Best new films to watch this June

Eva Mackevic 3 June 2021

From a comforting ode to literature and New York to a devastating picture of a marriage built on lies, these are our top film picks this month 

My New York Year 

The click-clacking of old typewriters, huge polka-dot blouses, the crinkly rustle of envelopes sliced with a paper-knife—there are so many delectable little touches to My New York Year. A deliciously nostalgic film set in the 1990s, it follows an old-fashioned literary agency steadfastly resisting the looming tech boom—you can’t help but smile upon hearing lines like “I hope this email craze is just a phase” or “computers make work rather than alleviate it”.

The latter is uttered by the agency's alpha-female boss, Margaret (played by the ever-elegant Sigourney Weaver)—an intimidating woman with a penchant for martinis and cigarettes and no time for nonsense. One of her core jobs is managing the notoriously reclusive and eccentric writer JD Salinger who, one day surprises everyone by announcing he wants to publish his first book in decades. 

We watch all of this unravel through the eyes of the peppy Joanna (Margaret Qualley, known for her breakthrough in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)—a recent graduate and aspiring poet who takes on a clerical job at the agency and makes a peculiar connection with Salinger. While not without its grating fantasy sequences and some clumsy acting, My New York Year is ultimately a warm, feel-good movie that’ll delight literature and the Big Apple lovers alike.

My New York Year is out in cinemas now 

 

After Love

This devastatingly intimate drama begins with a punch to the gut: sudden death. A married couple, Ahmed and Mary, come back home in the evening, put on some music, and have a quiet chat as Mary is making them some tea. Mid-conversation, Ahmed stops responding, and as his concerned wife rushes to check on him, she finds he’s no longer breathing.

Quite an introduction, eh? Well, from then on, things just get worse. The very next day, still filled with fresh, raw grief, Mary discovers her late husband—a ferry captain—was leading another life just over the Channel, in Calais.

We follow Mary on this agonising journey of discovery as she travels to Calais to meet the woman she was sharing her husband with, not really knowing what she's going to do. We hold our breath as she arrives at her door, lays eyes on her for the first time, and enters the house where unknowingly to her, Ahmed spent half of his life.

Joanna Scanlan who stars as Mary is the all-encompassing driving force behind After Love. Stoic and sombre in her widowhood at first, we observe how life's rolling punches chip away at her seemingly unbreakable equilibrium. She delivers this insanely difficult performance with grace and dignity, never stooping down to hysteria or pathos—for which there are plenty of opportunities.

Tender, yet nerve-wracking, compelling yet frustrating, After Love is a film of complex contradictions, not unlike the subject matter it so deftly tackles.

After Love is out in cinemas now 

 

Sweat 

Sylwia is a beloved fitness influencer with thousands of followers on Instagram, adoring fans who religiously attend her group workout sessions, TV appearances and photo spreads in magazines. She lives in a luxurious high-rise flat with her pet dog Jackson and is a statuesque vision to look at. On the surface, it looks like she has it all. But, as it often happens in life, things aren’t as rosy when you dig a little deeper.

Hidden away between the smiling selfies and motivational vlogs, is an aching longing for connection, debilitating isolation, icy family relations, and some dangerously questionable fans. As Sylwia’s personal meltdowns start to seep into her public image via emotional social media posts, concerned sponsors begin asking questions.

Don’t be fooled by the seemingly simple premise: the film is exhilarating. Newcomer Magdalena Kolesnik, who plays Sylwia, is a powerhouse of a screen presence, deftly alternating between near-sociopathic detachment and moments of sincerest humanity.

The soundtrack—as you’d expect from a movie that’s heavily focused on fitness—is punchy and loud, complementing the white-knuckle energy of the cinematography that’s on par with a rock concert documentary. Marrying it all is a cunningly clever script that juggles several complex dilemmas with crystal clarity and maturity. You just know you’re in the hands of a reliable storyteller when watching Sweat. Mark our words: this film will stay with you long after you’ve seen it.

Sweat is out in cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema on June 25

 

Read more: 4 Must-see films about the lives of artists 

Read more: 5 Greatest single-location films 

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