Our 2023 Sundance Film Festival coverage continues today by sharing everything we watched on day two. Make sure you follow along throughout the festival as we share our thoughts on the movies you need to keep an eye on in 2023.
On day two, we watched the following films Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, Fancy Dance, Theater Camp, and Eileen. With stars like Michael J. Fox, Anne Hathaway and up and comer Lily Gladstone, we had a jam-packed day full of movies.
2023 Sundance Film Festival review roundup
Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie
Shortly after the documentary start, you can’t help but have your heart ripped in two because you watched Michael J. Fox walking the streets and he falls down. You can’t help but feel that empathy, but in like true Michael J. Fox fashion, you hear him say, “I’m a tough sonofabitch,” which makes you laugh. Fox doesn’t want you to feel empathy for him or look at him any differently because of how he walks or talks, but he knows that people stare and can’t help but gawk.
I don’t typically love the reenactments within documentaries, but how director Davis Guggenheim blended these reenactments with Fox narrating was very well done. I found myself more engaged because of how he handled the story.
Overall, Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie is a heartwarming look at a man that refuses to let his circumstances define who he is. From start to finish, you are engulfed in this world that director Guggenheim brilliantly builds around one of the most notable stars of all time. I loved this documentary. The film will be released on Apple TV+ in 2023.
"It follows a Native American hustler who kidnaps her niece from her white grandparents and sets out for the state powwow to keep what’s left of their family intact."
Look, movies within this genre have this problem of falling into the same tropes as other films. They tried to build this story early on based on situational drama that didn’t land for me. I wanted to care more about these characters early in the film so that the consequences they face later impact me harder. That said, Lily Gladstone single handily does an incredible job of reeling you back with her emotionally driven performance that will leave you in a puddle of tears. Especially the final moments of this film.
Overall, I wish Fancy Dance didn’t start so slow because it could’ve been a more impactful film with a better-written first act and a half. Nonetheless, Tremblay’s strong feature film directorial debut and some great performances make this a recommendation.
"The eccentric staff of a rundown theater camp in upstate New York as they band together with the beloved founder’s bro-y son to keep the camp afloat when she falls into a coma right before the summer session is set to begin."
There is an audience for this movie, but I am not it. I found most of this movie to be a bit boring to the point that I wanted to turn it off. I will say that several quick-witted one-liners made me chuckle, but otherwise, the movie is all over the place. Also, I have been forever scared by Ben Platt since watching Dear Evan Hansen, and I’m sorry, but maybe he needs to stay on Broadway cause acting might not be for him.
Overall, Theater Camp will undoubtedly be loved by those who might get the humor that comes with being a Theater junkie/kid, but those who aren’t will be left out in the cold. Easily one of the weaker films of Sundance so far.
"A woman’s friendship with a new co-worker at the prison facility she works takes a sinister turn."
While the entire film is aesthetically pleasing, giving you that old-school film vibes, the story is far too slow, to begin with, to capture any meaningful connection to anyone in the film. One of the things that I’ve noticed in this year’s festival is the slow pacing of the movie, which can either work in the instance of Sometimes I Think About Dying or not work like in this movie.
However, that doesn’t mean other elements in the film didn’t work. Anne Hathaway is her delightful self in her role, and it was nice seeing her in this role, which was a little off the norm of what we typically see from her. Then there is Thomasin McKenzie, who plays Eileen. The young actress continues to make a mark in this space that, makes her projects always worth watching.
When we get to the film’s third act, it takes a wild turn that I am not sure what it had to do with the film’s first hour. I wish the last fifteen minutes would’ve been in the same breath as the first-hour cause that could’ve made for a more exciting film. Overall, Eileen is an uneven, utterly forgettable film with two good performances.