It isn't so much the beatings that make 12 Years A Slave hard to watch-- they will, in any case, not appall the moviegoers who have made the Saw and Hostel franchises profitable, and there are only a few of them-- it's the endless pitilessness of the white characters' attitudes toward the black characters, their utter inability to recognize them as human beings.
For whatever reason this time of year seems particularly sparse when it comes to screenings, so I usually take this time to talk about movies about food and family. Thanksgiving movies. And I guess this time I’ll still talk about movies that are kind of about food, but they’re coming from a very different place.
The Spectacular Now was written by the screenwriters of 500 Days of Summer, and director James Pensoldt apparently respected their efforts, because The Spectacular Now is very nearly as great as 500 Days of Summer-- maybe just as great, because what it lacks in not having Zooey Deschanel it gains in having Shailene Woodley, whose final close-up does with facial expression more than I can imagine any other current performer doing.