keith maitland

"How could I not forgive? I've been forgiven so much." (Five Lovely Films)

As part of my 2018 Year of Inhale, I've been watching so many terrifying & sparkling & butter-soft films. A few recent favourites brimming over with laughter & horror & tingling starlight, the truest kind of homeland I could possibly fathom...

(& before we begin: to whom it may concern, I have begun rescoring my favourite films, because I clearly don't already have enough ongoing projects. Here we are: Love, Simon; Ocean's Eight; The Incredibles.)

01 / TOWER, dir. Keith Maitland. A cinematically stunning, genuinely chilling documentary on the University of Texas Tower shooting. Compiling news clips & animation with period footage & modern day interviews with survivors, this film managed to walk the line between artistic excellence & faithfulness to the events. I also adored how there was almost no talk of the murderer’s life, motives, or personality. Everything was focused on the victims, as it should be. Tower could have very easily turned into a soup of preaching about gun control laws—which, though of course incredibly important to discuss, would have bogged & slowed down the plot considerably. As is, this film packs a huge emotional gut punch while remaining lean & sharp. Favourite quotes: “You cannot have fear in front of you and do your job.” & “How can I not forgive? I’ve been forgiven so much.” Amen, amen, amen.

02 / OCEAN'S EIGHT, dir. Gary Ross. It was fun! It was loud! It was clever! It had far too many hot people! It reminded me how astoundingly queer I am! & also... nothing much actually happened? But hey, 4/5 stars anyway for badass women getting shit done without too much objectification. Here’s hoping the next one will have some actual conflict to boot.

03 / THE INCREDIBLES 2, dir. Brad Bird. What a huge risk to create a sequel to such a beloved children's film fourteen years (!) after the original was released—& what a huge payoff when it turned out so gorgeously. My baby sister & I grew up loving original film& The Incredibles 2 served both as a welcome, poignant hit of red-tinged nostalgia, & a brash, bright, & quick-firing adventure on its own merit. I must admit I've been wary of the trend that much of Hollywood appears to be falling into lately where each new film is a watered-down derivative of the last, but here's an instance where the sequel turned out to be just as if not more compelling & well-made than its predecessor. An instant classic in our household.

04 / ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD, dir. Ridley Scott. Full disclosure: I picked this film to watch on a whim while 30,000 feet in the air because it was directed by Ridley Scott & starred Michelle Williams. (As you can tell, my priorities when it comes to films are always in the right place.) Truly, though, I loved it more than I thought possible—a story of family & fortune, money & motherhood, suffering & song. Worth the watch.

05 / LOVE, SIMON, dir. Greg Berlanti. Subtly highlights the unique intricacies of a teenage coming out story (a father’s microaggressions, a classmate’s bullying, a friend’s teasing comments, your own reluctance to even utter the word) while effortlessly intertwining it with the familiar elements of straight love stories (the best friends who won't admit they’re in love with each other, the outsider with compromising information, the flamboyant & overly friendly school administrator). & my god, it’s stunning to watch that intertwinement, to know that coming out & coming of age stories can coexist. Love, Simon is tender, funny, full of warmth & gutsiness. It’s cliché in ways that are welcome. It pokes fun at straight people’s stereotypes of gay culture while nodding to the inside language that all queer people share. I adore this film so because it portrays a life, a coming of age story, a soft & sweet gay romance, that is perfectly & beautifully mundane. Though it's not everything, it's a damn good start at better queer representation on the silver screen—& for now I'm willing to call it enough.

p.s. don't forget to find me on letterboxd for every update on my cinematic journeys; &, tell me in the comments, what films have you loved lately that i shouldn't miss? i can't wait to hear from you, & add to my ever-growing list of film recommendations from readers. xx