The 15 best indie hits of Sundance to look forward to in 2018
Another year, another edition of the Sundance Film Festival. As the buzz starts to dwindle with only two days left to go, we thought we’d take a look at some of the most exciting features to have emerged from Park City, Utah in 2018.
There’s a lot to choose from, but we’ve managed to narrow it down to fifteen must-see flicks in total, ranging from the amusing to the powerful, all the way to the downright terrifying. Let’s dive in, shall we?
You can always count on Charlize Theron (Atomic Blonde) to deliver a fearless performance, and in Tully, the powerhouse actress certainly doesn’t disappoint. Theron’s second collaboration with filmmaking duo Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody, described as a “modern-day take on Mary Poppins“, follows a pregnant forty-year-old mother who carries the pressure of the world on her shoulders . . . in addition to the baby weight.
Marking the biggest deal to have come out of this year’s Sundance, with a cool $10 million from the collaboration between Neon and AGBO, Assassination Nation has received a loud buzz for more reasons than one. Written and directed by Sam Levinson, the pic has been hailed as “the most aggressive high-school film in history“, a “deranged teen movie for the #MeToo era”, and an “anti-sexist revenge fantasy“. In other words, female empowerment at its most badass.
Do you like horror? What about jump scares? How about pooping your pants in a movie theater? Then you’re going to love Hereditary, the (supposedly) scariest movie of the year. Directed by Ari Aster, the film sees Toni Collette suffer a fate worse than death at the hands of the most frightening spirits of all: the ghosts from within. We’d recommend having your pillow at the ready for this one, folks.
Original, yet perplexing, Madeline’s Madeline focuses on a sixteen-year-old New York performer played by newcomer Helena Howard. The praise is already pouring in, with reviews suggesting that Josephine Decker has crafted “one of the freshest and most exciting films of the 21st century“. High praise indeed – best keep your eyes peeled for this one.
Were you too young to have experienced the iconic disco nightclub that was Studio 54 (or maybe you just weren’t fashionable enough to be adorned with an invite)? Well, don’t fret, because this year you’ll be able to experience the velvet-roped debauchery from the comfort of your very own home with this upcoming documentary from Matt Tyrnauer. Time to dust those dancing shoes off and get your boogie on!
This town isn’t big enough for the two of us . . . what, Park City? Well, it’s unquestionably big enough to house the release of a plethora of slamming new indie films, one of which will be the Zellner brothers’ new dramedy Damsel. If you like Western films, offbeat comedies, and Robert Pattinson’s face, then this is right up your street.
One of the biggest deals at Sundance, Colette was scooped up by Bleecker Street & 30West in a deal rumored to be in the seven-figure range. The period drama, directed by Wash Westmoreland and starring Keira Knightley, tells the real-life story of the French novelist who overcame an abusive marriage to emerge as one of the most preeminent writers in her country – before becoming a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Inspiring stuff, to say the very least.
Blaze is Ethan Hawke‘s soulful ode to the frustrated & forgotten blues and country musician Blaze Foley (Ben Dickey) – an unsung hero who could unmistakably sing. From small-town singer to silver-screen legend, Foley’s spirit lives on.
The Happy Prince
The Happy Prince isn’t the first tale based on the life of Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde, and it surely won’t be the last. But this time, it’s the somber end of the writer’s life that takes center stage. Rupert Everett (My Best Friend’s Wedding) directs and stars as the flamboyant literary giant who observes his failures with ironic distance and regards his life with the wit that made him famous.
Jennifer Fox‘s latest feature film The Tale has been called “the mother of all #MeToo movies”, and for a damn good reason. Laura Dern (Wild) stars in the lead, portraying a woman coming to terms with sexual abuse, in this film that is both as harrowing as it is touching. In Variety‘s words, this one “could hardly have arrived at a better time.”
Carlos López Estrada’s cinematic take on race relations in Oakland, California, Blindspotting stars Daveed Diggs (Wonder) as a man who is trying to make it through the last days of probation for an arrest he’s eager to put behind him. There’s a lot of excitement surrounding its release, so it’s probably best to jump aboard the hype train and settle down for a ride with the “buddy comedy in a world that won’t let it be one.”
Put your hands up for the notorious RBG! Yes, while we don’t mean to get you excited, the release of the documentary on Ruth Bader Ginsburg is on the slate for 2018. Tracing Ginsburg’s rise from a super-smart Brooklynite to the highest court in the land, this is one for all of us who want to be made to feel crappy about our own lives.
Three Identical Strangers
Picture this: Three complete strangers who met at the same community college, would later come to realize that they were identical triplets separated at birth. Although it seems hard to believe, this one-in-a-million chance true story is the basis for Tim Wardle‘s documentary feature Three Identical Strangers. You don’t want to miss this one – it’s like Parent Trap on crack! Sometimes, folks, the truth is stranger than fiction whether we like it or not.
The classiest lesbian axe-murderer movie to have ever . . . okay, so maybe it’s a small comparative pool, but it’s still worth a note in the diary. Starring Chloe Sevigny (Boys Don’t Cry) and Kristen Stewart (Personal Shopper), Craig William Macneill’s psychological thriller tells the true story surrounding Lizzie Borden’s (alleged) crime of murdering her parents with an axe. “She gave her mother forty whacks!”
We the Animals
Documentary filmmaker Jeremiah Zagar (In a Dream) moves into narrative features with this stunning adaptation of Justin Torres’s autobiographical novel of the same name. Following a mixed-race family with three young sons in upstate New York, We the Animals is being called this year’s Moonlight – in other words, watch this space.