3 Best Movies to Watch From Hart-Sharp Entertainment

Staff & contributors

Written and directed by Academy-Award-winning Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea, Gangs of New York), you can certainly count on the qualities of this subtle, beautiful, and moving drama about two siblings growing apart and reuniting later in life.

An Academy-Award-nominated Laura Linney plays Sammy, a single mother in a small town who is extremely protective of her 8-year-old son. When her younger and somewhat troubled brother Terry (played by the ever-reliable Mark Ruffalo) visits her out of the blue, Sammy has to deal with a slew of contradicting emotions towards her brother, whose appearance threatens to upend her life as she knew it.

Straight, thoughtful, and beautifully crafted, You Can Count on Me is an honest and genuine exploration of unconditional love in celluloid form. Think of it as much more hopeful The Skeleton Twins.

Genre: Drama, Family

Actor: Adam LeFevre, Amy Ryan, Betsy Aidem, Gaby Hoffmann, Halley Feiffer, J. Smith-Cameron, Jon Tenney, Josh Lucas, Kenneth Lonergan, Laura Linney, Lisa Altomare, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick, Michael Countryman, Nina Garbiras, Rory Culkin, Whitney Vance

Director: Kenneth Lonergan

Rating: R

Kimberly Peirce's first–out of only three—film was a smashing success, mostly due to her dedication to the subject matter. Peirce spent years researching the life and tragic death of Brandon Teena after reading an article about him in The Village Voice. She felt a particular kind of kinship as a queer person herself, and wanted to construct a story out of real facts that would put the spotlight on love and the desire for connection, and not that much on the violence which dominated the public discourse. In Falls City, Nebraska, the director conducted interviews with Lana Tisdale (Brandon's girlfriend) and her mother, while attending the ongoing trial. She took years to cast the lead and from hundreds of cis women, lesbians, and trans people, she chose the unknown actress Hilary Swank, who went on to win the Best Actress Academy Award (and the irony of that is not lost on us). The film features fantastic performances aplenty and very raw storytelling, visualized by neorealist style and low lighting. Direct references were the films of Martin Scorcese and John Cassavetes, but Boys Don't Cry has its own blend of beauty and cruelty to take pride in.

Genre: Crime, Drama

Actor: Alicia Goranson, Alison Folland, Brendan Sexton III, Caitlin Wehrle, Cheyenne Rushing, Chloe Sevigny, Craig Erickson, Gabriel Horn, Gail Cronauer, Guilford Adams, Hilary Swank, Jackson D. Kane, Jeannetta Arnette, Jerry Haynes, Josh Ridgway, Libby Villari, Lisa Renee Wilson, Lou Perryman, Matt McGrath, Paige Carl Griggs, Peter Sarsgaard, Rob Campbell, Robert Prentiss, Shana McClendon

Director: Kimberly Peirce

Rating: R

While writing the classic novel Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens was also writing Nicholas Nickleby, with volumes released every month. His third novel was adapted in 2002 in a film adaptation that smooths out Dickens’ elaborate plot, with beautiful sets and costumes, and the classic good vs evil themes the classic novelist is known for. There’s a bit of a mismatch with Charlie Hunnam as the titular protagonist, but the rest of the cast slips into their characters well, most notably Christopher Plummer as the incredibly stingy uncle Ralph, and Jamie Bell, whose rendition of Smike makes his dynamic with Nickleby compelling. Nicholas Nickleby isn’t the most transformative adaptation, but it’s one that still works, especially for young viewers wanting a simplified plot for their book reports.

Genre: Adventure, Drama

Actor: Alan Cumming, Andrew Havill, Angela Curran, Angus Wright, Anne Hathaway, Barry Humphries, Bruce Cook, Charlie Hunnam, Christopher Plummer, Daisy Haggard, David Bradley, Edward Fox, Edward Hogg, Eileen Walsh, Gerard Horan, Hugh Mitchell, Jamie Bell, Jim Broadbent, Juliet Stevenson, Kevin McKidd, Lucy Davis, Mark Wells, Nathan Lane, Nicholas Rowe, Phil Davis, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Romola Garai, Sophie Thompson, Stella Gonet, Timothy Spall, Tom Courtenay, William Ash

Director: Douglas McGrath

Rating: PG