Timothée Chalamet) and his father’s 24-year-old intern (Armie Hammer), set in Italy’s obscenely gorgeous Lombardy region in the 1980s.
Film and Religion: Lady Bird
Also starring breakout actor Chalamet is Lady Bird, actress Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut about a rebellious student (Saoirse Ronan) who enrols at a college in New York to escape her stiflingly conservative Sacramento environment.
Film and Women: Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
The unconventional origin story of DC superhero Wonder Woman lies at the heart of filmmaker Angela Robinson’s Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. The film is about a Tufts University psychologist’s (Luke Evans) polyamorous partnership with his wife (Rebecca Hall) and a student (Bella Heathcote) and how this unorthodox dynamic sparked the creation of a badass Amazonian heroine. She was first introduced to readers in 1941, but Gal Gadot brings her back to the screen this month in Justice League.
Film and War: Last Flag Flying
Lastly, proud Austinite and celebrated writer-director Richard Linklater (Boyhood, Before Sunrise) trains his lens on three Vietnam veteran buddies (Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell and Laurence Fishburne) grappling with a very personal loss of life during the Bush administration’s Iraq War in his lyrical road film Last Flag Flying.
Don’t count on Trump to pay heed to any of these fine offerings, which he’d probably dismiss as hailing from Meryl Streep’s coterie of “liberal movie people” and “Hillary lovers.” But you certainly should.