September is the official kickoff for the fall movie season, which is often loaded with prestige films beginning their march toward the Oscars. And 2019 is no different.
This year, September’s varied offerings have something for every taste. Want a delicious tale of revenge and heartbreak? Looking for a space epic starring Brad Pitt? Yearning for a tragicomedy about international corruption and intrigue? Have you been eagerly awaiting Renée Zellweger’s return to the big screen, playing a Hollywood legend? It’s all there.
Here are the seven most noteworthy movies to see this September.
Hustlers (September 13)
Based on a 2015 New York magazine article, Hustlers is the story of a group of strippers who fall on hard times when the recession hits in 2008 and struggle to figure out how to support themselves and their children. Their solution pays big dividends — but it comes with big risks, too. Vibrant, stylish, and substantive, Hustlers is directed by Lorene Scafaria (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World). Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu lead a dynamic cast that includes Lizzo and Cardi B in their onscreen film debuts.
Monos (September 13)
It takes a long time to get your bearings while watching Monos, a story that feels like it could be inspired by Lord of the Flies. A band of fierce young people live alone in a Colombian jungle, conducting training exercises and waiting for directives from some entity called “the Organization,” which remains shadowy throughout the film. With a gritty, jarring cinematic style, Monos is less likable than admirable, an achievement in filmmaking with a clear, apocalyptic vision.
The Goldfinch (September 13)
Based on Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2014 novel, The Goldfinch tells the life story of Theodore Decker (Ansel Elgort), who survives a terrorist attack on the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a boy and, eventually, grows up and gets himself entangled in the world of art forgeries. Jeffrey Wright, Luke Wilson, Nicole Kidman, and Sarah Paulson also star in the film, which is directed by John Crowley (Brooklyn).
Ad Astra (September 20)
Director James Gray’s previous movie was The Lost City of Z, in which Charlie Hunnam played an early-20th-century explorer headed to the farthest reaches of the Amazon. Now Gray has turned his gaze upward for Ad Astra, in which Brad Pitt plays an astronaut who must travel to the outer reaches of space to find his missing father. It’s a vaguely Interstellar-sounding plot, which Gray co-wrote with Ethan Gross, who worked as a writer and story editor on the sci-fi TV series Fringe.
Between Two Ferns (on September 20)
Zach Galifianakis’s silly, surreal interview show Between Two Ferns was a highlight of the comedy website Funny or Die, and now it’s being turned into what sounds like an equally surreal movie. Scott Aukerman (of the podcast Comedy Bang Bang) directs a film about Galifianakis, playing a version of himself, on a road trip to restore his “reputation” after his “public access TV show” — that is, Between Two Ferns — was uploaded to Funny or Die by Will Ferrell.
Judy (September 27)
Renée Zellweger plays Judy Garland in this biopic, which takes place in 1968, the year before Garland died. Thirty years after The Wizard of Oz, after battles with addiction and illness, Garland is in London to perform to sold-out nightclub crowds — and that’s where she meets the man who will become her fifth husband. Judy is based on Peter Quilter’s musical End of the Rainbow, which played in London’s West End and on Broadway in 2012.
The Laundromat (in theaters September 27; on Netflix October 18)
Cinema’s busiest director, Steven Soderbergh, returns with a comedy-drama about the Panama Papers, millions of documents leaked in 2016 that exposed global corruption and tax avoidance. Meryl Streep plays Ellen Martin, a fictional character whose dream vacation goes off the rails when she stumbles across insurance fraud. Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, Jeffrey Wright, Matthias Schoenaerts, James Cromwell, and Sharon Stone also star.