Here are snapshots of what our reviewers thought of the movies opening this week in the Seattle area. (Star ratings are granted on a scale of zero to four.)
★★★½ “The Assistant” (R; 87 minutes): “The Assistant” is a brief, devastating portrayal of a day in the life of Jane (Julia Garner, in a performance that’s a masterpiece of tightly wrapped misery), a young assistant in a powerful New York film producer’s office. The shadow of real-life predator Harvey Weinstein hangs over this gutting film. Full review. Pacific Place. — Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times arts critic
★★½ “Downhill” (R; 86 minutes): Even Julia Louis-Dreyfus can’t save this Valentine’s Day release, marketed as a dark relationship comedy — a fair description. But it’s a frustratingly mediocre film: not terrible (no movie with Louis-Dreyfus at its center can be such a thing), but not especially good. Unlike “Force Majeure,” the razor-sharp original, “Downhill” fades away quickly, like melting snow. Full review. Multiple theaters. — Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times arts critic
“The Photograph” (PG-13; 106 minutes): There’s so little genuine, starry-eyed, you-had-me-at-hello romance in American movies today that when a new love story pops up, it’s hard not to root for it. That’s the case with “The Photograph,” about parallel affairs of the heart shared by the perfectly casted Lakeith Stanfield and Issa Rae. Cue the thunderbolt looks, passionate kisses and surging orchestration. Full review. Multiple theaters. — Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
★★½ “Sonic the Hedgehog” (PG; 100 minutes): The beloved video-game character makes a zippy dash for the silver screen, with Ben Schwartz voicing the title character as he races against Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey). It’s bright. It’s cheery. It’s here and then it’s gone, leaving little beyond a slightly sweet aftertaste to mark its passage. Full review. Multiple theaters. — Soren Andersen, Special to The Seattle Times
“And Then We Danced” (not rated; 113 minutes): “There is no sexuality in Georgian dance,” an instructor growls in this film, which explores the relationship between dancers Irakli (Bachi Valishvili) and Merab (Levan Gelbakhiani) and the retrograde ideas about sexuality in Tbilisi, Georgia, all under the shadow of poverty. Georgian, English subtitles. SIFF Cinema Uptown.
“Beanpole” (not rated, for mature audiences; 130 minutes): This war movie, set in 1945 Leningrad, follows a hospital nurse after the battle — the title character (Viktoria Miroshnichenko). It’s a brilliantly told story about love that takes shape when Beanpole’s friend (Vasilisa Perelygina) returns home, medals pinned to her uniform. In Russian with English subtitles. SIFF Cinema Uptown.
“Fantasy Island” (PG-13; 110 minutes): The enigmatic Mr. Roarke makes his guests’ dreams come true at a tropical resort. When fantasies turn into nightmares, the visitors must solve the island’s mystery to escape with their lives. Multiple theaters.
“Invisible Life” (R; 139 minutes): This Brazilian movie tells of Eurídice (Carol Duarte) and Guida (Julia Stockler), sisters in 1950s Rio de Janeiro who are deceived and forced to live apart for years. It’s a drama of resilient women, thoughtless men and crushingly unrealized dreams, told with supple grace, deep feeling and an empathy that extends in every direction. AMC 10.