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The 10 Indie Films You Must See This September

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire September 3, 2013 at 9:57AM

September is about to offer quite the selection to movie-goers (even for those not heading to Toronto this week), with dozens of films on Indiewire's September calendar.
Enough Said

September  is about to offer quite the selection to movie-goers (even for those not heading to Toronto this week), with dozens of films on Indiewire's September calendar.

As an extension of our recent fall movie preview, Indiewire is offering the first of four monthly fall "must-see" lists to make cinematic decision-making over the next 30 days as easy as possible. 

From Nicole Holofencer to J.D. Salinger to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, check out Indiewire's picks for September's 10 best options, and then check out the full September calendar, as there are many worthy films that didn't end up making this list.

1. Enough Said (September 18)
Director: Nicole Holofcener
Cast: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette
Distributor: Fox Searchlight

Why is it a "Must See"? It's been three years since Nicole Holofcener's lovely previous feature "Please Give" (though she's directed episodes of "Parks & Recreation" and "Enlightened" in between), and her latest -- hitting TIFF before a late September release date -- reunites her with Catherine Keener (who has starred in all of her films) alongside Toni Collette, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini in the story of divorced woman (Dreyfus) who learns her new love interest (Gandolfini) is her new friend's ex-husband.

Check out the trailer below:

2. Salinger (September 6)
Director: Shane Salerno
Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, John Cusack, Danny DeVito, John Guare, Martin Sheen, David Milch, Robert Towne, Tom Wolfe, E.L. Doctorow, Gore Vidal, A. Scott Berg, and Elizabeth Frank
Distributor: The Weinstein Company

Why is it a "Must See"? This film has been shrouded in buzz and speculation, just like the famously reclusive author it attempts to capture. The talking head documentary will look at J.D. Salinger's life after he went into seclusion following the publication of "The Catcher in the Rye," the seminal novel that young people everywhere have looked to for a (sometimes grim) philosophy on life. Salinger retreated from the world to a New Hampshire cabin, from which he wrote a tantalizing amount of fiction that he withheld from publication. Salinger passed away in 2010, raising controversy about whether the public would have access to his hidden body of work. The film is said to be filled with secrets and revelations about the author's deeply private life, including the reveal of "the biggest secret of his lifetime."

Check out the trailer below:

3. Don Jon (September 27)
Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johannson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza
Distributor: Relativity Media

Why is it a "Must See"? This Sundance premiere is the directorial debut of one of his generation's most creative voices. Plus, it's features a jacked-up JGL and a Jersey-voiced Scarlett Johansson.

It's got more weight than your average comedy and more depth than your typical romance, but make no mistake: Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut is a romantic comedy. The former child star and heir apparent to the cowl has crafted an atypical pseudo-takedown of the usually formulaic genre. Gordon-Levitt plays Don, a Lothario to the nth degree whose true passion isn't women, but porn. As can be imagined, this gets him in some trouble with less than understanding visitors, including Don's dream girl, Barbara (Johansson). The hard-R comedy has already successfully run the festival circuit, stopping by SXSW and Berlin in addition to its premiere at Sundance.

Check out the trailer below:

4. After Tiller (September 20)
Director: Martha Shane, Lana Wilson
Distributor: Oscilloscope
Why is it a "Must See"? One of the best documentaries to come out of the Sundance Film Festival this year, the very timely "After Tiller" refers to George Tiller, a doctor who performed late-term abortions and was murdered in 2009. The film follows the only four remaining doctors in the United States that perform late-term abortions in the wake of Tiller's death. Incredibly moving and powerful, it marks an impressive feature film debut from Shane and Wilson, and should pretty much be required viewing for anyone on either side of the abortion debate.

Watch the trailer below:

5. C.O.G. (September 20)
Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez
Cast: Jonathan Groff, Denis O'Hare, Casey Wilson, Dean Stockwell, Troian Bellisario, and Corey Stoll
Distributor: Screen Media

Why is it a "Must See"? The first film to ever adapt the work of gay literary icon David Sedaris, Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s “C.O.G.” manages to both do justice to Sedaris' unique voice and sense of humor while giving it a stamp of the director’s own. Based on an essay from Sedaris's 1997 collection "Naked," both the literary and cinematic versions of "C.O.G." detail the experience Sedaris himself (played by the wonderful Jonathan Groff in the film) had when he travelled to rural Oregon to work as an apple picker. Through encounters with a glorious variety of locals, the twentysomething Sedaris came to considerable revelations about his religion ("C.O.G." stands "Child of God," an acronym that one of those said locals proudly self-identifies with) and sexuality. Expanding on those two themes, Alvarez makes good on the promise of his 2009 directorial debut "Easier With Practice," keeping Sedaris fans happy in the process.

