Films I loved in October 2020

The Leadership

The Leadership is a terrific Australian documentary about 76 women scientists undergoing leadership training while sailing to Antarctica. Against the backdrop of clashes between scientific and corporate mindsets, this film provides a compelling scrutiny of gender inequalities in STEMM.
Released in Australian cinemas 1 October 2020

Richard ‘Dick’ Johnson and Kirsten Johnson in Dick Johnson is Dead

In Dick Johnson Is Dead documentary filmmaker Kirsten Johnson films imagined scenes of her father’s death, using the absurdity and black comedy of such a project to help both of them accept his declining health. The result is a sweet, sad and funny personal film about the painful price we pay for loving somebody, and how it’s absolutely worth it.
Released on Netflix 2 October 2020

Jake Ryan as Danny/Damage in Savage

Savage is a portrait of a New Zealand gang member whose tough exterior and brutal actions mask a lifetime of self-doubt, divided loyalties, trauma and abuse. For a film frequently punctuated by acts of violence, it’s the moments of tenderness that have the greatest impact.
Released in Australian cinemas 8 October 2020

Totally Under Control

As expected from an Alex Gibney documentary, Totally Under Control delivers rigorous analysis, contextual information and clarity to reveal how wishful thinking and actions driven by politics rather than science resulted in the USA’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Released in Australia digitally 13 October 2020

Feels Good Man

Feels Good Man documents how Pepe the Frog, a cartoon slacker character from a zine, became an internet meme appropriated by the alt-right. It’s an excellent film about how the most toxic ideas can thrive in an online environment to have real-world social and political impact.
Released on DocPlay 22 October 2020

Rose Matafeo as Zoe and Matthew Lewis as Tim in Baby Done

The New Zealand comedy Baby Done, about an unplanned pregnancy, rises above the pack for how naturally it avoids most of the usual cliches about expectant parents. It’s a well-acted and good natured film that delivers a winning blend of grounded drama with broader comedic elements.
Released in Australian cinemas 22 October 2020

Sidney Flanigan as Autumn in Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Never Rarely Sometimes Always takes the story of a teenage girl from a small US town trying to get an abortion to comment on the sexualisation, harassment and struggles to maintain autonomy faced by young women. It’s a beautiful and poignant film about resilience and solidarity.
Released in Australian cinemas 29 October 2020

Kyle Marvin as Kyle and Michael Angelo Covino as Mike in The Climb

The Climb is a funny and thoughtful film about male friendship told through a series of impressive long takes that present key moments in the life of the film’s protagonist whenever his path crosses with his toxic supposed best friend, who is something of a human wrecking ball.
Released in Australian cinemas 29 October 2020

His House: Wunmi Mosaku as Rial Majur, Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù as Bol Majur in His House

In His House, repressed trauma manifests as a malevolent presence that haunts two Sudanese refugees who have recently been settled in a decaying house in England. Uncanny scares and real world tragedy are effectively blended to make this a moving and pertinent horror film.
Released on Netflix 30 October 2020

Thomas Caldwell, 2020