At The Center: HIFF’s Choices

Every year, HIFF chooses a series of movies deemed “Centerpiece” choices. This year’s entries feature well-known performers like Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Melissa McCarthy, and Richard E. Grant. Interestingly, all three movies are based somewhere in the realm of reality.

First up is Friday’s The Favourite, a period piece featuring an aristocratic struggle in 18th Century France. Lady Sarah (Weisz) really runs the country while the unstable Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) spirals downward, but the symbiotic relationship is threatened when Sarah’s cousin, Abigail (Stone) shows up with a mission to become the Queen’s companion. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster), The Favourite can be seen at Guild Hall on October 5, at 8 PM, or at Bay Street on October 6, at 8:30 PM.

Saturday’s Centerpiece film, the East Coast premiere of First Man, follows a giant leap for mankind as Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle reunites with his La La Land leading man, Gosling, in a look at Neil Armstrong and his involvement in NASA’s astronaut program. Produced by Steven Spielberg and featuring a stellar ensemble cast, First Man can be seen on October 6, at 7:30 PM, at Guild Hall and on Sunday, October 7, at 7:30 PM at Southampton SH1.

Finally, Sunday brings Can You Ever Forgive Me?, the East Coast premiere about real-life biographer Lee Israel, who, when faced with an impasse in her successful writing career in the 1980s, began to forge historical letters and sell them on the black market. McCarthy stars; the film is directed by Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl). Showtimes are on Sunday, October 7, at 5 PM, at Guild Hall and on Monday, October 8, 3:45 PM, at Bay Street Theater.

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