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Sundance Film Review: Landline (Variety)

Gillian Robespierre's new comedy is a lively wisp of '90s New York nostalgia about two sisters and their family of secrets.

Sundance 2017 Film Review - Variety

When a director crafts a youth comedy that’s also a pop-culture period piece, like “Everybody Wants Some!!” or “Twentieth Century Women,” it’s important for the audience to feel they know why — to know what it is about that moment that ignited the filmmaker’s imagination, beyond his or her desire to sprinkle a movie with the mix-tape nuggets, hipster TV choices, and hairstyles of their youth. “Landline,” the pleasingly spiky and confident second feature directed and co-written by Gillian Robespierre (“Obvious Child”), is set in Manhattan in the long-ago, far-away, now-exotic year of 1995, and it’s fun to hook into the movie’s remember-this? vibe — the references to slam poetry and Lorena Bobbitt and eyebrow rings and Must-See TV, to renting “Curly Sue” at Blockbuster (and actually thinking it’s funny), to Hillary Clinton as a fashion role model, to second-hand CD stores with world-music listening stations. But the inner justification for the setting is also there, and what’s cool is the way it sneaks up on you.

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