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LILY RABE SCORES TOP HONORS AS ‘MISS STEVENS’

Miss Stevens is a small-scale but entertaining film that’s worth seeing for an incandescent performance by its star, Lily Rabe (the daughter of playwright David Rabe and the late Jill Clayburgh). Rabe is hardly a newcomer, having amassed a string of television and stage credits, but this leading role as a dedicated high-school teacher gives her a rare moment of her own in the spotlight.

Miss Stevens is a high-school English teacher in her late 20s who agrees to take three talented students on a weekend field trip to an acting competition. The kids try to learn more about her over the course of their road trip and cross some dicey boundaries. The younger actors (Timothée Chalamet, Lili Reinhart, and Anthony Quintal) are all good but it’s Rabe’s incredibly expressive face and body language—her behavioral approach to the character, who is fraught with uncertainties—that make the film so rewarding to watch.

Lily Rabe-Miss Stevens

(Photo Courtesy of The Orchard)

Written by director Julia Hart and Jordan Horowitz, Miss Stevens feels like a satisfying one-act play: not terribly deep but enjoyable on its own modest terms. It’s no surprise that Lily Rabe won the Best Actress Award at this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival.

Miss Stevens opens in New York and Los Angeles today, Friday, September 16 and will be available on VOD beginning September 20.

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at leonardmaltin.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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