Sundance Day 5 Recap
Even though the festival is starting to dwindle down, there is plenty of Sundance left and a good deal of movies for me to recap here on the blog! In fact, I'm getting behind so let's remedy that right now! Here's my recap of another day of movie-watching!
After falling for a phone scam and losing $10,000, Thelma (June Squibb) is determined to track down the thieves responsible and take back what is rightfully hers. Taking inspiration from Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible, Thelma will do whatever it takes to get the money back and won't let anyone underestimate her--even if she happens to be just a sweet old grandma. Though her family says she should accept the loss, Thelma enlists the help of an old friend (Richard Roundtree) and a scooter to help her catch some bad guys.
Thelma is bound to win you over with its adorable geriatric caper comedy shenanigans. June Squibb is so good here as the world's sweetest grandma and the movie just could not work without her. She and Richard Roundtree have the sweetest chemistry and are so fun to see play off of one another. Thelma is a crowdpleaser with so many genuinely funny bits, it's truly impossible to come away from this movie with anything other than a smile.
From the moment the film opened with Belle & Sebastian's I'm a Cuckoo, I knew Dìdi was gonna be a banger. As a Millennial, this film did such a perfect job of capturing the era of my adolescence--it truly felt uncanny. Dìdi follows teenager Chris Wang who, in his youth, lived with his mother and older sister Vivian. His dad is MIA as he works and provides for his children in Taiwan. Chris often feels alone navigating his life and trying always to fit in. Whether it's with his longtime crush, his trusty friend group, or a group of skaters he wants to impress, Chris is always trying desperately to be accepted.
Dìdi is a slice-of-life portrait of life in the oughts. Chris is so relatable as a teen just trying to find his place in his own world His struggles are not unique to a teenager, and especially an Asian teen, but they are so real to him in this formative moment of his life. Dìdi is yet another great coming-of-age film to add to Sundance's storied history. Not only is it a perfect time capsule of what life is like for a teen trying to find themselves in the 00s, but it is also such a touching story of the sacrifices a mother makes for their kids that their kids are not always aware of. I can't wait for this film to find a home and resonate with many others who will see themselves in Chris.
After a traumatic birth, an exhausted new mother (Shari Sebbens) thinks she's starting to see things. Is she right or is she suffering from postpartum psychosis? Or perhaps she's being haunted by The Moogai, an evil spirit who wants to steal babies. While there is a cool premise to be found here--particularly playing with what a vulnerable and delicate time post-partum is for women, the execution just isn't here in this movie to make it anything other than forgettable.
Horror films cannot be tensionless. they need to be scary! Though it had some moments here and there, ultimately there were one too many fake-outs to have any stakes. While an attempt was made with the creature design, overall it’s just not convincing and neither is the movie. Honestly there's not much more to say, this was definitely one of my biggest disappointments of the festival because I was really craving a great horror film and left empty handed.