Drinks with films

“Women Talking,” shown here, and “Broker” swap showtimes each night at the Nugget Theatre this week. (Courtesy photo)

How do you convince people to see a film that they might not want to go see? “Women Talking” was my favorite film from 2022 yet this award season, it’s gotten very little attention. The director, Sarah Polley, was nominated for an Oscar for the screenplay but not as director. With its incredible ensemble cast, it would be difficult to single out any one actor for an award, but I was disappointed that the entire cast wasn’t recognized by the Golden Globes.

Perhaps it’s a tough sell because the story has a terrifying central premise. Even more tragic, it’s based on a true story of a Mennonite colony in Bolivia, though this is an imagined conversation between women that never happened. Perhaps audiences were put off by the title and the idea of spending two hours with a group of religious women sitting around talking. Though the story is a tragic one, it’s such a pleasure to watch this talented group of women give such powerful performances.

Frances McDormand, a national treasure in my opinion, helped produce the film and has a small but pivotal role. Rooney Mara, Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley are outstanding in the film and the young women of the cast are impressive. Director Polley created a warm empowering space for the actors to fully inhabit their roles.

I stand behind what I said in my Top Films of 2022 review. It’s a “horrifying story beautifully told. The decision they must make is heartbreaking. Will they abandon their male children, husbands and homes to start their colony anew? Or will they forgive the unforgiveable in the hopes that amends can be made? The film takes us on a remarkable journey.” The good news is that if you’ve seen the film or aren’t up for a film with a theme of how to build a path beyond trauma, you’re in luck. This week The Nugget has two films screening.

When I wrote my round-up of favorite films, there were a few I knew I’d love that I had missed. Luckily, the South Korean film, “Broker”, is out now. If you enjoyed Japanese director, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s last film, “Shoplifters” (2018), you’ll be delighted with this film. Comparing the two films, it’s clear that Kore-eda can invoke empathy and lead you to care about people from the fringes of society. These are people you may not give a second glance or perhaps, even avoid. Kore-eda gives you a reason to care about them and their quest to build a family.

Written and directed by Kore-eda, “Broker” stars the lead actor from “Parasite,” Song Kang-ho. He gives a wonderful, nuanced performance. His face is akin to a round mirror reflecting emotions that swim across. He’s ably supported by his cast mates Gang Dong-won, Lee Joo-young, and as detectives on a stake out, Lee Ji-eun and Bae Doona. Each of these characters have secrets that will draw them together.

The film follows our central trio on their mission to find the most suitable parents for a baby. The films opens with the child left at a Baby Box at a church. Tracking the baby brokers is a couple of policewomen who want to arrest them and ensure a proper adoption. The plot twist is that the mother of the child is one of the perpetrators. It’s all a dubious moral soup for our characters. They have conflicted feelings about this enterprise and as the movie unfolds, you learn more of each character’s backstory.

“Broker” is a quiet film with moments of humor, pathos and tension. One minute, the mismatched trio are hiding in a drycleaner van and the next, they’re dealing with an unconscious mobster. It’s a complicated plot and the surprising twists are great fun. Sometimes you want a movie that’s enjoyable and thought-provoking. “Broker” is that film.

Drinks with Films ratings:

4 cups of tea (out of 5) for “Broker”

5 cups of chamomile tea to calm the nerves and soothe the throat (out of 5) for “Women Talking”