TFF: ‘Sadie’ Film Festival Review
The tagline for Sadie is simple. It’s a movie about a girl who will do whatever it takes to preserve her father’s place in her home. The movie itself, however, is much more complicated.
Sadie, magnificently portrayed by Sophia Mitri Schloss, lives in a trailer park with her mother, Rae (Melanie Lynskey), while her father continues to renew his tours overseas. Her parents are all but over, however Sadie refuses to believe it. With years of loneliness stacking up, Rae sets her sights on the new neighbor Cyrus (John Gallagher Jr.).
Where Sadie goes from there, is anything but conventional. In fact, writer and director Megan Griffiths pulls no punches with this story of an adolescent girl trying to not only figure out who she is but who her family is.
Sadie is a wonderfully acted, masterfully written, and uncomfortably real story put on film. It’s not an escape, even though many don’t live this kind of life, it’s a hard tale that keeps audiences uneasy throughout. Schloss’ Sadie is at times a normal teenage girl and at other times a twisted version of herself. She battles with depression, uncertainty, and feeling a lack of love.
Schloss, who seems to be a teenager herself (age not listed on IMDb) gets every emotion, action, and moment right. In a very well-acted movie, the young actress steals the show. I have enjoyed Gallagher Jr. in his previous roles (namely The West Wing and The Newsroom), and the rest of the cast – Lynskey, Danielle Brooks, Tony Hale, and the young Keith L. Williams – did a fine job as well. But Sadie is all about Sadie, and Schloss puts the exclamation point on the film.
As strong as the acting is, the movie stands on a foundation of excellent, tough content. During our time at Tallgrass Film Festival we joked that middle-aged white men telling the stories of adolescent girls and how that just doesn’t compute. Sadie is both written and directed by Megan Griffiths, who comes from a place of understanding what it is to have been a teenage girl, something her male counterparts can’t offer.
Griffiths does an amazing job of breaking the film down into acts, with the final act being the most suspenseful and compelling. A dramatic film should have a dramatic finish, and the way Griffiths brings together a tale that puts a stack of emotions – desperation, love, the inability to cope, amongst others – through a blender given to us from the perspective of a teenage girl is somewhat gut-wrenching.
Because of this, Sadie is just right.
As a father, and as a movie fan, I felt incredibly uncomfortable throughout the entire 96-minute feature. But when I see a movie, I don’t need to feel comfortable; I want to feel the emotions the filmmakers are intent on me feeling. With Sadie, it’s very clear that the movie isn’t intended to make the audience relax and escape reality, but instead make us think about what is happening with the next generation.
A Must See
Film Festival Review
This review of Sadie is part of our Tallgrass Film Festival 2018 coverage. For more coverage, visit the Tour Page.