Critics’ Picks: 10 films to see this summer

Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang chat about the upcoming summer movies.

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For every big-budget studio summer hit, summer has also become a haven for smaller releases and art house picks that counterprogram to the crowds not waiting in line for the 19th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Sorry, “Infinity War”). Los Angeles Times critics Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang have already seen several independent films slated for release this summer and offer a few select picks for titles to watch for.

Ethan Hawke, right, and Rose Byrne star in "Juliet, Naked."
(Alex Bailey / Sundance Institute )

Kenneth Turan’s picks:


“The Guardians,” May 11

French drama starring Nathalie Baye. Directed by Xavier Beauvois. Music Box Films

“On Chesil Beach,” May 18

A young British couple from very different backgrounds pursue a relationship in 1962. With Saoirse Ronan, Billy Howie, Anne-Marie Duff, Adrian Scarborough, Emily Watson, Samuel West. Wirrten by Ian McEwan, based on his novel. Directed by Dominic Cooke. Bleecker Street

“Hearts Beat Loud,” June 8

Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons play a Red Hook, Brooklyn, father and daughter who bond through songwriting before she leaves for college. With Ted Danson, Toni Collette, Sasha Lane, Blythe Danner. Written by Brett Haley and Marc Basch. Directed by Haley. Gunpowder & Sky


“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” June 8

Documentary portrait of Fred “Mister” Rogers, who for decades positively affected and educated children through his public television series. Directed by Morgan Neville. Focus Features

“Juliet Naked,” Aug. 17

Rose Byrne, Chris O’Dowd and Ethan Hawke form an unlikely triangle together by inertia, pop culture obsessiveness and heartache. Written by Tamara Jenkins, Jim Taylor, Evgenia Peretz; based on the novel by Nick Hornby. Directed by Jesse Peretz. Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions

Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson star in "Sorry to Bother You."
(Doug Emmett / Sundance Institute )

FULL COVERAGE: 2018 Summer Movie Sneaks »


Justin Chang’s picks:

“First Reformed,” May 18

A middle-aged pastor with a declining congregation in update New York struggles with his tortured history and bleak future. With Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric the Entertainer. Written and directed by Paul Schrader. A24

“Hereditary,” June 8

Secrets emerge after the death of a matriarch setting her daughter’s family on a seemingly inevitable, ominous path. With Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd, Gabriel Byrne. Written and directed by Ari Aster. A24

“Three Identical Strangers,” June 29


Documentary about three men who make the chance discovery, at age 19, that they are identical triplets, separated at birth and adopted to different parents. Directed by Tim Wardle. Neon

“Sorry to Bother You,” July 6

A supernaturally empowered key sends an Oakland telemarketer into a bizarre alternative realm. With Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer, Terry Crews, Steven Yeun, Omari Hardwick, Jermaine Fowler, Danny Glover. Written and directed by Boots Riley. Annapurna Pictures

Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang’s combined pick:

“Leave No Trace,” June 29


Drama starring Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie as a father and his 13-year-old daughter living in a vast urban park in Portland, Ore. Written by Debra Granik, Anne Rossellini based on the novel by Peter Rock. Directed by Granik. Bleecker Street Media

READ MORE: See the full list of summer release dates »