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Newsweek’s staff picks its favorite movies, books and music from 2016. All the best to you and yours—and your Spotify playlist

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MOVIES

The Edge of Seventeen

High school sucks. This movie doesn’t. The Edge of Seventeen is about outcasts, by outcasts, for outcasts. Newcomer director Kelly Fremon Craig wrote the sharp script about a brainy, alienated 11th grader whose life spirals into despair after her best friend hooks up with her brother. Edge of Seventeen crackles with that sense of irredeemable humiliation that is the high school experience, and it has a lot to say about the real crisis of teen depression without slipping into mawkishness. —Zach Schonfeld

Love & Friendship

It’s been a dark year for women, what with America electing a president whose flirtation style consists of grabbing pussies, but in Love & Friendship, writer-director Whit Stillman serves up a precious little antidote to swaggering oafishness. In this 18th-century period drama based on one of Jane Austen’s lesser-known works, Kate Beckinsale plays the gorgeous and subversive Lady Susan Vernon, a lively widow running out of funds and seeking suitable, rich husbands for herself and her daughter. While manipulating everyone around her and getting what she wants, Lady Susan is always the smartest woman in the room, but as she puts it, she’s too romantic to be satisfied by just money. The dialogue delights the ear and mind, there are lots of laughs, and the spirit of Lady Susan is balm for the female soul. That apparently is what Stillman intended. “I’m a pleasure seeker, and I want people to have 90 minutes of pleasure, not pain,” he said recently. “To have a positive, interesting world, cheerful in some way—I like that.” So do we. —Nina Burleigh

Hell or High Water

I admit was drawn to director David Mackenzie’s Hell or High Water because it stars Chris Pine, who plays Captain Kirk in the Star Trek reboots. Pine is terrific as a small-time bank robber who’s the opposite of Kirk: Rather than being in command, he’s knocked about by events he can’t control. Ben Foster plays his brother and partner in crime, and their relationship is one of the highlights of this engaging film. The other is the laconic Texas Ranger who’s pursuing them, played wonderfully by Jeff Bridges. If you liked No Country for Old Men, don’t miss this one. —Paul Raeburn

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About Newsweek International

Henry Orenstein fought adversity throughout his life, however, he saw the potential in a Toy that others didn't. Not only did Transform from vehicle to robot, they also transformed Henry's life. Read inside the full story, there is more than meets the eye...
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