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A scene from "Belle." Photo by Image 2013 Fox Searchlight Pictures

WATCH LIST: May 2014

By Observer Staff

Belle
DIRECTED BY AMMA ASANTE, STARRING GUGU MBATHA-RAW, MATTHEW GOODE AND SARAH GADON (Fox Searchlight Pictures)


The illegitimate daughter of a British admiral and a Caribbean slave, Belle is raised by aristocratic relations in England, but her biracial heritage leaves her in a social limbo. With the help of a progressive vicar’s son, she tries to persuade her great-uncle, a chief justice, to make the right decision on a major slave-trading case. May 2

Age of Ambition:
Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China

BY EVAN OSNOS
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Drawing on years of on-the-ground experience, the New Yorker’s Beijing correspondent Evan Osnos offers a perceptive take on China’s current cultural revolution and the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party’s controlling ethos. In the tension between aspiration and authoritarianism, the book asks, where are ordinary Chinese people finding meaning? May 13

Convictions:
How I Learned What Matters Most
BY MARCUS J. BORG (HarperOne)


As he turns 70, New Testament scholar Marcus J. Borg shares his convictions about faith in the 21st century, looking back on the people and ideas that have shaped his life’s work. By rejecting divisiveness and embracing transformation, American Christians can rediscover what matters most, he argues. Borg’s previous books include Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time and The Heart of Christianity. May 20

The Grand Seduction
DIRECTED BY DON MCKELLAR, STARRING BRENDAN GLEESON, TAYLOR KITSCH AND GORDON PINSENT (Morag Loves Company Inc.)


A struggling seaside village in Newfoundland is thrilled to land a new plastics factory. The only hitch? The contract depends on a resident doctor. When a dodgy cosmetic surgeon is temporarily exiled to the coast, locals turn on the charm, even taking up his favourite sport, cricket. The movie is based on a hit Quebec film from 2003. May 30


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