MY FRIEND DAHMER
2017, FilmRise, 107 min, USA, Dir: Marc Meyers

Filled with pathos and melancholy, this elegant character study spends a year in the company of a high school loner who would go on to become one of the most nefarious serial killers in the annals of crime. Jeffrey Dahmer’s (a heart-breaking Ross Lynch) parents are divorcing, his dad makes him change his hobbies, and his friends only want to force “dares” on him. By looking at a character for whom a lot could have been different, MY FRIEND DAHMER reminds us that monsters are not born but shaped through endless encounters with the world around them. The rest of the cast gamely match up to Lynch’s performance, including a brilliant Anne Heche as Dahmer’s equally lost-in-the-world mother.


VICTORIA & ABDUL
2017, Focus Features , 106 min, Dir: Stephen Frears

A humorous exploration of race, religion, power and the farce of Empire through the prism of an unusual and deeply moving friendship, this extraordinary true story had been deliberately hidden for a century. In 1887, Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) travels from India to present a ceremonial medal as part of Queen Victoria’s (Judi Dench) Golden Jubilee but surprisingly finds favor with the elderly monarch. The unprecedented and unlikely relationship causes a battle royale within the royal household, pitting the queen against court and family.


SONG OF GRANITE
2017, Oscilloscope, 104 min, Ireland/Canada, Dir: Pat Collins

This SXSW favorite revolves around the life of the great traditional Irish singer Joe Heaney. The harsh landscape combined with the myths, fables and songs of his Connemara childhood helped shape this complex and fascinating character. Enigmatic and complex, Heaney’s devotion to his art came at a huge personal cost. Beautifully shot in B&W, this intense exploration of music and song features performances from Lisa O'Neill, Damien Dempsey, Seamus Begley and sean nós singers Micheál O'Confhaola and Pól Ó Ceannabháin.


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