ashleigh!’s review published on Letterboxd:
This film hails itself as an “epic emotional journey”, and yet I couldn’t be bothered to feel a single thing about it. It’s obvious when a filmmaker cares about what they’re doing and the story they’re telling, but this just comes off as cold.
It’s a mix of arthouse cliches, and it doesn’t do anything with them but try and create the most A24 A24 film ever created. It could take these tropes and flip them on their head, or at least create chracters or a compelling story, but it doesn’t exactly do any of that. These aren’t characters, they’re simply caricatures. There isn’t anything with writing like that in most cases, but when you’re trying so desperately to create something human you have to at least take the time to create characters your viewer is going to give a fuck about.
It’s obvious these things weren’t prioritized over the aesthetics, which is a shame. You can’t have your entire film ride on the back of your soundtrack and neon colors and expect me to feel something. You take those things out, and what do we have? Nothing. It’s not subtle, especially with things like the aspect ratio. You’re not Mommy, just randomly making the ratio change isn’t going to randomly make us feel what the character is feeling. We have to be on board the whole time, you have to sort of ease into it, like that film did. The aspect ratio was much like a character itself there, so intricately woven in that it feels natural and even evokes emotion.
The story itself could’ve gone so much deeper, too. It bites off way more than it can chew and continues to trip over itself, putting so many ideas out there and not really delving into any of them. Trust me, I adore stories that look into bad parents and how kids deal with that trauma that they didn’t even really know they had down the road. I think there’s so much to be said about it, and that it’s not talked about or written about quite enough. This, however, doesn’t do the topic justice at all. It’s so surface level. It thinks it understands what it’s getting into, when really it doesn’t at all. All of that time wasted, and for what exactly? It doesn’t really SAY anything worthwhile, or that better films haven’t said. It tries so hard to ring the emotion out of you, and just comes off more corny than anything. I let out an audible sigh at the end.
There isn’t much more I can say that hasn’t already been said, in the end this film is just wasted potential and something that has watched and ripped from films that I would MUCH rather have been watching. Truly disappointing.