New from Solzy at the Movies by Danielle Solzman: SXSW 2019: Shrill

Shrill stars Aidy Bryant as Annie Easton in this six-episode comedy series streaming on Hulu this weekend following the SXSW world premiere.

We get to know Annie (Aidy Bryant) and her circle of friends, family, and co-workers over the course of six episodes.  She’s the assistant calendar editor for the The Weekly Thorn.  Annie would rather take on more duties like actually having the opportunity to write articles.  Her boss, Gabe (John Cameron Mitchell), is the first to shoot this down.

As for Annie’s home life, she rooms with Fran (Lolly Adefope) while having a pregnancy scare with hook-up friend Ryan (Luka Jones).  I’m hesitant to use the word boyfriend because they’re not quite at that level in the first episode.  In any event, Fran’s the one who comes to Annie’s aid through this ordeal.  It’s a situation that gives Annie a lot to think about.  Is her life going in the right direction?

There’s only so many situations that Annie can undergo in six half-hour episodes.  This isn’t one of those series in which it’s a joke-a-minute but this is still a solid comedy.  After quickly binge-watching this series, I’m very much interested in seeing what direction they decide to go in the future.

While there are more than a few instances of body-shaming, the series is certainly one that preaches body positivity.  Make no doubt that there are those series that would take someone like Annie and make her the butt of the joke.  Thankfully, this is not what happens in Shrill.  Annie is perfectly okay with her body even when those around her are not.  I’m not about to pretend to know what’s in Annie’s head.  But from the outside looking in, she appears to be very okay with her body.

What we learn very early on from Shrill is that the Saturday Night Live actress is perfectly capable of leading a series.  When actors are on SNL, they’re limited in what they can do during the hiatus.  The Chicago improv alumna has delivered supporting roles in films but after her performance in Shrill, it’s only a matter of time before she’s leading a film.  She doesn’t just lead the series here but she also co-wrote the first episode.  Meanwhile, the series also follows in Portlandia‘s lead by filming in Portland.

It’s also nice to see both Julia Sweeney and Daniel Stern getting some work.  I haven’t seen Stern in a while but both Sweeney and Stern recur as Annie’s parents.  They do a fine job here.

Shrill is a fun little comedy that sends a message to viewers that it’s okay to be okay with your body.

SHOWRUNNER:  Alexandra Rushfield
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS:  Alexandra Rushfield, Lindy West, Lorne Michaels, Elizabeth Banks, Max Handelman, Andrew Singer
CAST:  Aidy Bryant, Lolly Adefope, Luka Jones, Ian Owens, John Cameron Mitchell

Shrill held its world premiere during the 2019 SXSW Film Festival in the Episodic Premieres program.  All six episodes will be streaming on Hulu on Friday, March 15, 2019. Grade: 4/5

The post SXSW 2019: Shrill appeared first on Solzy at the Movies.

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