Seriously Good Films for a Sulky Summer

Our film critic picks three of his favorite films that are streaming this summer.

Scene from the fim, Kajillion
Kajillion (Sundance Institute)

Weekly Newsletter

The best of The Saturday Evening Post in your inbox!



Who could resist the notion of Debra Winger and Richard Jenkins as the heads of a family of small-time grifters — with Westworld’s Evan Rachel Wood as their socially inept daughter? In writer/director Miranda July’s off-kilter family drama, Mom and Dad have raised their daughter as an essential cog in their two-bit heist lifestyle. Then comes an ambitious newcomer (Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez), who topples the family’s low-rent dynamic with dreams of a bigger score. July is a master of the out-of-left-field twist, and her characters are stubbornly endearing.

The Truth

Scene from the film The Truth
The Truth (IFC)

I usually don’t have much patience for films about how hard it is to be a movie star, but there’s no denying the thrill of seeing the great Catherine Deneuve as a fading screen goddess coming to terms with movie mortality. She plays Fabienne Dangeville, a bygone screen siren who has written her memoirs — a selective account at best. Now her daughter (Juliette Binoche) has come to Paris with her hubby (Ethan Hawke) in tow, fuming because Mom’s book totally sugar-coats her miserable childhood. To make matters worse, Fabienne is currently starring in a cheesy sci-fi flick in which she plays the elderly daughter of a beautiful young mother who never grows old.

Sunken Roads

Scene from the film Sunken Roads
Sunken Roads (GI Film Festival)

In 2014, 20-year-old U.S. filmmaker Charlotte Juergens traveled to France for the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Her initial intent was to trace the steps of her late great-grandfather, who was part of the Normandy invasion — but she soon became swept up by the stories of the surviving veterans with whom she traveled. In a disarmingly sweet film that is part historical documentary, part home movie, Juergens provides the men with a chance to make one final plea that the world not forget the things they did and saw. She proves to be a charming intermediary: One vet calls her “Dear Heart”; another starts introducing her as his granddaughter.

This article is featured in the July/August 2020 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

Featured image: Kajillion (Sundance Institute)

Become a Saturday Evening Post member and enjoy unlimited access. Subscribe now


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *