Willow Maclay’s review published on Letterboxd:
We had 11 dollars in our bank account when we finally checked to see if we could actually go watch "The Diary of a Teenage Girl" at the local cineplex so we ended up staying home. We've been fretting over money ever since my boyfriend lost the extra pay afforded to night shift workers after he had decided he'd had enough of being exhausted. We're scraping by, making it and loving each other, but it's a lie that money doesn't buy happiness. I can't get a job yet, because my immigration paperwork hasn't been cleared by the government so we're a one income household with two mouths to feed. We're doing better than a lot of people, but I can't help but think one of these days we'll look back on this time in our lives as some of the most difficult, even if they are some of our happiest.
A good friend of my boyfriend's just moved in with us when he lost housing. He has a little girl, and he's engaged. We're helping out the best we can, but I'm nervous about our money. We just got our heads above water again and I'm about to have some added financial costs every month relating to healthcare. I know that we're going to make it work, but we're hustling and conserving every single day. The Canadian dollar continues to go down the tubes as an election is on the horizon--some sense of hope in Trudeau fills our household-- because something has to give and something has to change. Canadians can't keep struggling as hard as they do.
88:88 is about that struggle. It is at once cinema of the people, a snapshot of overlaying imagery on the beauty of human relationships, and a reflection of poverty. I look into the eyes of the 2 year old girl that is staying with us and feel something resonant. She's unburdened by this world and innocent. Isiah Medina does something here with faces that reminds me of that purity of this little girl. It's reminiscent of "As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty" but it's more level, and on the ground than Mekas' film. There's a warmth that penetrates all the overlaying images.
For as much as we've talked about the formal ingenuity of 88:88 in every review, and we should, I'm more struck by Medina's humanism. His need to make a movie with his friends about a struggle that is all too real and affecting all of us is what makes this special. The name of the title-88:88- represents the time-lapse of digital alarm clocks when electricity is cut from a home. It's stasis. My boyfriend and I haven't done anything superfluous that would mean spending money on ourselves in a month. If that isn't stasis then I have the wrong definition. We're gliding by, but stuck at the same time. Days go by, and we love each other dearly. I often think to myself watching a torrented movie and cuddling in bed with him is better than going to the movies anyway, but it'd be nice if the second option was available. We'll get there. Christmas is coming up, and I don't know how that's going to work. I covet dresses and make-up and action movies, but I know in this life you can only have so much. The greatest gift is that I have someone, much like 88:88's characters have each other. Hopefully some day we'll have a little bit more.