The 2018 Sundance Film Festival is in full swing following its first weekend, and while deals are relatively scarce so far, there's a lot of buzz going around on timely and topical features that are getting rave reviews in addition to the obvious attention.
The Tale Fits the Moment
The Tale, Jennifer Fox's autobiographical drama about her own childhood sexual abuse, is one of the most notable dramas of Sundance, easily aligned with #TimesUp and #MeToo. And the movie, which stars Laura Dern as Fox (pictured above), is also one of the best-received so far with a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
THE TALE: confronting filmmaking about a woman investigating her childhood sexual abuse. Important to explore this issue & ask the tough questions, as hard as it is to watch. Great use of memory-like style to tell the story #Sundance pic.twitter.com/uWnm1p4Qij— Alicia Malone (@aliciamalone) January 20, 2018
I can't properly assess the cinematic merits of 'The Tale' in tweet form right now. I'm deeply shaken. This bravely controversial film by Jennifer Fox gets to the heart of the #MeToo moment, bursts its artery & lets it bleed. First standing ovation at Eccles. #Sundance— Tomris Laffly (@TomiLaffly) January 20, 2018
In shambles after The Tale. A stomach-churning, soul-excavating reckoning with the suppression of trauma. One of the most powerful films I've ever seen at Sundance.— Jordan Raup (@jpraup) January 21, 2018
— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) January 20, 2018
Assassination Nation Is a Movie for Right Now
Assassination Nation, the sophomore feature from Sam Levinson (son of Barry), is also being recognized for its relevance to #TimesUp and more going on politically and culturally in the nation lately. And it's hitting big with the midnight movie crowd, where it could have the most impact.
#AssassinationNation is literally a teen action social thriller. That may sound wacky... because it is. But good is good and this is great.— Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) January 22, 2018
A film for our times because y’all love exploiting women, cis and trans. And they’re telling us all #TIMESUP in more ways than one.
— Ty Burr (@tyburr) January 22, 2018
ASSASSINATION NATION: a brutal and confrontational middle finger to society & mob rule mentality. Probably going to piss a lot of folks off, and man, I hope it does. #Sundance2018— Heather Wixson (@thehorrorchick) January 22, 2018
ASSASSINATION NATION: Mean Girls meets The Purge in the era of social media shaming. Yep, you know you want to see that.— Brian Tallerico (@Brian_Tallerico) January 22, 2018
Tyrel Is This Year's Get Out
One of the most-talked about movies of Sundance last year was Get Out, which went on to be a surprise hit and awards contender. This year, Tyrel and its similar dealings with race (plus its cast including Caleb Landry Jones) are being positively compared to Jordan Peele's otherwise unique effort.
TYREL is basically perfect.— Jordan Hoffman (@jhoffman) January 21, 2018
Okay, TYREL is incredible. Hilarious, nightmarish, like a more subtle, psychologically acute GET OUT. Alcohol-fueled white-bro mania alienates a superb Jason Mitchell during a Catskills weekend. Any film that pokes such relentless fun at R.E.M. is okay by me. #Sundance— Joshua Rothkopf (@joshrothkopf) January 21, 2018
TYREL is GET OUT without the horror ever actually manifesting: an unnerving immersion in racial and social alienation through the eyes of the only black guy at a loud, drunken weekend cabin getaway. Wish it eventually went somewhere, but Jason Mitchell is fantastic. #Sundance— Tasha Robinson (@TashaRobinson) January 21, 2018
The Miseducation of Cameron Post Is Important and Powerful
Chloe Grace Moretz stars as a teen undergoing gay conversion therapy in The Miseducation of Cameron Post, the sophomore feature from Desiree Akhaven (Appropriate Behaviour) and seems to be the exact sort of movie Sundancers hope for with its well-executed address of a current social and political issue.
THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST is humble and poignant and super touching. it's weird how good movies happen when you cast great actors, write them deeply humane roles, and then let them rock some long-takes. solid & all the way through. #sundance— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) January 22, 2018
Loved THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST, about a teen (@ChloeGMoretz) forced to attend a gay conversion camp. Funny and biting w/ powerful messages about being the person you want to be. A fest fav for me#Sundance pic.twitter.com/8jX3FYTUSw— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) January 22, 2018
THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST is human and poignant and humorous and “important” without being pedantic. Chloe Grace Moretz in a John Hughes movie against the backdrop of gay conversion therapy. Plus, 4 Non-Blondes epicness. pic.twitter.com/Bo3Z9gNiHB— Kevin Fallon (@kpfallon) January 22, 2018
Desiree Akhavan's conversion therapy survival movie "The Miseducation of Cameron Post" is terrific. Performances from Chloe Moretz, Sasha Lane & Forrest Goodluck all rule. Jennifer Ehle seriously channels Nurse Ratched. Loved. #Sundance— Tomris Laffly (@TomiLaffly) January 22, 2018
Search Sells While Honoring Inclusive Casting
One of the biggest buys at Sundance so far is Search, which went to Sony for a reported $5 million. That's great for Aneesh Chaganty, who makes his feature directorial debut with the missing teen drama, as well as for rising star John Cho and the rest of its rare focus on a mostly Asian-American ensemble not cast for any racially dependent purpose. And it's inventive!
SEARCH is what I come to #Sundance for. A bold new talent breaks new grounds on the cinematic landscape with its incorporation of technology to tell a compelling mystery, John Cho is TREMENDOUS, and an opening sequence that rivals the opening montage from UP via the digital age.— Jason (@jasonosia) January 22, 2018
Cho celebrated the inclusive representation in the movie at the Variety studio:
— Variety (@Variety) January 22, 2018
Robert Redford Is Hopeful Going Forward
The festival kicked off with founder Robert Redford offering encouraging remarks about what's going in the industry with #MeToo and pushes for equal treatment and pay for women. These words have so far proven to be significant to the themes and buzz continuing at Sundance as it heads into its first full week of screenings.
“I’m pretty encouraged right now with this period of change. What it’s doing is it’s bringing forth more opportunity for women, and more opportunity for women in film to have their own voices heard.” Robert Redford at #Sundance: https://t.co/W80979ta8M pic.twitter.com/WrDB2XLJOM— SundanceFilmFestival (@sundancefest) January 21, 2018