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Sadie (and "an afternoon with Melanie Lynskey") - Rounding up the Usual Suspects
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Sadie (and "an afternoon with Melanie Lynskey")
SIFF's capsule summary: "Seattle filmmaker Megan Griffiths returns with a compelling family drama focusing on 13-year-old Sadie, played with quiet ferocity by Sophia Mitri Schloss, the troubled daughter of a soldier serving overseas who resorts to extreme measures when her mother begins dating another man. Ages 13+
    Sadie is also screening as part of An Afternoon with Melanie Lynskey on Sunday, May 27 at SIFF Cinema Egyptian." (US, 2018, 96 minutes)
SIFF link: Sadie

Adolescent Sadie (Sophia Mitri Schloss) lives with her mother Rae (Melanie Lynskey) in a trailer park. Sadie's soldier father (who appears only in a couple of family photos) has been away for four years, and has just reenlisted. He and Sadie exchange handwritten letters every couple of weeks. Sadie is upset, and wants her parents to be together again when her father returns from the war; Rae seems disappointed only for Sadie's sake.

Rae's twenty-year best friend is Carla (Danielle Brooks). Her son Francis (Keith L Williams) and self-described "old coot" Deak (Tee Dennard) are Carla's son and father, and Sadie's two best friends. Sadie feels protective of Francis, who is struggling with a bully problem at school. Deak is an ever-present sympathetic ear.

Although Rae has largely given up on her soldier husband, she has remained loyal to him. Her friend Bradley (Tony Hale), who is also Sadie's school counselor, is hoping for Rae to change her mind, but she is only interested in him as a friend. However, Rae finds her new neighbor Cyrus (John Gallagher Jr) more tempting.

9 Excellent Writer-director Megan Griffiths has done another great film. The writing here is excellent from start to end; neither my wife "J" nor I recall a false note anywhere in the film. The directing is good, and Griffiths shows a way with child actors that I don't recall seeing before; she's very good with Schloss.

Sophia Mitri Schloss is outstanding! Her performance as a bright child struggling with her father's long military absence is impressive and complex. On the way out of the screening, I grabbed a SIFF write-in ballot, and marked her for best actress of the festival, because no other performance this year has grabbed me as much as hers, child actor or adult. I didn't care much for her previous film, last year's Lane 1974, but I was impressed with her performance there too. (She scored a #4 audience award for that film; and enough others liked it that it scored a jury award and a #5 audience award.) I think Schloss has an acting career ahead of her as long as she wants one.

Although Schloss outshined everyone else in the film, Melanie Lynskey was excellent. The supporting cast are also strong, particularly Tee Dennard.

The score, by Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, is excellent. The production design, by Ben Blankenship, is very good; I'd guess that the trailer park exteriors were not changed much for the film, but the interiors look natural and lived-in. (And both J and I were amused to see a Rat City Rollergirls sticker on the wall of Sadie's room.) I'm not sure whether the school and hospital locations were shot unchanged or altered for the film, and that's as it should be.

This film is excellent, and one of my favorite films of this year's film festival.

On the way out of the theater, I saw Schloss near the write-in ballots, and I said to her, "Write yourself in. You deserve it."

Languages: English.

Rating: I don't think this film has a US rating (yet), but I'd guess it would rate a "R", because of some strong language and disturbing teen behavior. But SIFF rates it "13+", and I think that's appropriate; teens know the words in question, and the film condones neither the language nor the behavior.

Screening: 2:30 pm, SIFF Cinema at the Egyptian.
Audience: full house, 575 seats (450 main, 125 balcony).

Snacks: none.

Bonus #1: Melanie Lynskey interviewed by Marcie Sillman of KUOW radio.
I took notes on this, but I haven't yet had a chance to make them readable.

Bonus #2: numerous cast and crew of Sadie, interviewed by Beth Barrett.
I took notes on this, but I haven't yet had a chance to make them readable.

Ads and announcements:

  • Become a member — I have seen this brief membership promotion quite a few times.
  • SIFF 2018 trailer — This "escape the couch" clip shows a couple of people becoming friends through the shared experience of SIFF.
  • Thank you, volunteers — This is one of several cool volunteer thank-you clips from Shorline College. Time for applause for SIFF volunteers.
  • Beth Barrett — SIFF Artist Director presented the guests.
  • Marcie Sillman — A KUOW news person did a very good interview with the film's top-billed star, Melanie Lynskey.
  • Melanie Lynskey — Before the film, she talked a lot about her film career; she was an excellent guest. She spoke little about the film itself, until afterwards.
  • Break — There was a break of ten or 15 minutes between the Lynskey interview and the film.
  • Megan Griffiths — The film's director spoke only briefly before the film. She said that she started in film as a camera PA, and worked her way up, and was pleased to work with Melanie Lynskey.
  • "Movioke" — This clip was an excerpt from The Wizard of Oz. "We're not in Kansas any more." It also reminded people to shut off their electronic gadgets.

Notes to myself:

SIFF statistics: 65 films (38 features, 27 shorts), 41 time slots, 5 parties. ("J": only three parties, and 20 shorts.)

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