Check out the trailer below:

6. Touchy Feely (September 6)
Director: Lynn Shelton
Cast: Rosemarie DeWitt, Ellen Page, Scoot McNairy, Allison Janney, Ron Livingston
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures

Why is it a "Must See"? Lynn Shelton's cross-medium successes in film and television comedy ("Humpday," "New Girl") and drama ("Your Sister's Sister," "Mad Men") have made her one to watch for the foreseeable future.  Premiering at this year's Sundance film festival, "Touchy Feely" tells the story of a massage therapist (Rosemarie DeWitt) suddenly afflicted by a fear of bodily contact just as her brother discovers a hidden talent for it at his dental practice. Jealousy, though, isn't her main or even secondary concern. Her aversion has adverse effects on her love life as well, alienating her partner (Scoot McNairy) and pushing him toward the eager arms of a younger woman (Ellen Page). With her down to earth perspective and realistic shooting style, Shelton looks to have crafted another personal project full of unique human interactions.

Check out the trailer below:

7. Therese (September 27)
Director: Charlie Stratton
Cast: Elizabeth Olsen, Jessica Lange, Oscar Isaac, Tom Felton
Distributor: Roadside Attracions

Why is it a "Must See"? Not to be confused the French imported "Therese" starring Audrey Tatou that was released just a few weeks ago (based on the 1927 novel "Thérèse Desqueyroux"), Charlie Stratton's "Therese" was made in the US and is based on the 1867 novel "Thérèse Raquin." And instead of Andrey Tatou we get Elizabeth Olsen and Jessica Lange. Just picked up by Roadside Attractions ahead of its Toronto premiere in a week or so, the film stars Olsen as the titular Therese, a sexually repressed young woman trapped in a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin, Camille (Tom Felton) by her domineering aunt, Madame Raquin (Jessica Lange). When she meets her husband's childhood friend, Laurent (Oscar Isaac, of “Inside Llewyn Davis”), she embarks on an illicit affair with tragic consequences.

Check out a clip from the film below:

8. Mother of George (September 13)
Director: Andrew Dosunmu
Cast: Danai Gurira, Isaach De Bankolé, Yaya Decosta Alafia, Tony Okungbowa
Distributor: Oscilloscope Laboratories

Why is it a "Must See"?  A moving two-character study from Andrew Dosunmu ("Restless City"), this feature follows Adenike (Danai Gurira) and Ayodele (Isaach De Bankolé), a Nigerian couple living in Brooklyn whose marital bliss is halted by their inability to conceive a child. The problem devastates their family and defies cultural expectations, leaving Adenike to make a shocking decision that could fix everything or destroy her family. Another highlight is the cinematography from the acclaimed Bradford Young, who shot "Ain't Them Bodies Saints."

Watch the film's trailer below:

9. Populaire (September 6)
Director: Régis Roinsard
Cast: Romain Duris, Déborah François, Bérénice Bejo, Shaun Benson
Distributor: The Weinstein Company

Why is it a "Must See"? This French film follows Rose, a young women determined to break free from her stifling life and amount to something other than a housewife. She applies for a job as a secretary at an insurance agency. Her interview is disastrous, but when her boss discovers her skill for typing, he hires her on the condition that she compete in a speed typing tournament. The 1950s era and French and American settings make this film seem like The Weinstein Company's tonal follow-up to the success of "The Artist." The film even features "Artist" star Bérénice Bejo and cinematographer Guillaume Schiffman.

Check out the trailer below:

10. Thanks for Sharing (September 20)
Director: Stuart Blumberg
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim Robbins, Pink, Josh Gad
Distributor: Lionsgate

Why is it a "Must See"? Despite a rather tepid reception at last year's TIFF, Stuart Blumberg's follow-up screenplay to "The Kids Are All Right" features two awards-worthy thespians and looks to take on a topic mired in skepticism with a firm grip on reality. Blumberg's directorial debut doesn't shy away from the sensitive topics the screenwriter in him has come to embrace. The Oscar-nominated scribe behind "The Kids Are All Right" and "Keeping the Faith" takes on sex addiction in "Thanks for Sharing" with the help of Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow, the former a sex addict and the latter his new beau. The two must learn to develop a meaningful relationship while living with Ruffalo's condition. Mixed, year-old reactions aside, "Thanks for Sharing" has enough promise on paper -- and enough likable actors out front -- to earn a second chance come September.

Check out the trailer below:

This article is related to: Lists, Enough Said, Salinger, Don Jon, After Tiller, Populaire, Mother Of George