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Marsha on the Move: 2023 Oscars Edition

When Business Council of Westchester President Marsha Gordon is not advocating for businesses in the County, she can be found at the cinema or theater. Her “Marsha on the Move” column appears monthly in ArtsNews.

[Editor’s Note: For this month’s column, with the 2023 Academy Awards coming up, we pulled together all of Marsha’s reviews of Best Picture nominees. These reviews are those of the writer, and don’t speak to the opinions of ArtsNews or ArtsWestchester.]



Top Gun: Maverick

Loved the edge-of-the-seat action in this movie, and Tom Cruise’s preamble that thanked the audience for coming to the movies and explained that all the planes were authentic. This flying movie really did fly by. The movie was truly exciting, with an interesting insight into the lives of these brave pilots. Even though it was unclear exactly who they were fighting, it didn’t matter. We just wanted them to win and survive this almost impossible mission (oops, another Tom Cruise movie!).

They add in some complicated emotions, friendships and romance to add the necessary humanity. But this movie is all about the bravery, sheer skill, guts and courage. Finally, the film has magnificent music. All you need to know is that Lady Gaga was one of the writers. It was divine to be sitting in front of the big screen again, indulging in a film just to be entertained.


Women Talking

This film is based on communities in which children and women are regularly raped and abused in the most awful ways, where they have absolutely no rights for any personal decision-making, and where they live in constant fear and have servile roles.  It is based in reality, but with fictional next steps that guide the viewer to imagine what their options are.

The title of the movie is exactly the movie itself: women talking.  These women’s time together is tough, but there are great moments of love, friendship, courage and even laughter. They have a beautiful togetherness and the ugly reality is that this society exists in our country that is based on freedoms. The movie is very worth seeing.


Everything Everywhere All at Once

This is a bizarre film… With that said, it is a fascinating piece of filmmaking – a fast-paced movie with so many different views, costumes, environments and tones…all coming at the viewer in a quickly changing and chaotic way. Though I’ve never done this, I would imagine it’s what a psychedelic trip would be like.

I can’t even fathom how all who creatively deliver this film could even think of all elements it delivers.  (For those who have seen the film, they’ll understand that I will never look at an everything bagel in the same way.)

All said and done, what is the film about? Quite honestly, I’m not quite sure. But it definitely involves life’s paths, choices and intimate relationships – mother-daughter, husband-wife, father-daughter… It also touches on the immigrant experience and how the reality of living in a different culture can feel disjointed and unclear.

It’s not a movie I would say I “liked” but, if interested, it’s worth seeing for the sake of having a different movie-watching experience. Whether I would give a thumbs up or thumbs down, it all depends on which multiverse I am in at any particular time.


The Banshees of Inisherin

I often say not to listen to critics who pan movies. Sometimes I love what they pan. Well for this movie, it’s the opposite. This movie got rave reviews: they say it was funny, sentimental, focused on male friendships, looked at the evolution of friendships, had great acting, and was relatable to the pandemic. Well, this is mine: it was depressing without resolution, slow-moving and stagnant, and had flat acting.


The Fabelmans

This is a semi-autographical movie by Steven Spielberg, and in researching his life it appears to be very true to his experience.  For me, this was a period piece about growing up in a Jewish environment in the ‘60s … much of the conversation, culture, and unfortunately even the anti-Semitism, felt familiar.  It certainly showed complicated family dynamics, but also great love, devotion and encouragement.

I especially loved the relationship between the character Sammy and his mother, who is an artist. She understood his artistic talent very early and, despite the father’s scientific and more practical leanings, was an advocate for Sammy’s filmmaking.  It was so interesting to see how, at a young age, Sammy had the ability to see things through film and change people’s perception of others and themselves.

There is sadness in this family, and also fierce love, which shaped Sammy’s views on life and gave us Spielberg the gift of producing films that are part of our culture. While this may not rise to the top of the list of Spielberg’s films, The Fabelmans sheds great light on the director and the environment in which he developed and grew.

Overall: a bit slow at times, but a worthwhile film experience.



I learned many interesting and admirable qualities about Elvis from this movie.  Like so many early rock n’ roll artists, the roots of his music and movements came from the Black culture of that time.  With Elvis, he was from one of the few White families living in a Black community and attending that community’s church. He was a man of very strong morals, and never had a commitment to his roots.  He was defiant and, despite threats of arrests and murder, performed in a way that felt true to himself.  He was devastated by the society of the time.

So how someone like that could be taken in by a “colonel” charlatan (a repulsive no-good phony) somehow just didn’t add up for me. Maybe we have seen Tom Hanks as the good guy too much to really believe him in this despicable role. Austin Butler, who played Elvis, was good… but then again, there are so many Elvis impersonators out there, I suspect they may not very hard to find.

Finally, huge chunks of Elvis’s professional and personal development were left out. We know he met Priscilla when she was a young teenager, and they lived together for years before marriage, yet the film didn’t go into those years. We know he had an iconic appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, which was also not shown.

Overall: for such a long film, it was disappointing that it remained so flat.



The trajectory of this film was so drastically different from my expectations. It turned dark, sinister and boring. It just seemed tp not going anywhere. I love Cate Blanchett, but I’m not feeling all the kudos she has received for this performance. For me, Tár is not only the conductor’s name in the film… it is also dark and flammable, as one definition says.  It is also used to damage others’ reputations. Sad to say that I wasn’t a fan of this one.

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