What movies are the best to see this June? Every month, our correspondent Abbie Martin Greenbaum shares her insights and tips on all things cinematic. From film festivals to must-see new releases – and of course, the awards season – she’s our expert guide to the silver screen. In this dispatch, Greenbaum shares her list of the top films you need to see this June. These are the movies people will talking about this month.
june sees a rich and eclectic variety of new films
June is a huge month for cinema! With Cannes festival wrapped up and several of the other biggest film festivals coming up soon, audiences’ attentions can swivel between prestigious dramas, hilarious comedies, and an infinite supply of studio blockbusters.
Releases later this month include the new Men in Black (starring Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson), Toy Story 4, Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die, and Yesterday, the new comedy from Danny Boyle. Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Rocketman, the new film about Elton John, are already in theaters.
With so many amazing movies, you’ll have more than enough options to keep you busy.
And even with all these choices, we have our own list of recommendations for you as well – movies you definitely don’t want to miss, even with so many to choose from.
the top films you need to see this June
It’s rare that a movie comes along that is so clearly a classic in the making – the kind of movie where ten or fifteen years from now, we will definitely still be watching and enjoying it.
Booksmart is Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut. It stars Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever as best friends Molly and Amy. The pair realize the night before their graduation that they have been so focused on their studies, they may have missed out on the joy of high school. They have only one night to rectify their choices, and of course shenanigans ensue. They try to attend the party of one of the most popular boys in school.
The movie succeeds both because of the talent of its cast, and because of the authenticity Wilde manages to deliver. It is one of the first coming-of-age films that feels truly specific to this moment – 2019. Social dynamics in high schools have changed since the classic high school films of the eighties, and Wilde’s film reflects that. It manages to combine fun, familiar tropes with fresh spin and perspective.
2. Charlie Says
You’ve probably heard some of the buzz from Cannes about Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. To be released next month, the film featured Sharon Tate, who was infamously murdered by Charles Manson. Well, some may not realize there is another movie out currently on the same period in history: Charlie Says.
Directed by Mary Harron and written by Guinevere Turner, the film is based on the book by Karlene Faith. Merritt Weaver plays Faith in the film – the graduate student who worked with Leslie Van Houton, Virginia Carlson and Mary Brunner while they were in prison, trying to help them reach psychological clarity. The film somehow manages to take the subject and turn it mostly inward, making for an introspective and upsetting drama that is definitely worth seeing, especially if you plan on seeing Tarantino’s film next month.
3. The Sun is Also a Star
Based on Nicola Yoon’s beloved young adult novel, The Sun is Also a Star is a sweet romantic comedy that plays with a fun and familiar idea: can two people fall in love in a day?
In this case, the two people are Daniel and Natasha (played by Daniel Melton and Yara Shahidi), teenagers who cross paths on a seminal day in each of their lives. The two have an incredible, romantic day together – there are echoes of Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise – only to be faced with the reality that their newfound love has a major obstacle in its path. Natasha and her family are being deported to Jamaica. The movie manages to walk the impossible line of staying sweet and whimsical, while also not shying away from darker truths of the today’s world. It is a film that is as hopeful as it is real.
Director Frédéric Tcheng makes the excellent choice to frame the film with a fictional character (played by Tavi Gevinson) as its narrator. This expertly sets up Halston’s story as a narrative arc, giving the audience an easy access point. The documentary does a wonderful job of giving every person in Halston’s life a voice, interviewing his family, friends, and coworkers, but also those who might otherwise be seen as villains in Halston’s story. By letting all of these different voices into the film, the movie becomes imbued with a certain level of empathy and balance that not every documentary manages to achieve.
5. Last Black Man in San Francisco
Winner of multiple awards at this year’s Sundance film festival, Last Black Man in San Francisco by Joe Talbot and Jimmie Fails is a completely unique cinematic experience. Talbot and Fails are actual childhood friends, and wrote the story together based on Fails’ life. Fails plays himself in the movie, with Jonathan Majors starring as his close friend, Montgomery Allen. The movie is a gorgeous symphony of images and tremendous characterizations, creating a unique meditation on the impact of gentrification. This is a movie that absolutely everyone should see.
6. Late Night
Get ready for everyone you know to fall in love with Late Night, the new comedy from Mindy Kaling. Directed by Nisha Ganatra, the lovable, hilarious film about a television writers’ room first premiered at Sundance this past January. It stars Emma Thompson as obsolescent talk show host Katherine Newbury, and Kaling herself as Thompson’s newest writer, Molly. The movie is sweet and of the moment, exploring Molly’s experience as a person of color on an entirely white, male writing staff. Kaling and Thompson play beautifully off each other, creating characters who are both immensely entertaining and also three-dimensional, retaining their emotional centers throughout the film.
Those are our recommendations for the top films you need to see this June. Enjoy.
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Abbie Martin Greenbaum grew up in New York City and currently lives in Brooklyn, where she drinks a lot of coffee and matches roommates together for a living. At Oberlin College, she studied English and Cinema, which are still two of her favorite things, along with dessert and musical theater. She believes in magic.