The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Mistress America, We Come As Friends, Grandma, The Second Mother: August’s Essential Movies

This month, Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig reunite, Lily Tomlin reclaims the big screen and a Brazilian film about class hits the right social notes. Here are this month’s best movie releases.

The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Director: Michelle Heller
Starring: Bel Powley, Kristen Wiig, Alexander Skarsgård, Christopher Meloni, Madeleine Waters

Opens August 7th

Minnie (Bel Powley) is a typical 16-year old, preoccupied with fitting in, finding a boyfriend and keeping her parents out of her life. Only that it’s to so easy. She begins a complex love affair with her mother’s (Kristen Wiig) boyfriend, “the handsomest man in the world,” and beging documenting her sexual exploits. An honest, accomplished movie about female teenage sexual awakening, The Diary of a Teenage Girl is scaldingly mature, authentic picture that is at once genuine, poignant and hilarious.



Mistress America

Director: Noah Baumbach
Starring: Greta Gerwig, Lola Kirke

Opens August 14th

Identity, growing up and self-discovery are familiar themes to Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig, that the two have have tackled in previous projects (Frances Ha and While We Were Young). With Mistress America, urban coming-of-age is once again at the center of the proceedings in this generational comedy, which stars Lola Kirke as a disillusioned college freshman who is taken under the wing of her soon-to-be stepsister (Greta Gerwig), an assertive Manhattanite that’s as self-assured as much as she is stubborn and magnetic. The movie is delightfully zany, sufficiently relatable to be approachable, and terminally funny.



We Come As Friends

Director: Hubert Sauper

Opens August 14th

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Hubert Sauper is returning to theaters with this hard-hitting documentary about the aftermath following South Sudan’s claim of independence from North Sudan in 2011. Winner of the Special Jury Prize (World Documentary Category) at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, We Come As Friends explores the after-effects of South Sudan’s independence in ways that are both tragic, touching and, ultimately, universally important.




Director: Paul Weitz
Starring: Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Judy Greer, Laverne Cox, Sam Elliott

Opens August 21st

Lily Tomlin reaches for gold in this exuberant, edgy comedy by director Paul Weitz. Tomlin plays Elle – an aging academic and celebrated poet – who receives an unexpected visit by her granddaughter with an emergency that requires immediate money. Wanting to help but strapped for cash, she embarks on a captivating adventure with granddaughter in tow that takes off in delightful, dynamic ways. A funny, perceptive movie about loss, relationships and stepping up for your loved ones with a winning turn by Tomlin.



The Second Mother

Director: Anna Muylaert
Starring: Regina Casé, Michel Joelsas, Camila Márdila, Karine Teles, Lourenço Mutarelli

Opens August 28th

Brazilian filmmaker Anna Muylaert paints a perceptive picture of class disparity in this socially conscious odyssey about family disfunction, loneliness and social equality, that tells the story about Val, is a live-in caretaker for a wealthy family, who has been looking after the owner’s daughter for over 13 years. When the rel mother returns and moves in with them, class barriers begin collapsing and what ensues is a poignant study on social acceptance delivered by affecting performances.


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