Category: Drama

“Four Good Days”

8.1

Get ready to get sad. Then mad. Then worry. Then sad again. Then happy? I think it’s happily ever after, but damn… if it wasn’t a rough path to get there.

Huge Kudos to Mila Kunis and Glenn Close for taking on these roles. For a mainstream film, this story goes down some dark rabbit holes. It’s fairly unafraid to go places that help give the narrative much more weight and impact in the end. Stephen Root is a bit of a sleeper hit, though, serving to provide perfectly timed perspective to the other cast around him. Without him, I don’t think the story lands half of the punches it does.

May have to set your morals aside for the third act, or be ready to process some things. In the end, an incredible story to bring to the big screen.

“Minari”

8.5

A24 made this?!? I mean, there is a fire in the third act that reflects flickering light in the face of the cast that serves as a potent metaphor. But it’s not one of their family members ablaze, and there’s no witch in the woods who steals the children. Very out of character for them.

That said, this was an incredibly heartfelt and impactful family drama about the struggle to find the “American Dream” as an immigrant family. I loved the way that the story wove together so many different perspectives. American Culture, Korean Culture, Midwestern culture. The similarities and differences. What ties us all together as a community and what makes us unique as individuals.

Well worth having to read subtitles. I look forward to the film market becoming more international in the future, because of films like this.

“Here Today”

8.3

“It’s the perfect time for jokes!”

The better version of “The Father.” There, I said it! This movie should have been in the running for best picture instead.

I spent at least 2/3 of the runtime misty-eyed. But I also laughed more genuinely than most films are able to achieve. Such a horrific story and situation that forces moments of profound beauty and perspective.

Tiffany Haddish kicks ass in a drama role in this one. Just as unexpected as Billy Crystal. They both toe the line of seriousness and humor with grace not many have. It illustrates the balance between the two we often struggle with within our own lives. This is why I prefer this version of “old man losing his marbles” to “The Father.” The films have very different approaches with a similar intent of bringing awareness to Alzheimer’s/dementia. I just preferred this more human feeling, struggle to be lighthearted in the face of darkness approach. Very well done and worth the time and tears.

“Together Together”

8.4

So many societal issues, handled with the perfect mix of grace and awkwardness. Ed Helms and Patti Harrison shine as the two perfect people to bring this story to the screen. Similar to “Promising Young Woman,” this film takes incredibly awkward topics and brings them to life on screen in such a way that they seem much more approachable. The beauty of human life and the relationships between people. The wonder of what life can be when we let go of “the plan” and “normal.” I laughed, I got a little misty-eyed, I came away with a lot to ponder in how to present this. The only beef I had was with the ending, but I can also understand and support the artistic choice. A lot of heart in this one. The kind of storytelling that has come through and shined on the big screen in the past year with the almost absolute absence of big, blockbuster franchises sucking up all of the silver screen real estate. Well worth a watch!

“French Exit”

6.6

I’ve spent 24 hours trying to process and interpret what the hell this is… I’m still at a loss.

I can’t tell if this is a beautiful tale of friends filling in as family, or a horrifying tale of delusion as a result of traumatic loss. Whether it’s brilliant or insane. Whether there was a story here, or they just shot random scenes and decided to end it when the tape ran out.

Fascinating to watch in that it keeps you engaged in the pursuit of understanding. It definitely had some strong “Harold & Maude” vibes, but without the charm.