10 Must-See Movies at the 2016 New York Film Festival

The titles we recommend seeking out – either at the festival, or at your local art house in the months to come.

The Rehearsal

Director Alison Maclean (Jesus’ Son) immerses us in a year-long intensive acting conservatory program (the kind of school where students tell people who live nearby that they’re studying at “The Institute,” and don’t have to say more), telling most of her story through the eyes of Stanley (James Rolleston), a sweet, naïve country kid who learns quick. He finds a girlfriend outside the program, whose family is embroiled in a local controversy, and the way Maclean intersects these storylines is surprising, and surprisingly effective. It falls apart a bit in the third act and it’s got one of those endings that plays better in theory than execution, but it gets a lot right about these programs – the particular discomfort of those acting exercises, the dysfunctional family dynamics that can take root in these small cohorts, and the way little romances not only happen, but seem inevitable. And she gets many of the details of young romance just right as well, resulting in a keenly observed and sensitively acted little drama.