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Best of Fest: Sundance 2024 Wrap-up

Another festival has come and gone, and while I'm not sure there were any surprise breakthroughs to the quality of Past Lives, it was still a pretty solid festival. Here are around ten of my favorites (I had to fudge the numbers a bit to get all the best ones in) that I saw this year. So keep an eye out as these films start coming out in the near future.


Saoirse Ronan's magnificent performance is one of the biggest draws of The Outrun. Always reliable in any project she's in, she once again brings her A-game here and turns in some of the best work of her career, playing a woman who just cannot give up alcohol no matter how hard she tries. It's a harrowing, difficult film but incredibly powerful by the end. More thoughts on The Outrun HERE


Thelma is such a charming crowd-pleaser, I haven't met a single person who didn't like it. It's a worthy addition to the action-comedy genre as Thelma tries desperately to emulate Tom Cruise every step of the way to bring phone scammers to justice. June Squibb is absolutely wonderful here and it's just such a fun movie for everyone to enjoy. More thoughts on Thelma HERE


Dìdi is such a wonderful coming-of-age dramedy from the perspective of a teenage Taiwanese-American boy in 2008. It's a perfect slice-of-life time capsule for Millennials to see the era of their adolescence perfectly captured in film. But it's what the story builds to that makes it stay with me, particularly the bond between Chris and his mother in their final scene together. As hard and awkward as it is growing up, it's our family ties that stay with us long after our school days are over. More thoughts on Dìdi HERE


It's What's Inside is one of the most creative and entertaining films I was able to see this year at Sundance. It is very uniquely told and it constantly keeps you guessing throughout. While I had hoped it would veer more squarely into horror instead of being horror-adjacent, I still had a great time with this. Netflix bought this so hopefully it makes a splash when it hits the platform, unlike other festival acquisitions that they've unceremoniously dumped with little fanfare. It certainly has the potential to be a huge hit. More thoughts on It's What's Inside HERE


There's nothing out there quite like Your Monster, an almost modern-day Beauty and the Beast retelling with a horror rom-com twist. Thoroughly entertaining with humor, romance, and just enough touches of horror to be completely its own creation. And best of all it tackles female empowerment and the need to not just bottle up our feelings. This was probably one of the biggest crowd-pleasers I saw from gauging how into the movie our audience was. More thoughts on Your Monster HERE


Maybe it's because I had really low expectations for this and that I hadn't seen the other film tackling this subject Reality, but I found myself really enjoying Winner when I got the chance to see it. It might be a bit breezy for its subject matter, but I was thoroughly entertained as well as enlightened. Its wonderful cast led by the talented Emilia Jones really elevates it too and I couldn't help but be pulled into her family dynamics and her moral dilemma. More thoughts on Winner HERE


I know I know, I'm so predictable always going after coming-of-age films, but this one in particular had a different weight to it as its characters are constantly reconciling grief and their impending loss. Suncoast feels reliably made, with wonderful acting veterans (Laura Linney and Woody Harrelson) playing against an up-and-coming talent (Nico Parker). Yes, I absolutely cried while watching this. It actually hits Hulu soon so check it out if you can handle all the feels. More thoughts on Suncoast HERE


This movie has really stayed with me since I saw it last week. I really love the examination of the relationships we don’t choose but are placed in. The type of people who you would never gravitate towards if not for the circumstances that placed you together. We are connected to these bonds by blood, even when it would be so much easier to abandon them--yet often they are the relationships that teach us the most and we hold the most dear. The film does a great job of showing the pain under the surface that we all feel but may try to conceal. With fantastic performances by Culkin and Eisenberg, this movie is not to be missed when it comes out. More thoughts on A Real Pain HERE


Exhibiting Forgiveness is such a quietly powerful film featuring some of the strongest performances I saw from any film during the festival. So much is explored here and somehow it all feels so real and authentic, never manufactured or artificial. How does one contemplate reconciliation when wounds are so deep? The film dives into these questions in such a profound way that it really makes a profound impression. More thoughts on Exhibiting Forgiveness HERE


I was totally surprised to have this movie resonate with me as much as it did, but I really loved seeing these two versions of the same character with their different perspectives on life, and how they want each other to live it. Life can be full of both potential and regret, but our experiences make us who we are and the only way we learn is by actually living through them. More thoughts on My Old Ass HERE


It feels like a cheat to have this as my number one since it wasn’t really a Sundance debut...but it was my favorite movie I saw throughout Sundance and an instant classic. Richard Linklater and Glen Powell are a great director-actor pairing who I hope continue to collaborate for years to come. Glenn really gets the chance to shine here, and he and Adria Arjona are so electric together. Can’t wait to watch it again! More thoughts on Hit Man HERE


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