Cassie lost her very best friend (and only true soulmate) to suicide. Why? A violent and repeated rape seriously traumatized Nina and she couldn't go on. And, no one listened. No one saw the rape as rape and no one blamed the rapist. It makes sense, doesn't it, that Cassie can now think of nothing else but getting revenge for Nina's rape and death? Yes, Cassie, in Emerald Fennell’s brilliantly disturbing and evocative Promising Young Woman, shows us just where trauma-driven obsession takes you. It’s not pretty or healing. In fact, Cassie's obsession is another kind of suicide. Here’s why...

Forgiveness is overrated. Understanding is not. And, there’s much to understand in Jennifer Kent’s riveting, violently troubling, and powerful new film, The Nightingale; about trauma, PTSD, unbearable grief, and the sometimes unimaginable sources of empathy. No, no one should ever be expected to forgive their abusers. “Forgiveness” for sadistic cruelty isn’t healing. What helps is for the most horrific kind of terror, pain, and loss to be truly understood in the eyes of another. This is exactly what The Nightingale shows us through Kent’s vision and in the parallel stories of Clare and Billy, a young Irish White woman and...

Trauma. We know it. We experience it. We're left with its aftermath - when Director Paul Verhoeven's "noir thriller," Elle, careens to its conclusion. Leaving the theater, my mind was spinning.  As Verhoeven says, the film has: "an enormous amount of ambiguity, gaps that are in the narrative on purpose for the audience to fill in.” He didn’t want to fill them in: “in a Freudian way.” As far as I'm concerned, the film is much too disturbing to be left without an understanding of exactly what transpired on the screen. That’s what I’m here to do. Elle begins with a brutal rape....