Films Reviewed: 2019 Recap

At the beginning of 2019, I set myself a goal: write at least one review per week. My contributions at Third Coast Review were gearing up, and I’d recently been accepted to the Chicago Film Critics Association, so I wanted to challenge myself to write more consistently. I knew it would take commitment—it’s the first time I’ve tried anything like this, and it meant prioritizing the time each week to be thoughtful about at least one film or performance (time I didn’t always have).

But here we are, 52 weeks later and I actually did it! Not only that, but there were many weeks where I wrote two, three and sometimes more reviews at once, meaning I more than surpassed my “one review per week” goal. Considering I do all of this for the love of it (certainly not the money!), I’d say that’s a pretty decent showing in the end!

Over the course of the year, I managed to post at least one byline per week at Third Coast Review, and as I look back on all those headlines, I have to admit I kind of impress myself that I managed it at all. I did my best to cross-post reviews here as well, but the weekly work at Third Coast is fairly time consuming already, so towards the end of the year I let those posts stand on their own.

Now that the year is winding down, though, I’ll recap the weekly posts here to put them all in one place, for you and posterity. For the better part of the year, my reviews live right here on the site…most of them, at least. I wrote more for Third Coast that I didn’t always repost here. So here’s a breakdown by month, with the all the reviews in one place!

January // Capernaum; El Angel; Cold War (which shared the top spot in my list of Best Films of 2018); and On Her Shoulders

February // Velvet Buzzsaw; Oscar Nominated Short Documentaries; Never Look Away; Everybody Knows; and An Inspector Calls at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater

March // Ruben Brandt, Collector (posted over at Third Coast); Captain Marvel; Gloria Bell; Woman at War; Sweat at Goodman Theatre (also at Third Coast)

April // The Highwaymen; The Gospel of Eureka; Knife+Heart; Dumbo; Diane; Fast Color; Peterloo; Her Smell; A Chorus Line at Porchlight Music Theatre; and Hesburgh

May // Hail Satan?; Ask Dr. Ruth; the Lyric Opera’s West Side Story; Poms (which marked my first review posted to Rotten Tomatoes, too!); The Winter’s Tale at the Goodman Theatre; Photograph; The Biggest Little Farm; Non-Fiction; Ma; Walking on Water; Six at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre (which opens on Broadway in 2020!); and Falsettos on tour with Broadway in Chicago

June // Pavarotti; Late Night; The Last Black Man in San Francisco; The Dead Don’t Die; In The Aisles; Yesterday; and Wild Rose

July // Toni Morrison – The Pieces I Am; The Music Man at Goodman Theatre; Maiden; The Farewell; Cooked; The Recommendation at Windy City Playhouse; Skin; Sword of Trust; The Art of Self-Defense; and Teatro ZinZanni, a new cabaret-style dinner theater in downtown Chicago

August // Luz; Mike Wallace Is Here; The Chambermaid; Them That Follow; The Nightingale; Honeyland; For Sama; After the Wedding (which earned a rare one-star review…); Brittany Runs a Marathon;

September // The Band’s Visit on tour with Broadway in Chicago; Fiddler: Miracle of Miracles; Give Me Liberty; Victory Garden Theatre’s Tiny Beautiful Things; a storefront production called Be Here Now; Monos; the stage adaptation of The King’s Speech at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre; the Sundance Short Film tour; A Faithful Man;

October // First Love; Pain & Glory; Sunset Boulevard at Porchlight Music Theater; and Parasite (a quiet month, apparently)

November // Harriet; Last Christmas; By the Grace of God; Stuffed; The Kingmaker; Feast of the Seven Fishes; Marriage Story; Waves; Honey Boy; the holiday classics It’s a Wonderful Life from American Blues Theatre and A Christmas Carol at the Goodman Theatre

December // The Aeronauts; Varda by Agnes; American Dharma; Bombshell; Chained for Life; Little Women; and my last review of 2019, 63 Up