While we eagerly await some of the more mainstream tentpole blockbusters to release such as Matt Reeves’ “The Batman,” Sam Raimi’s “Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness” and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One),” film fans are excited to see the new hit films from breakout directors and auteurs. And thankfully, I was able to attend Sundance virtually for the second time as a member of the press. Before discussing some of the movies I saw, the experience was very strange compared to last year. While the online streaming site was perfectly executed, many screenings remained up in the air after Sundance decided a week before the festival to establish it as “online only” due to the increase of COVID-19 cases. However, despite the shortcomings, the festival was still a magical experience and one I highly recommend people try. Now, onto the movies!

“When You Finish Saving The World” dir: Jesse Eisenberg 

The most common approach nowadays is seeing actors step behind the camera and direct a film. Sometimes it is a hit, (ex. Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird”), and at times, they should just stick to acting. “When You Finish Saving The World,” tells the story of a young teen named Ziggy (Finn Wolfhard), a social media influencer who sings sappy love songs, and the disconnect between his dreams and what his mother Evelyn (Julianne Moore) wants from him. While it does contain a promising story, its execution feels familiar and falls flat, at times playing itself like Greta Gerwig’s indie smash. While Moore carries the movie, Wolfhard is written to be so unsympathetic that I had a hard time empathizing with him due to how he treats his family and his potential love interest. Sure, it’s shot well, but it’s score by the usually great Emile Mosseri feels unspecial and forgettable. 

“When You Finish Saving The World” could work well on paper, however its annoying character writing, mixed performances, shallow story and unsatisfying conclusion keep this from becoming another darling in the coming of age genre. Eisenberg tries to play himself like his contemporary Noah Baumbach but has a hard time trying not to replicate his style. 

Grade: D-

“The Worst Person in the World” dir: Joachim Trier

*NOTE: SOME MOVIES CAME OUT LAST YEAR AND PREMIERED AT OTHER FESTIVALS AND WERE PICKED UP DUE TO THE CRITICAL RECEPTION*

What are the types of movies you do not see nowadays? Romantic comedies or existential dark comedies! And Denmark filmmaker, Joachim Trier, concludes his “Oslo Trilogy” with his latest. The film follows Julie (Renate Reinsve) a young 20-something year old who feels indecisive when it comes to finding a career and the love of her life. I am having a hard time deciding if I should include this in my best of 2021 or 2022 because if it was to count for this year, it would be hard to top this one. “The Worst Person in the World” is a home run from Joachim Trier and truly creates a romantic comedy unlike any other. Renate Reinsve brings one of the most relatable characters as Julie, a woman who is trying to figure her life out and feels pressured to take big steps even though she wants to feel young again. The film captures both the feeling of finding your true soulmate and the uneasy melancholy of being alone/independent post-college-graduation. There is no denying the excellence of the screenplay by Trier. At times you feel unsure when to laugh due to the cringe-worthy situations done, or the witty humor at play. This feels like one of the rare films that feels tailor-made for our generation. It does not feel unsubtle but also pokes fun at our ability to change and our roads that lead us there

Grade: A+

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