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February 2023

The End of the Affair

Guy Ferrandis/Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Passages (2023)

Finally, a chaos bisexual. Tomas (the outstanding Franz Rogowski), a German movie director who lives and works in Paris, has just finished his latest film. At the wrap party he complains to a man at the bar that no one wants to dance with him. The random woman next to him overhears and offers. This is Agathe (the incredible Adèle Excharopoulos), a Frenchwoman whose friends worked on the film and who quietly, but with some satisfaction, has just dumped her boyfriend. Tomas grins and meets Agathe on the floor. As they dance, the man with whom Tomas was talking makes his goodbyes; we realize he is Tomas’s husband, the English Martin (a superb Ben Whishaw). Between Agathe and Tomas, one thing shortly leads to another. But when someone is as careless in their personal life as Tomas is, no path is ever straightforward.

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Barely Legal

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Cat Person (2023)

For someone who was a feminist in the ’90s, it is horrifying to wonder if Katie Roiphe might have had a point, but “Cat Person” will do that to you. If you are fortunate enough not to know who that is: in 1993 Ms. Roiphe published “The Morning After,” a book which smugly informed the world that most young women, specifically college students, who thought they’d been raped had actually just had bad sex and, thanks to feminism, didn’t know it. It was reactionary and unkind, primarily a retort to being raised by a prominent second-wave feminist (Anne Roiphe), but also as the attention-seeking little sister to a much better writer (Emily Carter, whose “Glory Goes and Gets Some” is an underappreciated gem), but she didn’t half build a career on it. As a career choice, it was an excellent decision, because the sexual choices of young women are basically the issue. Abortion, gender roles, sexual preferences, childcare, property rights, equal pay for equal work, educational choices, you’re not going out dressed like that: they all boil back to how the bodies of young women are controlled.

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