The Seagull (May 11)
Annette Bening, gloriously full-voiced as ever, presides over this lush film version of Anton Chekov’s first major play. She plays a famous but insecure actress, brooding at her lake house outside Moscow and hosting, among others, her bon vivant brother (Brian Dennehey), her super-slick author/boyfriend (Corey Stoll), her playwright son (Billy Howle), and a sweet young neighbor girl (Saoirse Ronan). Everyone here is madly in love with someone who doesn’t love them in return — a situation that starts out comic and ends up quite badly. Every performance is a gem.
On Chesil Beach (May 18)
Ian McEwan’s film adaptation of his own novel about a naive couple on their honeymoon is a moody masterpiece, capped by haunting performances by Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) and Billy Howle — and yes, they’re also paired up in The Seagull, reviewed above. What begins as charming awkwardness descends into blind panic, and soon we’re learning just how mismatched this adorable but doomed pair is.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (June 8)
Tom Hanks will play TV’s Mr. Rogers in an upcoming biopic, but there’s no way he’ll match the genuine warmth and unique genius of the real guy, captured in this adoring documentary. Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom) dishes no dirt about his subject, but then again, along with Bob “Captain Kangaroo” Keeshan, Fred Rogers may well be one of the few truly unsullied media figures of the past half-century.
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