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21 Sundance Movies You Need To Know About

25 January 2014 No Comment

We saw a looooot of movies at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and these are the ones that you’ll be hearing about this year. In no particular order!

Dear White People

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Directed by: Justin Simien
Written by: Justin Simien
Starring: Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, Brandon Bell

Simien's feature debut is a sharp, hilarious, intelligent, fast-moving, Election-like examination of race on a fancy, mostly white college campus. I had high hopes for this movie, and they were all met. Exceeded, actually. The performances, especially Thompson's and Williams', were so nuanced and likable. I found myself trying to remember the movie's jokes as I heard them, because they were so on-point and repeatable. Like this one: “Dear White People on Instagram: You own an iPhone and you go on hikes. We get it.” So funny! And sweet, and good-hearted. Also, I would argue that there's never been a good movie about college? But now there is. —Kate Aurthur

Distribution: Not yet!

Ashley Beireis Nguyen


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Directed by: Richard Linklater
Written by: Richard Linklater
Starring: Ellar Coltraine, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Lorelei Arquette

Shot over 12 years, this ambitious, sprawling narrative follows a boy from the age of 6 all the way through to his freshman year of college. Linklater recruited young Ellar Coltrane to act alongside Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, and his daughter Lorelei Linklater. Coltrane's own life and development — as well as the turmoil felt by the world at large — helped determine the story's direction. A masterful work and amazing accomplishment, this is the sort of rare gem that makes you believe in the power of cinema. —Jordan Zakarin

Distribution: Not yet!

Sundance Institute

The Skeleton Twins

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The Skeleton Twins
Directed by: Craig Johnson
Written by: Craig Johnson, Mark Heyman
Starring: Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Luke Wilson, Ty Burrell, Boyd Holbrook, Joanna Gleason

The log line for this film — twin siblings Milo (Hader) and Maggie (Wiig) reunite after a mysterious 10-year estrangement when news of Milo’s attempted suicide interrupts Maggie’s own attempted suicide — sounds like a total Sundance-y downer. But this was easily one of the most entertaining, crowd-pleasing movies of the festival, with a breakout performance by Hader that proves he's every bit the multifaceted movie actor that Wiig is. Co-writers Heyman and Johnson (who directed) started working on the script eight years ago, and their attention to detail — both in storytelling and in character — shows in the best way. —Adam B. Vary

Distribution: Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions, releasing in late summer 2014.

Reed Morano

Obvious Child

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Directed by: Gillian Robespierre
Written by: Gillian Robespierre
Starring: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffman, David Cross

A sweet, hilarious comedy about love, sex, Brooklyn, money, being in your twenties, and…abortion. After getting dumped by her boyfriend and going on a bender, a 28-year-old stand-up comedian (Slate) has a one-night stand with a wholesome business school student from Vermont (Lacy) — and gets pregnant. Robespierre shows it's possible to have a light touch with controversial, serious subjects. —Doree Shafrir

Distribution: Through A24. Release date sometime in 2014.

Chris Teague

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