New Movies to Watch This Week: ‘The Social Dilemma,’ ‘Unpregnant,’ ‘The Broken Hearts Gallery’

New Movies to Watch This Week: ‘The Social Dilemma,’ ‘Unpregnant,’ ‘The Broken Hearts Gallery’
Tristan Harris, Roger McNamee standing in front of a building © Courtesy of Sundance Institute

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Audiences’ choices are limited as movie theaters in additional markets reopen this weekend, with only one new studio release, “The Broken Hearts Gallery,” joining high-profile holdovers “Tenet,” “The New Mutants” and “Unhinged” on megaplex marquees.

Meanwhile, limited releases are getting better exposure than usual, as indies and docs (such as “All In: The Fight for Democracy” about voter disenfranchisement and Stacey Abrams’ recent non-election) grab screens that might normally be crowded by blockbusters.

Streaming services HBO Max and Netflix are keeping subscribers flush with options, including “Unpregnant,” a comic look at a serious subject (minors traveling out of state to terminate a pregnancy) also addressed in indie breakout “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” earlier this year. For those worried about what all that screen time is doing to their heads, Netflix serves up eye-opening doc “The Social Dilemma,” one of the better-reviewed films out of Sundance.

Here’s a rundown of those films opening this week that Variety has covered, along with links to where you can watch them. Find more movies and TV shows to stream here.

New Releases in Theaters

The Broken Hearts Gallery (Natalie Krinsky)

Distributor: TriStar Pictures

Where to Find It: Available exclusively in theaters

Lucy (Geraldine Viswanathan) is a soulfully flip 26-year-old New York art gallery assistant with a problem. She’s so invested in her romantic relationships that each time one of them ends, she holds onto the mementos from it. She’s a hoarder of lost-love nostalgia. Krinsky has a witty and spirited commercial voice. Watching the film, you know you’re seeing an unabashed spawn of “Girls” and “Sex and the City,” a kind of anthropological Williamsburg careerist rom-com set, in this case, in a woke wonderland of post-feminist awareness. — Owen Gleiberman

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All In: The Fight for Democracy (Liz Garbus, Lisa Cortés)

Distributor: Gravitas Ventures

Where to Find It: Available exclusively in theaters; coming to Prime Video on Sep. 18

This documentary has been constructed around the 2018 race for governor in Georgia, where the Democrat, Stacey Abrams, who would have been the first African American woman elected governor in the U.S., lost by a thin margin to Brian Kemp, the Republican Secretary of State. But Kemp wasn’t just running for office. He was overseeing the election. “All In” uses what went on in Georgia as a prototype for what could happen in the upcoming presidential election. One of the film’s overwhelming themes is that voter suppression works. — Owen Gleiberman

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Exclusive to HBO Max

Unpregnant (Rachel Lee Goldenberg)

Where to Find It: HBO Max

For the first time in her high school career, 17-year-old valedictorian Veronica (Haley Lu Richardson) has flunked a test. That blue positive sign means she’s pregnant, and now she wants a redo. To obtain an abortion without her conservative parents’ permission, she must make a 2,000-mile drive in 48 hours. “Unpregnant” isn’t interested in the will-she-or-won’t-she drama of second-guessing Veronica’s resolve. By scuttling the moral debate, Goldenberg gives her leads time to charm each other — and the audience. — Amy Nicholson

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New Releases on Demand and in Select Theaters

Buoyancy (Rodd Rathjen)

Distributor: Kino Lorber

Where to Find It: Select a virtual cinema to support

The sobering statistic that closes Rathjen’s impressive debut informs us that currently around 200,000 boys and men are believed to be essentially enslaved to the Thai fishing industry. That number is staggering, and that Rathjen was inspired by the accounts of real-life survivors gives the film its raw authenticity, forceful pacing and moral clarity. But this macro-mosaic effect also contributes to a certain blankness, as though in doing justice to the stories of thousands, Rathjen has somewhat undersold the personal story of its single protagonist. — Jessica Kiang

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I Am Woman (Unjoo Moon)

Distributor: Quiver Distribution

Where to Find It: Available in theaters and on demand, including Amazon

A bit of a letdown, Moon’s first narrative feature, with a screenplay by Emma Jensen (whose prior one for “Mary Shelley” reduced another interesting creative life to familiar tropes), has fair look-alike Tilda Cobham-Hervey as expat Aussie singer Helen Reddy, often dubbed by fair sound-alike Chelsea Cullen. They do competent work, as do the design team tasked with re-creating a roughly quarter-century span on modest means. But this pedestrian biopic doesn’t really convey the distinctiveness of Reddy’s appeal, let alone package it in a way likely to trigger a significant revival of interest in a major star largely forgotten now. — Dennis Harvey

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Sibyl (Justine Triet)

Distributor: Music Box Films

Where to Find It: In select theaters, or the virtual cinema of your choice

How often do we see a movie psychotherapist who’s actually good at their job? Genre film is peppered with on-screen couch doctors whose unorthodox methods or blatant non-professionalism keep the story rolling. Played with smart, subtle verve by Virginie Efira, the title character in Justine Triet’s “Sibyl” is a notable addition to the cracked-shrink club, and the fact that she’s cribbing her clients’ confessions for the lurid novel she’s writing is only the start of it: Triet’s chic, blackly comic psychodrama piles up bad decisions, admiring the teetering spectacle of its chaos as it goes.  — Guy Lodge

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Exclusive to Netflix

The Babysitter: Killer Queen (McG)

Where to Find It: Netflix

History repeats itself with a sequel from whose screenplay writer Brian Duffield is pointedly absent, and the charms of the predecessor once again get lost amidst bombast, witlessness and self-referentiality. As this dud piñata dumps its contents of over-the-top gore and lowbrow humor, fans of the original will no doubt tune expecting more high-grade guilty-pleasure fun, only to get way too much of a no-longer-very-good thing instead. The any-dumb-idea-that-occurs-to-us-makes-final-cut approach can be liberating when at least some of your jokes land. But here they almost never do. — Dennis Harvey

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The Social Dilemma (Jeff Orlowski) CRITIC’S PICK

Where to Find It: Netflix

Many a personal device will be at least temporarily darkened by “The Social Dilemma” — though whether it’s already too late to stem, mid-course, the societal disaster the film charts is just one of many questions it raises. This potent documentary lends a podium to various experts who are certain the pervasive influence of under-regulated social media is destroying civilization from within. The problem, to paraphrase Mark Twain, is that it’s much easier to manipulate people than to persuade them they’re being manipulated. It’s a thesis that doesn’t seem so improbable after 93 minutes of this densely packed yet lively and entertaining documentary. — Dennis Harvey

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