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When It Comes to Love, We’re Beginners

By Jeffrey OverstreetAugust 28, 2015

During a lecture last March [2011], I spoke fondly of a friend whom I had recently lost to cancer. Halfway through the anecdote, I suddenly recognized his wife, the mother of his two young children, in the audience, listening in rapt attention. She was far from home, a surprise visitor. I almost choked. And I suddenly began weighing my words with much greater care. Had I represented her husband well?

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Are You Ready For a Miracle?

By Jeffrey OverstreetApril 25, 2012

Caution: Lourdes is a movie that may complicate your prayers. And prayer is complicated enough already, isn’t it? You’re probably familiar with scriptures that advise us how to pray. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I sometimes read those passages as if they were the troubleshooting page of a user’s manual, hoping I might find…

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Emergency Boy

By Jeffrey OverstreetApril 2, 2012

When we see a frantic streak of red and white charge down a city street, we know what it means: Emergency! In the new film by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, The Kid with a Bike, that frantic streak of red and white is the emergency. His name is Cyril. He’s 11 years old. He wears…

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“All of It Was Music”—Pete Horner’s World of Sound, Part 1

By Jeffrey OverstreetMarch 6, 2012

In 2010, I had the privilege of leading the Film Seminar at the Glen Workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I was a student posing as an instructor, a film enthusiast more interested in learning about movies from classroom discussion than in expounding upon my own movie-going experience. Still, it caught me by surprise to learn…

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Lucky Life: Poetry in Motion

By Jeffrey OverstreetJanuary 27, 2012

I’ve been waiting for a chance to share this movie with you for two years. In Lucky Life, the new film by Lee Isaac Chung, three friends—a writer named Mark, his wife Karen, and their friend Alex—drive to join their friend Jason at a North Carolina beach house. They’ve been friends for years, but this…

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Strongest Impressions of 2011, Part 2

By Jeffrey OverstreetJanuary 3, 2012

It happens every January—movie ads fill up with boasts about awards they’ve won. Soon, those boasts will include Oscar nominations. And The Artist is currently the most boastful of all. Filmmaker Michael Hazanavicius’s tribute to Hollywood’s silent film era is stirring up enthusiasm among audiences and critics alike. Me, I enjoyed it. It was playful,…

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Strongest Impressions of 2011, Part 1

By Jeffrey OverstreetJanuary 2, 2012

It’s that time again: Time to share my favorite films of 2011. Today, I’ll share twenty-one silver medal winners—movies I admired very much. Tomorrow—the gold medalists—the top ten. I was asked to share this list on a Pittsburgh radio program last week. But we got sidetracked. The show hosts asked questions about a celebrity controversy…

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War Horse: A War Story for Everyone

By Jeffrey OverstreetDecember 23, 2011

Was there a horse story in your childhood? My wife Anne cherished Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty, C.W. Anderson’s The Blind Connemara, and Marguerite Henry’s Stormy and White Stallion of Lipizza. When she wasn’t reading about horses, she was riding them. In the saddle by the time she was in elementary school, Anne rode both English…

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An American Starlet in Sr Laurence’s Court

By Jeffrey OverstreetNovember 25, 2011

First of all, a slap on the casting team’s wrist: Never cast Emma “Hermione” Watson in a movie unless you intend for her to be the focus of our attention. Watson has that mysterious movie-star something—a presence that overrides all others. When she first appeared onscreen in Simon Curtis’s film My Week with Marilyn, I…

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Martha in the Middle

By Jeffrey OverstreetNovember 18, 2011

Martha Marcy May Marlene tied me in knots. It took me hours to untangle myself. The title of writer/director Sean Durkin’s first film is hard to say, and hard to remember, for a reason. This is a movie about a woman who can’t remember who she is or what version of herself is true. She…

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