In both real life and fictional narratives, there is always a turning point in the story, a catalytic moment when everything begins to change. Whatever happens going forward can be traced back to that initial event, and it is there that the best (and worst) stories begin. While this month’s women-centric films and webseries may not seem to have much in common with one another, they all begin at the same place: the moment when everything changed.
Our two film selections, “Every Secret Thing” and “Ride,” rest on opposite ends of the spectrum — one a cryptic crime drama, the other a comedy about family and self-discovery. Both follow women on the verge of breakthroughs and unexpected change, but that is where their similarities end. On the webseries front, we follow a couple on the verge of true love in “First” and a desperate millenial on the job hunt in “Uninspired.” First love is perhaps the most universal of stories, but the first time being fired is certainly relatable for everyone, too.
Our new and notable picks for women-centric streaming content are all available now.
“Every Secret Thing” has debuted to mixed reviews, but with critical praise for the taut storytelling and narrative thrills. Written by Nicole Holofcener and directed by Amy Berg, the film follows the story of a detective, played by a sharply focused Elizabeth Banks, who must come to terms with her failure to save a child years ago while trying desperately to save another. The suspects? Two young girls, played with cunning by Dakota Fanning and Danielle Macdonald, convicted for the original crime, now out on parole and suspected of the new one. Psychologically complex and morally haunting, “Every Secret Thing” received a limited theatrical release and a simultaneous VOD release.
Helen Hunt takes the helm, writing and directing herself in “Ride.” It’s a mixture of family drama and self-reinvention that lends itself well to laughs and heartfelt moments. Hunt plays a power career woman, a little too obsessed with her freshly dropped-out-of-college son for either of their good. When he leaves their native New York to take up surfing and discover himself in LA, she follows, planning on convincing him to do the sensible thing. Instead, her life gets turned upside down with the help of a surf instructor (played by Luke Wilson, with all the requisite charm).
It’s only been three months since “First” debuted on YouTube, but the show has fast become one of the sweetest and most compelling series on the web. Created and written by star Jahmela Biggs, the show follows childhood best friends Robin and Charles as they fall in love “one first at a time.” Each webisode hones in on a relatable and sometimes cringe-worthy “first” for the new couple, be it their first date, their first “talk” or their first awkward moment. Not only is the writing sharp and the premise exciting, but the chemistry between Biggs and her co-star Will Catlett is simply undeniable.
The first episode of “Uninspired” opens on the kind of phone call most of us know well. Our protagonist, played by series writer Becky Yamamoto, is told by a voice on the other end of the line that she’s just been laid off. Freshly fired from her dead-end job, this thirtysomething falls into a life of uncertainty, one she hasn’t ever really known before. Relatable, hilarious and oftentimes tender, this show has earned well-deserved praise since its premiere back in 2013 (most notably at last year’s New York Television Festival). No word on a second season, but the first season is up on YouTube for your binging pleasure.