In Old Joy writer-director Kelly Reichardt’s ensemble drama, small-town women face existential upheaval. Kristen Stewart plays a night-school teacher courted by a young ranch hand; Michelle Williams portrays a homemaker with a construction-related marriage crisis; and Laura Dern is a lawyer negotiating a hostage situation — all backdropped by rural Montana’s harsh majesty.
Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures
Controversial for blurring boundaries between porn and fine art, Mapplethorpe’s photographs of gay sadomasochism and phallic portraiture triggered a culture war. This documentary (set to air on HBO) paints the artist as a revolutionary.
Swiss Army Man
Paul Dano is Hank, a modern-day Robinson Crusoe, and Daniel Radcliffe plays the dead guy who washes ashore on Hank’s desert island, providing an unexpected lifeline. The two “friends” embark on an epic adventure to reunite Hank with the woman of his dreams.
Twenty years after his Grand Jury prizewinner Welcome to the Dollhouse, writer-director Todd Solondz returns to Sundance with this dark-comedy roundelay starring Greta Gerwig, Julie Delpy, and Ellen Burstyn about a dachshund and its effect on those who come into contact with it.
The Girlfriend Experience
The festival is debuting four episodes of this upcoming Starz show, inspired by the 2009 Steven Soderbergh film of the same name. Riley Keough plays a law student who provides men with “the girlfriend experience” for money.
Michael Jackson's Journey From Motown to Off the Wall
Spike Lee directed this celebratory doc that eschews the usual post-Thriller tabloid scandals and instead focuses on the first half of Jackson’s career.
Nick Jonas (yes, that Nick Jonas) stars in this brutal drama about a pair of brothers swept up in the tribal hazing rites of a college fraternity initiation.
Love & Friendship
Set in 18th-century England, the latest offering from director Whit Stillman (Metropolitan) stars Kate Beckinsale as a widow set on making a match for her daughter, and herself.
This doc details the struggles, and successes, of onetime New Orleans Saints defensive back Steve Gleason, who was diagnosed with ALS at age 34 and given two to five years to live.
Viggo Mortensen stars as a husband and father of six children living off the grid in the Pacific Northwest in writer-director Matt Ross’ follow-up to 28 Hotel Rooms.
Arguably the most timely festival film this year, this doc examines the emotional fallout of the mass shootings at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 that took the lives of 20 children and six adults. It poses urgent questions about dealing with grief and grapples with the national debate over gun control.
Tusk collaborators Johnny Depp and writer-director Kevin Smith reteam for another Canada-set horror comedy. But the film stars each man’s daughter: Lily-Rose Depp and Harley Quinn Smith.