Review: ‘Moonlight,’ ‘Manchester by the Sea’ and more critics’ picks, Feb. 17-23

Trevante Rhodes, left, and Andre Holland in the Academy Award-nominated film “Moonlight.”
(David Bornfriend / A24 Films)

Movie recommendations from critics Kenneth Turan, Justin Chang and other reviewers. Click title for full review.

Arrival Amy Adams stars in this elegant, involving science-fiction drama that is simultaneously old and new, revisiting many alien-invasion conventions but with unexpected intelligence, visual style and heart. (Kenneth Turan) PG-13.

Elle Paul Verhoeven’s brilliantly booby-trapped thriller starring Isabelle Huppert is a gripping whodunit, a tour de force of psychological suspense and a wickedly droll comedy of manners. (Justin Chang) R.


The Founder Michael Keaton gives a performance of ratty, reptilian brilliance as Ray Kroc, the American salesman who turned a California burger stand into the global fast-food behemoth that is McDonald’s, in John Lee Hancock’s shrewd and satisfyingly fat-free biopic. (Justin Chang) PG-13.

I Am Not Your Negro As directed by the gifted Raoul Peck, this documentary on James Baldwin uses the entire spectrum of movie effects, not only spoken language but also sound, music, editing and all manner of visuals, to create a cinematic essay that is powerful and painfully relevant. (Kenneth Turan) NR.

La La Land Starring a well-paired Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, writer-director Damien Chazelle’s tuneful tribute to classic movie musicals is often stronger in concept than execution, but it’s lovely and transporting all the same. (Justin Chang) PG-13.

Land of Mine Explosive devices that can detonate at any moment are intrinsically dramatic, and this Danish World War II film makes good use of that plot mechanism, but it has a whole lot more going for it as well. (Kenneth Turan) R.


Manchester by the Sea Powerful, emotional filmmaking that leaves a scar, Kenneth Lonergan’s drama starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams is both heartbreaking and heartening, a film that just wallops you with its honesty, its authenticity and its access to despair. (Kenneth Turan) R.

Moonlight Superb filmmaking and an exceptional level of emotional honesty universalize a very specific coming-of-age experience, that of a gay black man growing from child to adult starting in 1980s Miami’s crack cocaine epidemic years. (Kenneth Turan) R.

The Red Turtle A prize-winner at Cannes, this immersive, meditative, stunningly beautiful animated feature that is concerned with the rhythms of the natural world and the mysteries and wonders of ordinary life. (Kenneth Turan) PG.

Silence Martin Scorsese’s wrenching adaptation of Shūsaku Endō’s 1966 novel, about 17th century Portuguese priests experiencing a crisis of faith in feudal Japan, ponders the dogmas and mysteries of Christian faith with astonishing rigor and seriousness. (Justin Chang) R.

Toni Erdmann Sandra Hüller and Peter Simonischek give splendid performances as a high-strung businesswoman and her screw-loose dad in this magnificently unpredictable comedy from German writer-director Maren Ade. (Justin Chang) R.

20th Century Women Mike Mills’ lovingly fictionalized snapshot of his late-1970s adolescence belongs to Annette Bening and her marvelously suggestive and layered performance. (Justin Chang) R.

Tanna Beautifully shot on a tiny, Eden-like Pacific island, this is the surprisingly convincing story of the forbidden love between two young people and how it plays out in a traditional South Seas culture. (Kenneth Turan) NR.

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