Just some thoughts on film from an insomniac librarian.
Fifteen minutes in: *side-eyeing* “yeah, okay...” Then somehow at the end: *weeping* “ye-e-e-a-a-h-h, okay...” What a bracing first feature. I’ll watch Ben Mendelsohn in anything, and wow, is he spectacular here. Eliza Scanlen and Toby Wallace are full of surprises as well, taking tired tropes and wringing every bit of pathos from them.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
A old friend of mine surprised me with a day trip to see this in the only theatre within 100 miles playing it. It was then, and remains now, astonishing. There are images that have remained frozen in my mind, all these years later. It’s not perfect - and some casting choices are super-problematic - but it remains one of the single best adaptations I’ve ever seen in terms of capturing the unique tone and cadence of a writer’s words.…
If there were a retroactive award for casting generational talent, this film would be an excellent candidate. Larson and Dever give towering performances conveying the throughline of enduring and reckoning with abuse, as well as the humor and charm one needs to survive in a world that often fails to protect children.