Saturday 2 December 2023

Movie Review: Sam & Kate (2022)

Genre: Romantic Dramedy
Director: Darren Le Gallo
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Sissy Spacek, Jake Hoffman, Schuyler Fisk
Running Time: 110 minutes

Synopsis: Sam (Jake Hoffman) never fulfilled his potential as an artist and now lives with his elderly and widowed father Bill (Jake's real-life dad Dustin Hoffman). Sam spots bookstore owner Kate (Schuyler Fisk) and attempts to initiate a romance, but she remains distant. Kate is caring for her aging mother Tina (Schuyler's real-life mom Sissy Spacek), who has her own embarrassing secret. Sam persists in trying to impress Kate, while Bill asks Tina out for a date.

What Works Well: Veterans Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek bring the necessary crustiness and vulnerability to their late-in-life roles, and the parent-offspring casting radiates some natural warmth.

What Does Not Work As Well: Bogged down by largely uninteresting characters who are in turn stalled by their own failures, Darren Le Gallo's directorial debut is overlong by a good 20 minutes. The humour is low key to the point of not registering, and the romance never ignites beyond perfunctory. Meanwhile, the drama flounders on unspoken but obvious secrets (Kate's past, Tina's fondness for clutter); and adult communications defaulting to half-sentences and quick anger instead of delving into substance. 

Conclusion: Inescapably bland. 

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