Reel-View Ratings: The Bigger The Beard, The Better The Movie



Glamorous Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett, stunning as always) meets shy Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) at a Manhattan department store just before Christmas in 1950, and the two women begin a repressed love affair in which longing glances are traded more frequently than kisses. Things move slowly, languidly, with only occasional bursts of brief passion that recede quickly, like waves caressing the shore. This kind of smoldering could be mistaken for dragging — it’s not. Carol moves at precisely the speed it should. While Blanchett has been getting the more vocal accolades, the real star is Mara, who exercises measured restraint in the face of overpowering emotion.

Opens Dec. 25 at Kahala Theatre


To discuss The Danish Girl without acknowledging the politics that surround the film’s very existence is impossible. Eddie Redmayne blossoms like the most fragile of daylilies as the transgendered Danish painter Einar Wegener, who rediscovered herself as Lili Elbe with the support of her loyal wife, Gerda (Alicia Vikander), and underwent one of the world’s first gender-reassignment surgeries. Redmayne is pretty and pale and, well, boring. It’s beautiful to behold, but The Danish Girl is as politically correct and shallow as a film like this can be. Little here is groundbreaking and fresh. The braver role might well be Vikander’s, as the woman who had to navigate her husband’s transformation.

Opens Dec. 25 at Kahala Theatre



This minimalistic Jordanian film seems to be a run-of-the-mill coming-of-age tale, at first glance. Young Theeb follows his brother Hussein on a routine escort to a well in the desert. It’s easy stuff for Bedouin guides. But this is in the midst of World War I, and things quickly get bloody, leaving Theeb to fend for himself. The remarkable quality of this film is in how Theeb’s individual struggles fits into the broader context of Jordan — times change, cultures adapt and the world moves on in subtle ways around this one struggling boy. Those larger events swirl on the edges of the film, never overt but always present if you look for it.

Plays at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 27 and 1 p.m. Jan. 2 at Doris Duke Theatre