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Mr. Movie: 2021 sleepers

Here’s another batch of movies from last year that didn’t get much play, but which I liked and think are worth a look. On completing this article, I realized for the first time that all but one of them are documentaries!


It started when a group of teenage soccer players and their coach decided to explore a cave in Thailand. But a deluge of rain flooded the tunnel and prevented their exit. Divers located the boys on a raised rock platform two and a half miles from the entrance. Various methods were suggested. Finally, it was decided to send divers to swim the boys out one at a time. Two divers died during the rescue effort, but somehow all of the boys and the coach were rescued. This documentary, The Rescue, covers the true story very well.


You can always count on Spanish director Pedro Almodovar (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Volver, Talk to Her) for an off-beat, entertaining film. And he doesn’t disappoint in Parallel Mothers. Almodovar’s muse, the beautiful Penelope Cruz, stars as Janis, who shares a hospital room with Ana, and both deliver babies the same day. After DNA tests later, Janis discovers that a switch was inadvertently made. Ana reveals to Janis that her baby has died. Janis struggles with what to do, as she realizes the baby she has at home is Ana’s child.


After discovering that his grandparents had been murdered by the Nazis in a concentration camp, Austrian Luke Holland interviewed over 300 Germans who lived through World War II. Final Account is the documentary account of those interviews, which include everyone from Jewish survivors to SS members. The results are both revealing and chilling. Mr. Holland died shortly after completing this disturbing film.


You won’t see many animated documentaries, but Flee is one of them and it’s a good one. Amin is a talented gay man who has escaped from Afghanistan. His journey to Denmark, his eventual home, is fraught with peril and missteps. He is shipped from country to country, always looking over his shoulder as a refugee with no papers. He eventually finds most of his scattered family, none of which are in Denmark. The fate of his father, imprisoned in Afghanistan, is never discovered.


She rose from being the only female in a very chauvinistic French cooking school to become an internationally celebrated chef and the author of several books on French cooking. Julia is the documentary about her rise to fame and her travails with colleagues and publishers. The mostly fictional Julie and Julia (2009) is frankly more entertaining, though both of these are very good films.


All of the movies in this article are available on DVD. Julia and The Rescue are fine for kids. The rest are for adults.