The Atlantic's Week in Culture

A roundup of our recent writing on arts and entertainment

Michael Sohn / AP

Don’t Miss

The Borrowed Words of Ivanka TrumpMegan Garber shows how the “inspirational quotes” of her new book, Women Who Work, function as their own, tidy versions of the alternative fact.

Marvel / Disney


Why Kurt Russell Is Still a One-of-a-Kind Movie StarDavid Sims exalts the actor’s late-career renaissance in films such as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and the Fast & Furious franchise.

Warning: This Drug May Kill You Offers a Close-Up of the Opioid EpidemicSophie Gilbert watches the documentary by Perri Peltz, which looks at four families devastated by addiction to prescription pills.

What Risk Says About Julian AssangeDavid Sims weighs in on the Oscar-winning director Laura Poitras’s latest film about the WikiLeaks founder.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2: Twice Is (Still) the CharmChristopher Orr reviews the Marvel superhero sequel.

The Dinner Is a Stew of Privilege and ResentmentSophie Gilbert bemoans Oren Moverman’s new film, which seethes with toxic envy and moral decay.

Looking Back on the L.A. Riots Through Five DocumentariesVann R. Newkirk explores a glut of imperfect but panoramic new films marking the 25th anniversary of the unrest.



What Went Wrong With 13 Reasons Why?Sophie Gilbert explains why the hit Netflix show is being denounced by educators and experts for the ways in which it tackles suicide.

Sense8 Is Auteur Television That’s Actually FunDavid Sims argues that Season 2 of the indulgent Netflix series stands out amid all the dark, ponderous dramas.

Imitation and Satire at the Not the White House Correspondents’ DinnerMegan Garber attends Samantha Bee’s alternate version of the Washington gala.

The Leftovers: Desert TripSpencer Kornhaber and Sophie Gilbert dissect the third episode of the HBO show’s final season.

The Handmaid’s Tale Treats Guilt as an EpidemicMegan Garber examines the Hulu show’s treatment  of complicity.

Frank Rich on How American Politics Came to Look So Much Like Veep—Sophie Gilbert talks to the executive producer about how the HBO series captured the reality of Washington.

Jimmy Kimmel’s Latest Monologue Gets Personal and PoliticalDavid Sims recounts the late-night host’s moving opening to Monday’s show.

Carrie Fisher’s Perfect Farewell on Catastrophe—Spencer Kornhaber recaps the late actress’s final performance on the Amazon series.

Stephen Colbert’s ‘Apology’David Sims remarks on the late-night host’s controversial joke made at Trump’s expense on Monday.

American Gods Is a Gorgeous MessSophie Gilbert reviews the ambitious and frequently absurd new Starz show, adapted from the 2001 book by Neil Gaiman.

Doug McLean


When Memories Are True Even When They’re NotJoe Fassler chats with the novelist Elizabeth Strout about the powerful way literature can harbor recollection, as part of The Atlantic’s ongoing “By Heart” series.

The (Feminist) Case for Women’s HappinessMegan Garber considers Jill Filipovic’s book The H-Spot, which argues for a de-emphasis on women’s equality—and focuses instead on their fulfillment.

Toby Melville / Reuters


Why Don’t More People Consider Competitive Cheerleading a Sport?Elisabeth Sherman tracks how the rigorous activity, dominated by female athletes, is growing in legitimacy and popularity.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters


End Times at the Met BallAlex Wagner argues that the annual gala was a spectacle of America in the Trump Era, obsessed with hollow celebrity.

Marc Mueller / AP


Nick Cave Is Still Looking for RedemptionJason Heller delves into musician's new compilation album Lovely Creatures, which reveals a longstanding fascination with fables of doom and salvation.

Haim Returns With Old Charm—and New GlossSpencer Kornhaber laments the busy production of the band’s comeback single.

Acconci Studio / MoMA PS1 / Gus Powell


Vito Acconci and the Shelf Life of Sensational ArtKriston Capps looks back on the late artist’s early performance work, and questions how it would hold up in the contemporary museum space.