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What movies are the best ones to see this month? Our correspondent Abbie Martin Greenbaum is sharing 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 in July 2019. These are some of the best movies that will be onscreen in July 2019.

escape the heat with a movie this July 

If at any point this July you grow tired of spending time in the 90° weather, you may want to escape to the movies for some air conditioning, and some of this month’s hottest blockbusters.

For those still not over Avengers: Endgame, you can relax. Because Marvel’s latest film Spider-Man: Far From Home came out just before Independence Day. The movie is both a jolly high school drama, and a continued emotional rumination on the events of the prior films.

Also this month, we have the terrifying Midsommar from director Ari Aster. And of course, the new “live action” The Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau and starring Beyoncé, Donald Glover and James Earl Jones. And at the tail end of July, the new film from director Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, will be released after many months of anticipation.

If these aren’t enough to keep you busy, we’ve compiled a list of five other truly excellent films you should see this July. By coincidence, almost all of these movies explore or highlight a different kind of family dynamic. Giving you a wide range of compelling characters and complicated relationships to entertain you in the midst of this summer heat.

the top films you need to see in July 2019

1. I Am Mother

Directed by: Grant Sputore. Written by: Michael Lloyd Green and Grant Sputore. Starring: Rose Byrne, Hilary Swank and Clara Rugaard.

best movies July 2019

best movies July 2019: Clara Rugaard in I Am Mother by Grant Sputore. Photo Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Ian Routledge.

After premiering at Sundance this past January, I Am Mother has found a home on Netflix. That’s the perfect platform for this quiet post-apocalyptic film about a robot raising a young girl.  If you think the words “quiet” and “post-apocalyptic” are inherently oxymoronic, then you can begin to envision the world of this film, and the feeling of watching it.

Rather than invoking the flashiness of most science fiction features, the size of the film’s cast manages to instead convey the intimate specificity of something more akin to a science fiction novel.

In its set up – an outsider enters the spaceship where the robot, Mother, is raising the human Daughter – the film establishes a vantage point from which the audience can grapple with the existentialism of such a world. Paring down the exposition, the number of characters, and even the number of recognizable actors adds a beneficial sense of plausibility to the film. With fewer elements to consider, the viewer has space to imagine some of the human implications at hand on a more personal level. If you enjoy imagining what a future in space might actually look like, this is the film for you.


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2. The Farewell

Directed by: Lulu Wang. Written by: Lulu Wang. Starring: Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin and Zhao Shuzhen.

Best Movies July 2019

Best movies of July 2019: The Farewell. Photo Courtesy Marie Claire.

Maybe movies are easiest to fall in love with when they have an irresistible idea at their center. That’s definitely the case with one of the best movies of July 2019, The Farewell.

Based on a true story from Wang’s own life, the story goes like this. After they find out that their matriarch is terminally ill, a family comes together in China to spend as much time with her as possible before she dies. All the while lying to her about her condition.

A story like this succeeds only if the alchemy between the tragic elements (dying beloved grandmother) and comedic elements (deception and miscommunication) are perfectly in balance. Thankfully, this movie manages to get the recipe exactly right. Most will know Awkwafina (playing the film’s protagonist, Billi) from her comedic work, and this works in the film’s favor. It is the expectation (and delivery) of the film’s funny moments that allow the grief and devastation to resonate all the more. The movie is never so heavy that you pull away from it emotionally. And this allows us as viewers to invest and trust the story, getting close enough so that the deep sadness at its center can seep in unexpectedly for an even more profound impact. This is the kind of film destined to become a classic, and seeing it on the big screen is certainly worthwhile.

3. Three Peaks

Directed by: Jan Zabeil. Written by: Jan Zabeil. Starring: Alexander Fehling, Bérénice Bejo and Arian Montgomery.

best movies July 2019

The films you need to see in July 2019: Three Peaks. Photo Courtesy of the Studio.

With most films, there exists an unspoken, invisible contract between the two sides of the screen: everyone, even the characters in the film, understands that this is a work of art, designed for you, the viewer, to consume. Three Peaks is not a party to this typical agreement.

A mother, her son, and the mother’s boyfriend go on vacation together, to a cabin in the mountains. They are the only three humans whose faces are ever really visible on screen. As a result, the audience is confined to the role of voyeur, watching the characters’ relationships tangle and twist with uncomfortable intimacy. Without giving anything away, the film really delivers in its final act, where everything it has set up so carefully is beautifully, shockingly resolved.


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4. Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

Directed by: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

Films you need to see this July 2019. Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am. Photos Courtesy of the Studio.

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am is a remarkable film. It is a testament to the power of Toni Morrison that an eighty-eight year old writer speaking directly to the camera is enough to sustain a two-hour, extremely compelling documentary.  

The movie is cogent, emotional and informative without ever feeling didactic. The director has judiciously scattered the exact right amount of famous faces throughout the film. The narrative covers Morrison both broadly and deeply: her life, her career, her family, and her awards. As well as the racism and criticism she has always faced for writing books about black characters that omit the white gaze.

Particularly impressive is the way the documentary commits to the difficult challenge of mixing its mediums: a film about books. Even for those who may not have read every single one of Morrison’s novels, the film does an admirable job of highlighting the cultural and literary significance of each. Reading her major works is not a prerequisite for seeing this film. But after you do, you’ll be moved to pick at least one of them up. Morrison is a legend, and any film that can come close to capturing that on screen is one that has performed a valuable miracle.

5. The Other Story

Directed by: Avi Nesher. Written by: Avi Nesher. Starring: Yuval Segal, Joy Rieger, Sasson Gabai, Maya Dagan.

Best Films you need to see in July 2019

Films you need to see in July 2019: The Other Story. Courtesy Photo.

In The Other Story, much to her family’s chagrin, Anat, a young girl in Jerusalem, is getting married to a very religious man. Her mother and paternal grandfather summon her estranged father in the hopes that he can help break up the couple and convince his daughter to renounce her religion. While he is there, the estranged man’s father asks for his help with a difficult new client of his: a couple fighting over the custody of their son, after the wife takes up with a religious cult.  

The movie adopts many of the machinations of a romantic comedy – opposite forces drawn together, characters compelled to reveal secrets. But it remains serious and heartfelt throughout, playing those beats sincerely rather than for laughs. The film settles into a flow of organic emotional truth that connects each dot in the story to magical effect. Even the most cynical viewer will feel invested by the conclusion of this complex family portrait.  

That’s it – our picks for some of the best movies you can catch onscreen in July 2019. Enjoy!

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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.