Reel Corner - September 2023

Indie Film Picks 2023

September 2023 Issue
Reel Corner by Donne Paine

Indie Film Picks 2023

If you are a fan of independent films,
I encourage you to search out these Indie finds.

Last year saw Baz Luhrmann reimagine Elvis Presley’s early years—and now, Sofia Coppola is telling his ex-wife Priscilla Presley’s side of the story. Based on the bestselling memoir, Elvis and Me, the film brings Priscilla firmly into the spotlight to compassionately explore what being married to one of the world’s most famous men really felt like. Expect Coppola’s signature hazy cinematography, plus star turns from newcomer Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla and Euphoria’s Jacob Elordi as Elvis. 

Hot on the heels of Oppenheimer and Elvis, the silver-screen era of major biopics amps up with this grand tale of the legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein. Bradley Cooper directs and stars in the film, with Carey Mulligan playing his beloved wife Felicia. Alongside Bernstein’s colorful, personal life and the cost of his artistic genius, the film is an ode to the couple’s enduring love. What’s more, rumors are already swirling that Cooper will take home the Oscar he missed out on for his directorial debut, A Star is Born. 

Theater Camp
This laugh-a-minute, mockumentary-style Indie earned a standing ovation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and sparked a bidding war between a handful of major studios. Based on a short by the film’s multi-hyphenate front woman, Molly Gordon (who writes, directs, and produces on this), it is an affectionate delve into the world of theater enthusiasts at a small performing-arts camp in Upstate New York. When their fearless leader (Amy Sedaris) falls into a coma (triggered by a malfunctioning strobe-light), the troupe bands together to ensure the show goes on. Expect jazz hands, improv, and musical puns, as well as a cast of the brightest new starlets, plus Ayo Edebiri (The Bear) and
Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen).

Cat Person
Nothing captured the anxiety of dating in the online age quite like Kristen Roupenian’s short story Cat Person when it was published in 2017. The romcom-thriller went viral for its sinister untangling of a courtship that turns sour, with ghosting, catfishing, and red flags aplenty. Susanna Fogel, who co-wrote Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart, is at the helm of this hotly anticipated movie rendition, and there are high hopes it will break the internet in the same way the story did. Look out for Oscar-winning Coda’s Emilia Jones and Succession’s breakout star Nicholas Braun in the lead roles.

Based on Ottessa Moshfegh’s chart-topping, debut novel of the same name, this big-screen adaptation follows the unraveling of Eileen Dunlop, a misanthropic woman stuck in a rut, both personally and professionally. When Rebecca, a charismatic new member of the staff, joins the office, their friendship blossoms, until… under the influence of Rebecca, Eileen finds herself dragged into a heinous crime. Thomasin McKenzie is sublime as the slightly peculiar Eileen, and Anne Hathaway gives an award-worthy performance as the seductive Rebecca. 

Cha Cha Real Smooth
Dakota Johnson produced this life-affirming romcom by writer/director Cooper Raiff, which premiered at Sundance to rave reviews. Raiff also stars in the movie, as college graduate Andrew, who moves back to his parents’ home and a life of suburban mundanity. His world takes a turn when he meets Domino (Johnson), a single mother, and her daughter, who has autism. 



ReelCorner 1219 DonneDonne Paine, film enthusiast, once lived around the corner from the Orson Wells Theater in Cambridge, Massachu-setts, where her strong interest in films, especially independent ones, began. Supporter of the arts, especially films, she has traveled to local and national film festivals including Sundance, Toronto and Tribeca. There is nothing like seeing a film on the big screen. She encourages film goers to support Hilton Head local theaters, Park Plaza Theater and Northridge. To support her habit of frequent movie going, Donne is a vaccine medicine nurse consultant and also the author of 4 Interview Pillars available on Amazon. See you at the movies!

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