The Critics
September 20, 2021 Issue
How the Real Jane Roe Shaped the Abortion Wars
The all-too-human plaintiff of Roe v. Wade captured the messy contradictions hidden by a polarizing debate.
By Margaret TalbotSeptember 13, 2021
September 20, 2021 Issue
Reading Dante’s Purgatory While the World Hangs in the Balance
Seven centuries after the poet’s death, we may finally be ready for his epic of punishment and penance.
By Judith ThurmanSeptember 13, 2021
September 20, 2021 Issue
Briefly Noted
“Matrix,” “Damnation Spring,” “Love Lockdown,” and “Freedomville.”
September 13, 2021
September 20, 2021 Issue
Saint Etienne’s Nineties Nostalgia
The band’s new album, “I’ve Been Trying to Tell You,” conjures the complexity of an era often romanticized as one of hope and optimism.
By Hua HsuSeptember 13, 2021
September 20, 2021 Issue
Shades of Beckett in “Pass Over”
The first play to open on Broadway since the shutdown, about two down-and-out young Black men on a barren block, is a strange fit for the moment at hand.
By Vinson CunninghamSeptember 13, 2021
September 20, 2021 Issue
Guilt and Numbness in “The Card Counter”
Paul Schrader’s obsession with sin and redemption is palpable in a film starring Oscar Isaac as a veteran haunted by his experiences in the Iraq War, but against the strong moral backdrop the characters seem adrift.
By Anthony LaneSeptember 10, 2021
September 13, 2021 Issue
The Messy Introspection of Spike Lee’s “NYC Epicenters”
The original cut of the HBO documentary, which featured debunked 9/11 conspiracy theories, would have been a career-defining offense. And yet it may have inadvertently captured our collective psyche.
By Doreen St. FélixSeptember 6, 2021
September 13, 2021 Issue
A Cautionary Tale About Science Raises Uncomfortable Questions About Fiction
Benjamín Labatut’s Sebaldian “When We Cease to Understand the World” grapples with science’s moral quandaries, but what is real and what is imagined?
By Ruth FranklinSeptember 6, 2021
September 13, 2021 Issue
Briefly Noted
“The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois,” “Radiant Fugitives,” “Bolla,” and “Somebody Else Sold the World.”
September 6, 2021
September 13, 2021 Issue
Did Making the Rules of War Better Make the World Worse?
Why efforts to curb the cruelty of military force may have backfired.
By Dexter FilkinsSeptember 6, 2021
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