Skip to main content

What are the best new movies to see in August? Our correspondent Abbie Martin Greenbaum shares her list of the top films you need to see this August 2019. One is documentary called Jay Myself, about the life of Jay Maisel, who took the stunning photo above.

August is a good time to take a breather

After a summer full of superheroes, Disney remakes, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, August feels like a good moment to stop and take a breath. After all of the big blockbuster films of the prior two months, what are the best new movies in August?


Join our community

For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter. And see luxury in a new light.

sign up now >

Of course, there are still big blockbusters arriving in theaters. Among the top film releases this August are the latest in the Fast & Furious franchise, Hobbs and Shaw. Bestselling book adaptations Where’d You Go Bernadette and The Art of Racing in the Rain. And Gurinder Chadha’s delightful love letter to Bruce Springsteen, Blinded by the Light.

But there are also many other “smaller” films among the best new movies in August. 

the top films you need to see in august 2019

Here are three documentaries and one narrative film we recommend, all of which make our list of the top films this August. Each makes innovative use of their mediums’ strengths and limitations, and all are in theaters right now. ‘Cause sometimes the big screen is still the best.

1. Honeyland

Directed by: Tamara Kotevska and Ljubo Stefanov

top films to see this August

A still from documentary film Honeyland. Photo Credit: Vanity Fair.

When you hear this is a movie about bees, perhaps your immediate reaction is oh, this is probably a depressing movie about the environment – and you would be wrong. Although preparing to feel a sense of existential despair is not too far off of the mark in this top film in August.

Honeyland is about middle-aged Hatidze, a beekeeper who lives with her dying 85-year-old mother in the mountains of Macedonia. Buck-toothed and smiling, she is the kind of person you’ll rapidly get attached to. We watch her take a bus to the city with her enormous backpack so that she can sell her honey, and bring home some bananas for her mother. Except of course – as you can expect with almost any documentary – there comes a point where something changes, and then everything goes wrong.


More in Film

the most important film festivals in the world

read more >

A family moves next door to Hatidze and her mother. And though they begin on good terms with one another, soon the family’s father becomes Hatidze’s competition in the honey-producing business. This is where Honeyland’s status as a documentary, rather than fiction, becomes significant.  Hatidze seems to be a genuinely good person, but that cannot stop the tide from turning against her. Where a narrative film could spin these circumstances into dark comedy, or at least offer some kind of moral retribution, here, reality unfurls naturally, with all its messiness and ambiguity. And so – Spoiler Alert – there is no karmic payoff on screen. 

Even those who usually prefer narrative films will enjoy this documentary, though. It’s so emotionally charged that you can easily forget there is an actual crew gathering all of this footage. We receive a valuable up-close and personal view of reality, without feeling that the film crew is being overly invasive. Brilliantly done.

2. David Crosby: Remember My Name

Directed by: A.J. Eaton

best new movies this August

David Crosby: Remember My Name. Photo Credit: Variety

David Crosby is a music legend: a founding member of both The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash. This biographical film, filled with interviews, starts as so many documentaries do. In the late stages of a long life that is both noteworthy and complicated.

It begins with Crosby in his home, discussing his poor health. And it is this sense of things coming to a close that hovers over the rest of the film, as the documentary dives into the past to tell Crosby’s story in chronological order.


More in Film

the best films about food and fine dining

read more >

Though the rock star endured a great deal of hardship throughout his life, including addiction, loss and some time spent in prison, the most haunting part of the film is the questions it leaves unanswered. It utilizes the superpower of its medium to do what a fictional narrative could not, and leaves Crosby’s damaged relationships with his former collaborators open-ended.  

Crosby says he believes that they all hate him, and that’s what will stick with you after you leave the theater. The film does not – cannot – offer any solutions or comfort to its subject, or to its audience for that matter. Fans of the much-lauded novel Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid will enjoy this film, as it operates in the same milieu, touching on almost all of the frictions that exist between making music and maintaining friendships.

3. Jay Myself

Directed by: Stephen Wilkes

best movies to see this August 2019

A still from the documentary film Jay Myself about photographer Jay Maisel. Photo Credit: Curbed.

One of the best new movies this August is this documentary, which chronicles the last days spent by famed photographer Jay Maisel in his iconic New York mansion in Lower Manhattan. As much about the equal parts idiosyncratic-and-charismatic Maisel as it is about the move and building itself, this charming film is a great proponent of documentary’s very existence as an art form.

After all, isn’t it wonderful that we are able to permanently memorialize any person, place or time, with many of their complexities, in a two-hour living story?


More in Film

what are the best places in the world to watch a movie?

read more >

Maisel’s home and workspace are a part of New York history, and this movie allows us to preserve that essence before it is gone. The filmmaker, Stephen Wilkes, was mentored by Maisel, and this kind of closeness between interviewer and subject imbues the film with humor and intimacy. Wilkes clearly gets Maisel, and he allows the audience to begin to get him too.

One of the best moments in the film comes when Maisel is talking to two of the movers, telling them that everything they think is trash is going to be saved and taken with them to the new house. Where a different film would make itself more predominantly about Maisel’s photographs, this one is instead about the person Jay Maisel, and simply uses his work as one attribute of many during this massive life change.

4. Them That Follow

Directed by: Brittany Poulton and Dan Madison Savage

Starring: Alice Englert, Kaitlin Dever, Walter Goggins, Olivia Colman, Jim Gaffigan, Lewis Pullman and Thomas Mann

A still from the film Them That Follow.

Set in a deeply religious community in Appalachia, Them That Follow is one of the best new movies this August. It’s centered on the young character of Mara (played by Englert), who is the daughter of the community’s snake-handling pastor.

We first see her hitchhiking into town to buy a pregnancy test, and the high, fraught stakes only get higher from there. It is possible to see the story as a bleak and unconventional “bildungsroman”, as it pursues Mara’s reconciliation of her relationship with her father with her own beliefs, as well as the two men she is caught between. It’s unusual to see a coming of age film set in this kind of world, and it is a privilege to be able to explore what being a person of Mara’s age might experience in this kind of setting.


More in Film

the best films about luxury fashion

read more >

One of the most compelling pieces of the film is Mara’s relationship with her friend Dilly, placed by Dever, a young woman with her own, separate set of struggles. The two of them are open with each other about certain things and not others. The film does a wonderful job showing the ways intimate friendships at this age, or a lack of them, can influence the extreme choices we have to make.

The incredible cast will transport you to a world that is ambitiously specific, and at times aggressive and frightening. If you want to see a film that forces you to step outside of your comfort zone this month, this is it.

the top films you need to see in august 2019

That’s it – our picks for the best new movies in August 2019. Enjoy!

join our community

For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter here. And see luxury in a new light.

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.

Abbie Martin Greenbaum

Abbie Martin Greenbaum is a writer, reader, and pop culture connoisseur, who loves storytelling, coffee, and dessert. Her work has also appeared in Playbill.