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.)
★★★★ “The Farewell” (PG; 98 minutes): Lulu Wang’s beautiful drama/comedy — which stars Awkwafina as a struggling artist in Brooklyn who returns to China to say goodbye to her grandmother (Zhao Shuzhen), diagnosed with a fatal illness — pulls off a quiet miracle: it breaks your heart, and leaves you happy. In English and Mandarin, with English subtitles where necessary. Full review. SIFF Cinema Egyptian, Lincoln Square. — Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times arts critic
★★★½ “The Lion King” (PG; 120 minutes): Disney’s remake amplifies and deepens all that is good in the 1994 animated original. The key is in the visuals. Photorealistic computer-generated imagery renders its African landscapes and animals with astonishing realism. Full review. Multiple theaters. — Soren Andersen, Special to The Seattle Times
★★★½ “Maiden” (PG; 93 minutes): Alex Holmes’ taut, gripping documentary about one young woman’s dream takes us on a journey we won’t soon forget: around the world on a 58-foot yacht, in the company of its historic all-female crew. Full review. Meridian. — Moira Macdonald
“The Art of Self-Defense” (R; 104 minutes): In Riley Stearns’ wobbly sort-of satire, Jesse Eisenberg plays a milquetoast Everyman, scared of the shadow he is almost too insubstantial to cast. After he is beaten up by marauding motorcyclists, he falls under the sway of a local sensei (Alessandro Nivola), whose soft baritone and hypermasculine message have a transformative effect on him. (The New York Times does not provide star ratings with reviews.) Full review. Multiple theaters. — A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“Diamantino” (not rated, for mature audiences; 96 minutes): Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt’s new film is the funniest gender-bending, human-cloning, refugee-crisis soccer comedy I’ve ever seen, and also the most thoughtful. Carloto Cotta plays the simple-minded soccer star at the center of all this uneven, unforgettable lunacy. (The Los Angeles Times does not provide star ratings with reviews.) In Portuguese, with English subtitles. SIFF Cinema Uptown. — Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
“In the Aisles” (not rated, for mature audiences; 125 minutes): This German shaggy-dog tale mostly takes place in an anonymous megastore where a taciturn stock handler (Franz Rogowski) meets a sunny fellow employee (Sandra Hüller) drawn to his reserved demeanor. Suddenly, he’s “forklifting like a lunatic” because he’s in love. But she’s married. Nothing in the film is straightforwardly resolved. Imagine an Aki Kaurismaki film with less humor and a slower pace. (The New York Times does not provide star ratings with reviews.) In German, with English subtitles. Grand Illusion, through July 26. — Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times
“For All Mankind” (80 minutes): To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing, Al Reinert’s 1989 documentary on the Apollo moon missions is being shown at the SIFF Film Center Friday through Sunday, July 19-21.