Back to IndieWire

The 10 Indie Films You Must See This September

The 10 Indie Films You Must See This September

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

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

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

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

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

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:

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Features and tagged , , , , , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox