Our 2023 Sundance Film Festival coverage continues today by sharing everything we watched on the festival’s final day. 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.
I wanted to shout all of you out (including my amazing editors) for helping me navigate through this festival. I watched 30 films at Sundance this year and while it was exhausting, it was worth it. Today, I took a look at two films that I wasn’t sure what to expect and ended up loving them both.
2023 Sundance Film Festival review roundup
Two youngsters reeling from bad breakups connect over an eventful day in South London.
It’s not often when you watch a film that blows you away in a subtle but in-your-face way as Rye Lane did. I had heard plenty of hype surrounding the movie since it debuted earlier in the week at Sundance, and not only did it live up to that hype, but it exceeded my expectations. Writers Nathan Bryon and Tom Melia penned one of the finest scripts of the festival. However, it was Raine Allen Miller in her feature film directorial debut that elevated this movie to perfection.
From the first time we meet Dom and Yas to the final moments of the duo together, you find yourself fully emersed in their journey. From its whimsical score/music to the stunning color palette to the brilliant editing, I am not sure I saw a better technical feat at this festival. More on Raine Allen Miller’s direction, though, I can’t help but credit how she placed the camera in the perfect angles to capture each moment fully. It wasn’t just about our characters, the world that Miller built behind them was equally as important.
David Jonsson and Vivian Oparah were electric together. So many scenes stand out, but the lunch scene at the beginning of this movie will have you laughing and cheering simultaneously. Plus, the karaoke moment that happens after it is talked about, I loved it. Overall, Rye Lane is hands down one of the best directorial debuts I’ve seen in a long time. I will be shocked if Rye Lane isn’t in my top ten to end the year. (Also, there is a cameo that will knock your socks off)
Rye Lane will drop on Hulu on March 31, 2023.
Young. Wild. Free
A teenager struggling to provide for his younger siblings in Compton finds his life turned upside down when he’s held at gunpoint by the girl of his dreams.
The movie begins with us meeting Brandon, who is getting fired from his job. While he makes a case for keeping his job, he also envisions beating the hell out of his boss. As he sulks over it with his friends, later, while at home, a man visits to let him know that his mother is behind on the property taxes for their house. Then, while talking to his friend at the gas station, a girl comes in with a ski mask and robs the place. Then, in a wild chain of events, she leans over, lays a massive kiss on Brandon, and walks out.
While still reeling from what happened, a random girl shows up at his house, which he quickly realizes is the girl that robbed him at the gas station. A back and forth between the pair leads to her giving his wallet back to him and writing her number on his hand. As the film continues, the relationship between these two blossoms. Finally, Brandon relies on Cassidy to help solve his money issues by robbing his sister’s dad (Mike Epps).
Throughout this journey, this Bonnie & Clyde-like vibe between Brandon and Cassidy engulfed me from start to finish. It’s a beautifully shot (Cary Lalonde/Dennis Zanatta) movie that was esthetically pleasing and so enticing.
Algee Smith and Sierra Capri share dynamic chemistry in giving two fantastic turns, and the always-excellent Sanaa Lathan was perfect. In addition, director Thembi Banks has an incredible eye behind the camera, which blew me away with her work. Overall, this was right up my wheelhouse of movies I love, and I highly recommend checking out when it releases.