The Atlantic’s Week in Culture

A roundup of our recent writing on arts and entertainment


Don’t Miss

Little House and the Art of Hiding Your FeelingsEmily Anderson on how Laura Ingalls Wilder’s popular book series championed emotional restraint, an approach she’s come to both question and appreciate in adulthood.



On the Abysmal, Excruciating Independence Day: ResurgenceDavid Sims on how Roland Emmerich’s sequel to his monumental 1996 disaster movie is a lifeless, low-stakes embarrassment to the genre.

The Shallows Is Torture Porn, With a SharkMegan Garber on how the Blake Lively vehicle, the harrowing tale of a surfer stalked by an angry cartilaginous fish, jumps the … yeah.

The Last of the Great Escapist Blockbusters Megan Garber on how Roland Emmerich’s 1996 alien invasion fantasy Independence Day’s supreme silliness was precisely what made it awesome.

Serena Is a Compelling Portrait of GreatnessSophie Gilbert on how a new Epix documentary captures the public face and the private reality of being one of the best athletes of all time.

The Promise of an Actually Fun Justice LeagueDavid Sims on how the director Zack Snyder is making changes to his next superhero film after the overwhelmingly negative reaction to Batman v Superman.

Beautiful Thing Is a Masterpiece of Gay StorytellingBrandon Tensley on how the 1996 British film portrayed its working-class LGBT characters with remarkable sensitivity and nuance.

The Hidden Insights of Ben Affleck’s Viral Armageddon CommentaryDavid Sims on how the actor and director’s cynical accounting of the blockbuster that launched him to fame sheds surprising light on the Hollywood machine.



Orange Is the New Black, Season 4 RecapsSophie Gilbert and Spencer Kornhaber pair off reviewing each episode of the Netflix hit’s latest season.

Any Given Wednesday Is Sports TV Without All the Hot Air David Sims on how Bill Simmons kept things surprisingly cool in the first episode of his new HBO talk show.

Justice for Sansa StarkMegan Garber on how the elusive death that offers both justice and catharsis was, for one Game of Thrones character in particular, finally achieved.

Game of Thrones: To the Reckless Go the SpoilsThree Atlantic staffers discuss “Battle of the Bastards,” the ninth episode of the sixth season.


Ebru Yildiz

Indie Rock’s Recent, Clear-Eyed Take on DepressionSpencer Kornhaber on how excellent new albums from Mitski and Car Seat Headrest describe sadness with precise, piercing insights.

Frank Ocean’s Radically Humane Response to the Orlando ShootingsSpencer Kornhaber on how the R&B star, who has sung about loving a man, draws a line between seemingly very different interpretations of God.


Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

The Paradox of ‘Pretty’Megan Garber on how the new book Face Value: The Hidden Ways Beauty Shapes Women’s Lives takes aim at a culture that tells women they should be beautiful, and that they should never feel beautiful enough.


USA Today Sports / Reuters

The Return of the King Robert O’Connell on how LeBron James has suffered from PR missteps and public criticism alongside his accomplishments on the court, but on Sunday night, he achieved an unequivocal triumph.


Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

The Most Contentious Meal of the DayMegan Garber on how breakfast has long been a source of medical confusion, moral frustration, and political anxiety.