My reviews for See For Me, Catch the Fair One, and Dating & New York from the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival.
SEE FOR ME
See for Me belongs in the same horror sub-genre as Rear Window and Hush in that the film is thriller revolves around a protagonist with a handicap. In Rear Window, it was a man confined to a wheel chair due to a broken leg who suspected his neighbor of killing his wife. In Hush, it was a deaf woman who must evade a killer from getting into her house. And in See for Me it’s a blind woman who must stay safe while three thieves break into the home that she is cat sitting in. And like those movies, See for Me is a tense, chilling thriller, even if it doesn’t reach the heights of others like it.
Sophie (Skyler Davenport) is a former Olympic-bound skier who is cat-sitting for an affluent woman in her mansion in the woods. Sophie uses the assistance of her friend through a Facetime app on her phone in order to get the layout of the house. During her first night there, Sophie heres a group of thieves breaking into the house. When her friend doesn’t pick up her call, she uses an app called See For Me, which puts her in contact with someone who can see and help guide her. Sophie is put in contact with Kelly (Jessica Parker Kennedy), a former soldier in the military who works at a desk and plays video games all night. Kelly and Sophie must work together in order for Sophie to survive the night.
Davenport, who is blind in real life, gives a great performance as Sophie. Though blind, Sophie wants to do everything for herself with limited assistance. Sophie’s stubbornness is frustrating to watch, but makes sense for her character, who at one time in her life was competing at the highest level possible in an individual sport. It’s with the help of Kelly that Sophie learns to work with others. Kennedy is excellent as Kelly, conveying the military strategist with a calm but commanding demeanor.
The film lacks some visual flare and it feels a bit shallow in its themes, but See for Me is a tight, tense, thrilling, smart thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat.
CATCH THE FAIR ONE
Catch the Fair One is a movie that shows that some battles you have to fight for, regardless of what you have to go through and regardless of what the outcome might bring. For Kaylee, it’s the search for her missing sister. The journey Kaylee goes on is dark, violent, and brutal, in one of the best movies I’ve seen in 2021.
Kaylee (real-life championship boxer Kali Rese) is a former amateur boxer who stopped fighting after her sister went missing. When Kaylee gets a potential lead that her sister may have been taken in by a sex traffic ring, Kaylee goes undercover in the same sex ring to find her, where she is drugged, beaten, kidnapped, and taken into a world darker than anything she ever could have imagined.
Catch the Fair One is a gripping, powerful experience. Director Josef Kubota Wladyka has made a bleak, brutal movie that doesn’t pull any punches, much like our lead character. Rese is remarkable as Kaylee. She’s a woman who wants nothing more than to find her sister and bring her back and has prepared for the opportunity to do so by taking self-defense training and sleeping with a razor blade in her mouth for protection or take drugs when undercover even though she’s a recovering addict. Rese has a ferocious, smoldering intensity and determination that makes Kaylee a force to reckoned with no matter who is in her way. It’s great physical and emotional performance.
Catch the Fair One is a tough, cold movie, particularly the quick ending that might throw some viewers off. But I found the film the be incredibly effecting, emotional, and compelling thanks to a gripping plot, striking visuals, and a great lead performance.
DATING & NEW YORK
Dating & New York is the second movie of the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival that deals with the idea of a couple going through an open relationship, following Mark, Mary & Some Other People (you can read my review of that film here), yet the two films are very different from one another. Dating & New York is a fairy tale love story about two lonely people who refuse to acknowledge that they’re perfect for each other and struggle through the New York dating scene. It is a fun, snappy, sweet love story that felt fresh and original.
Milo (Jaboukie Young-White) and Wendy (Francesca Reale) are two lonely souls living in New York City. Milo is a man who seems permanently single, waiting to find the love of his life. Wendy is a woman who is bitter about the idea of a relationship because of all the times she has given her heart to someone, only to be burned in the process. When they match on a dating app, they go on a date and end up hooking up. But rather than begin dating exclusively, Wendy comes up with the idea of them being Best Friends with Benefits, where they get all the perks of being in a relationship, yet don’t have the emotional attachment and they can see other people. But as Milo and Wendy start to hangout more, they realize there might be more to this relationship than just a friendship.
Dating & New York felt like a modern version of a 70’s Woody Allen film, mainly Annie Hall. Like a lot of Allen’s movies at that time, this is a very New York movie, using the city as not only a backdrop for the characters, but making it a character itself. Featuring shots in parks, different neighborhoods, smaller streets, and in Midtown, the movie has New York’s beauty all over it. The dialog is quick, smart, and funny, ranging from conversations about dating to what ice cream flavor you pick out says about someone. There is a fun, whimsical voiceover from actor Jerry Ferrara, who plays Milo’s doorman, and even a scene where Milo and Wendy impersonate a lame couple in a park, which was very reminiscent of the garden scene in Annie Hall. This was the debut feature for writer/director Jonah Feingold and it establishes a strong, unique New York voice.
Much of Dating & New York’s success hinges and the performances of Young-White and Reale. The chemistry between the two is undeniable and effortless and loaded with charm, wit, and humor. Even though they are Best Friends with Benefits, Feingold smartly never shows the “benefits” parts. We get to watch Milo and Wendy’s relationship grow from random dating app hookup to a true friendship and maybe even more than that. You love these characters from the moment you meet them.
Dating & New York is one of the best romantic comedies I have seen in years.
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