9 Must-See Movies at Tribeca Festival: Nick Jonas, Chelsea Peretti and More

The Tribeca Festival excised “Film” from its name in 2021, and while it’s true that the annual celebration of all things entertainment has expanded to include plenty of television and immersive programming, the movies make it a must-attend event. This year’s lineup is no exception. It has big-name actors such as Michael Shannon and Jennifer Esposito trying their hand at directing, along with revelatory performances from stars like Nick Jonas. But what makes Tribeca so exciting is that it’s a springboard for bold new voices (keep your eyes on So Young Shelly Yo, making her feature directorial debut). As the fest gets ready to kick off on June 7, here are nine movies not to be missed.  

FIRST TIME FEMALE DIRECTOR  

Chelsea Peretti, who stole scenes as the social media-obsessed assistant on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” slides behind the camera for this comedy about a writer who is forced to take over a production of her latest play after her male predecessor is fired for inappropriate behavior. Peretti doesn’t just direct the movie — she also wrote, produced and stars in it.  

THE GOOD HALF  

The buzz is that Nick Jonas reminds viewers that he’s a compelling actor when not selling out arenas. In “The Good Half,” he plays a man who travels home to Cleveland for his mother’s funeral. There, friends, family members and a hoarder priest help him come to terms with his past. The film, which is directed by Robert Schwartzman, is one of the hotter titles looking for distribution.  

ERIC LARUE

Michael Shannon makes his directorial debut with this drama about Janice, a woman whose son murders three high school classmates. Judy Greer gives a standout performance as the emotionally shattered mother. Given the relentless number of school shootings and violence, it’s a story that sounds all too relevant.  

FRESH KILLS  

Jennifer Esposito wrote, directed, produced and stars in this mean-streets saga, which examines mob life from the perspective of the women behind the gangsters. Set on Staten Island in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the movie chronicles three female members of the (extended) Larusso crime family after their world is turned upside down. Think Scorsese with a feminist twist.  

ROCK HUDSON: ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWED  

He was one of the biggest stars in the world, a heartthrob who seemed the embodiment of all-American heterosexuality. But Rock Hudson was secretly gay. This documentary from Stephen Kijak examines the chasm between public image and private man, and also explores an important chapter of Hollywood’s LGBTQ history.  

SONGS ABOUT FUCKING  

“Songs About Fucking” is one of the feel-great films of the festival. It’s the story of Marc Rebillet, a musician who went viral thanks to his hilarious lyrics, then parlayed that into studio albums and a passionate following. Filmmaker James Gallagher gives audiences a taste of what makes Rebillet a high-wire performer, following him on a sold-out tour in which no two concerts are the same.  

THE PERFECT FIND  

Numa Perrier follows her 2019 feature debut “Jezebel” with this rom-com about a fashion editor (Gabrielle Union) who makes the leap to a digital magazine. Problems ensue when she falls for Eric (Keith Powers), who is the son of her boss and frenemy. This meet-cute is based on Tia Williams’ award-winning novel.  

HAPPY CLOTHES: A FILM ABOUT PATRICIA FIELD  

From Carrie Bradshaw’s opening-credits tutu (the one that gets splashed by a passing bus) in “Sex and the City” to the head-to-toe Chanel that completes Anne Hathaway’s metamorphosis in “The Devil Wears Prada,” Patricia Field has crafted some of the screen’s most memorable fashion moments. This documentary is an intimate look at the legendary costume designer. 

SMOKING TIGERS  

This coming-of-age story follows a 16-year-old girl who is torn between her wealthy friends and her low-income family life. It’s the feature directorial debut of So Young Shelly Yo, who received a $1 million grant from Tribeca and AT&T to finish producing her film.  

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