Capsule reviews for Aug. 16

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

There’s a hint of redemption in this evocative, character-driven Western from director David Lowery — set during the early 1970s — about Bob (Casey Affleck) and Ruth (Rooney Mara), who are separated when Bob is taken to prison after committing a crime, while Ruth is freed along with the couple’s infant daughter. When Ruth is taken to a town in the Texas Hill Country, Bob seeks her out while bring tracked by a cop (Ben Foster) and other outlaws with sinister motives. With a script that gradually reveals secrets, the well-acted film is rich in visual texture and subtle details, and its deliberate pace rewards viewer patience. (Rated R, 96 minutes).

 

Austenland

Creepy obsession is celebrated in this wafer-thin romantic comedy about Jane (Keri Russell), a single woman whose Jane Austen fandom might be blocking her real-life road to romance. So she decides to visit an Austen theme park in England, where she flirts with actors who start to blur the lines between fantasy and reality. The film would have been better off as an edgier satire of Austen aficionados, but instead it seems catered more to those at which it pokes fun. There are a few broad laughs, yet it’s generally lacking the wit and charm that Austen herself likely would have brought to the same material. (Rated PG-13, 97 minutes).

 

The Patience Stone

The plight of oppressed women and children living under the Taliban regime is explored in this slow but powerful drama about a widow (Golshifteh Farahani) in war-torn Kabul who is in denial about her husband’s death from a stray bullet wound, forcing her to care for her two young daughters under desperate circumstances. The evocative film takes a unique cultural and spiritual perspective toward the grieving process, yet in adapting his own acclaimed novel for the big screen, Afghan director Atiq Rahimi (Earth and Ashes) stumbles in his attempt to liberate the introspective monologues from the printed page. Still, Farahani’s central performance radiates with authenticity. (Rated R, 102 minutes).

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