Seriously Good Films to Watch this Spring

Noted film critic Bill Newcott, creator of AARP’s “Movies for Grownups,” offers his picks.

Scene from the 2019 film, Gloria Bell

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Greta (March 1)

A scene from the 2019 film, Greta

Writer/director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game) concocts a good old-fashioned twisty, terrifying thriller involving the seemingly sweet “old lady” Greta (Isabelle Huppert) who becomes obsessed with a young Manhattan woman (Chloë Grace Moretz). Jordan winks at the audience from the start: Even when the pair is enjoying a sweet intergenerational friendship, each time Greta appears, the director telegraphs the menace with startling musical stings. Discerning viewers would ordinarily be annoyed by the flashing warning lights, but in Jordan’s hands they’re all part of the fun.

Gloria Bell (March 8)

Scene from the 2019 film, Gloria Bell

Julianne Moore is fantastic in a seamless Americanization of the 2013 Oscar-nominated Chilean film Gloria. Writer/director Sebastián Lelio (A Fantastic Woman) follows lonely Gloria as she looks for love in a sterile L.A. She meets an eligible bachelor (John Turturro) who seems to check off every box on her wish list — until she realizes he’s under the thumbs of his grown, irresponsible daughters. We share Gloria’s growing exasperation — and want to stand up and cheer when she administers one of the greatest comeuppances in screen history. Every supporting player is first-rate, especially Holland Taylor as Gloria’s mom, Rita Wilson as her best pal, Brad Garrett as her put-upon ex, and Sean Astin in a wordless cameo as a Vegas high roller.

Breakthrough (April 17)

Scene from the 2019 film, Breakthrough.

Emmy-nominated This Is Us star Chrissy Metz proves her big-screen acting chops in this powerful drama based on a true story. She plays Joyce Smith, a Missouri mom whose teen son (Marcel Ruiz of the One Day at a Time reboot) falls through a frozen lake, is fished out 15 minutes later, and still has no pulse over an hour after the accident. Mom’s anguished prayer sparks a blip on the ER heart monitor, and pretty soon even the boy’s doctor (Dennis Haysbert) is using the M word. Director Roxann Dawson, whose work includes episodes of House of Cards and The Americans, draws a poignant picture of a family driven by faith but not immune to the pain of crises.

For biweekly video reviews of the latest films, go to saturdayeveningpost.com/movies or check out Bill Newcott’s website, moviesfortherestofus.com.

This article is featured in the March/April 2019 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

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