[SIFF Despatches: Issue One]

I’m not committing to anything here because I go up to five movie days on Friday & I go back to work next week, but I wrote these from my first two days of press screenings, so here we go. Films with distribution are embargoed, but there’s nothing I like better than a word limit, so here’s 75 words one each film I found worth writing about.

Hearts Beat Loud

The latest from writer/director Brett Haley, this is a fine but awkwardly made film about a widowed father (Nick Offerman) who finds himself having to finally grow up in the summer before his daughter (Kiersey Clemons) leaves for college. A better film would have focused on her perspective instead; Clemons is great. PS If you also come out thinking Blythe Danner was underused, catch Haley’s earlier, better feature, I’ll See You in My Dreams.

Pick of the Litter

This is a crowd pleaser of a documentary about a litter bred at Guide Dogs for the Blind, & who doesn’t want to be part of a pleased crowd? It follows five puppies from birth all through to graduation – those of them what makes it, anyway. A lot of work goes into training a guide dog, we want them all to be successful, and we feel for their trainers when a dog is ‘career changed’.

On Chesil Beach

I’ll have a full post for On Chesil Beach once it’s not embargoed, but for now the key point is: it’s a movie about a young asexual woman made by people who don’t know that asexuality is a thing, and it would’ve been better if a) they knew it was a thing and b) they focused the film on her instead. Unfortunately, this is what we have. Saoirse’s obviously terrific in it. So’s the cinematography.

5/18/18 The film is now open in NY/LA, and my review can be found here.

A Kid Like Jake

This is a movie that some people need, but I didn’t. Beautiful white people in beautiful spaces agonizing over how to keep their kid out of public school: this is a problem I have a hard being invested in. It is, however, also a layered portrayal of a couple raising a gender nonconforming child, which they both accept and don’t accept in a way that feels true. Plus, Claire Danes is still an A++ crier.