2024 Sundance Film Festival Roundup: Love Me, Thelma, Suncoast

Our coverage of the 2024 Sundance Film Festival continues with a round of films featuring Kristen Stewart, Steven Yeun, June Squibb, and more.

2024 Sundance Film Festival - "Thelma" Premiere
2024 Sundance Film Festival - "Thelma" Premiere / Michael Loccisano/GettyImages
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Our 2024 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 2024.

My first full day of the festival was filled with many emotional films. It started with the hard-hitting Exhibiting Forgiveness, followed by the three films I cover in my roundup below Love Me, Suncoast, and Thelma. 

2024 Sundance Film Festival review roundup

Love Me

One of my most anticipated movies of the festival was Love Me. I am a sucker for a love story and a massive fan of Kristen Stewart and Steven Yeun. We meet the SB350 Smart Buoy and get a brief introduction to its creation. The robot-like creature then navigates the internet, trying to find specific things when it comes across Deja (Stewart) and Liam's (Yeun) YouTube channel.

Nobody loves a big swing in the world of film more than I do, and I appreciate what Sam and Andrew Zuchero attempted to do with the story. You are taking a tale as old as time and delivering a fresh and unique take on it. But this was painful to watch. The first fifteen minutes were brutal, and it never really picked up the pace. I could never find myself latching onto the love story, which was the whole point of the film.

There are some technical things about the film that are truly awe-inspiring. Starting with David Longstreth's score, which was truly extraordinary and beautiful (Sadly wasted). Also, the team behind the animated aspects of the film deserves credit for their unique approach to the animation in the movie. 

Overall, Love Me is the first dud of the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. The Zuchero's bold take on love takes a massive risk and fails to pay off in any meaningful way. 

Thelma

Thelma is an elderly lady navigating the internet who gets a phone call from an unknown number stating that her grandson is in jail. The person on the phone tells her she must ship them ten thousand dollars or else, so she hops in a cab and heads to the post office to mail it off. After alarming everyone, she realizes it was a scam, leaving her devastated.

As a result of the scam, Thelma decides to head on a mission to go to the address where she sent the money. Her mission includes heading to another assisted living place to seek someone to help her on the journey. Josh Margolin's script is Oceans 11 with older people. It's such a fun film filled with laughter, thrills, and sincerity. Albeit simple at times, Margolin challenges the idea of the triumphs and tragedies of getting older.

June Squib is a national treasure as Thelma. Squibb brings Margolin's script to life with so much life and joy. If you don't crack a smile during certain moments in this film, we can't be friends. There are several moments when she is in full-blown Ethan Hunt mode, and I am dying of laughter. The last twenty minutes of this movie are perfect.

Overall, Josh Margolin hits a home run in his feature film debut. I would've loved to see this in a crowded theater because audiences will eat up June Squibb's performance. It's definitely worth checking out upon its release.

Suncoast

Doris is struggling to be a teenager while she helps her mother care for her dying brother. Her dad already passed, her brother is on his way out, and Doris's relationship with her mother, Kristine, is in shambles. One day, she meets Paul, who pays for her food at a fast food place because she doesn't have enough money. The two bond over the grief they have battled in life. 

Although the film takes a minute or two to catch on, when the relationship between Doris and Paul picks up, things get interesting. Nico Parker delivers a star-making turn as Doris, where we see her go toe-to-toe with Laura Linney and Woody Harrelson. As in most of his roles, Harrelson is a gem in this. 

Suncoast is a delightful coming-of-age film from Laura Chinn, who is making her feature film debut. She balances Doris's grief with perfectly timed laughs. A strong script mixed with a great ensemble makes for the perfect little film. You can stream Suncoast on Hulu on February 9, 2024. 

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