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Sundance Day 7 Recap

Today's the last day of the festival, but as I'm still behind recapping you get a few more blogs from me about Sundance, before I round up my personal top ten films from the fest. Here is my recap of what I watched on Friday.


After a rocky childhood, Tarrell (André Holland) works through his past trauma with his art. One day, his life is thrown back into turmoil when his estranged father La'Ron (John Earl Jelks) re-enters his life and vows to make amends. La'Ron swears he's changed, but Tarrell is skeptical of empty promises due to their shared past.

Exhibiting Forgiveness is a deeply personal and affecting drama with incredible performances from everyone involved. The script is solid--it's filled with various scenes of familial tensions that feel authentic enough to cut with a knife. These confrontations, as well as the series of flashbacks that reveal Tarrell's youth, are so heartbreaking and just feel so real. The trauma here feels so lived in, yet relatable. We all have those people in our lives who haven't earned forgiveness in our eyes, yet desperately want it. It's not an easy watch, but it is a powerful one and undoubtedly one of the highlights of the festival.

RATING: 8.5/10


Between the Temples follows a widower cantor named Ben (Jason Schwartzman) who starts spending time with a former teacher Carla (Carol Kane) who despite her age, is eager to have a bat mitzvah. Their time together is filled with conversations and laughter, and more importantly-- a different way to look at life.

While some interesting things are going on in the latter half of the film, overall this movie perplexed me with what exactly was the point. It meanders a lot and never feels to be building to anything substantial til it pivots late in the final act. Between the Temples has a style that may be off-putting to viewers. It's calculatedly quirky which just makes the whole thing feel disingenuous. While it's always welcome to see Carol Kane in anything, and Jason Schwartzman is as usual dependable (he has been on a roll in choosing his projects as of late)--I just wish this particular film were more worthy of their talents.

RATING: 5/10


After being unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend of five years, Laura happens upon the most unlikely of rebounds--the monster who has been living in her closet since she was a kid. After getting over the absurdity of her latest prospect being a literal monster, the two start to get closer and Laura begins to wonder if she's living in a new version of Beauty and the Beast with her unconventional happy ending waiting for her in the wings. But though she tries to move on, she keeps feeling the pull to her ex and the Broadway show he wrote for her when they were dating.

Your Monster is equal parts romantic, comedy, and horror. It's a tough formula to get the mix just right, but director Carol Lindy is more than up for the task. Melissa Barrera and Tommy Dewey make for a wonderful pair whose chemistry is on fire. The film is continually funny and always engaging. Plus it has a nice commentary on the pressure women have sometimes to please everyone and keep their emotions at bay, and the need to release those in a healthy way. The audience I was with absolutely loved this, so I'm very excited to see what happens next with this movie.

RATING: 8/10


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