SADIE – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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Writer-director Megan Griffiths knows how to do harrowing. Her 2013 film, Eden, is a brutal tale of a young woman kidnapped into sex slavery, and what she does to survive. Her latest, Sadie, has a disturbing power that sneaks up on you from an unexpected quarter: that of the moment of a teenaged girl’s crossing the boundary from childhood to too-early adulthood via a path that I cannot recall seeing onscreen before. This is a coming-of-age story that feels at once very universal, about impulses that are deeply rooted crossculturally in human experience and emotion, yet also one very much of its time and place: working-class America in the early 21st century. It’s also a story that, I suspect, would work equally well with a teenaged boy at its center without changing very much at all, but which gets extra unnerving power by casting it as a girl’s journey.

Sadie (Sophia Mitri Schloss) is 13 years old, and missing her father desperately: he is a distant figure on a faraway military deployment, one that he’s been voluntarily reupping for years — it seems as if he may be deliberately staying away. Certainly her mother, Rae (Melanie Lynskey), thinks so, and has long since given up on her marriage. And when Rae starts up a tentative romance with Cyrus (John Gallagher Jr.), a new neighbor in their Pacific Northwest trailer park, Sadie is incensed on her father’s behalf. Continue reading…

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MaryAnn Johanson

MaryAnn Johanson is a freelance writer on film, TV, DVD, and pop culture from New York City and now based in London. She is the webmaster and sole critic at FlickFilosopher.com, which debuted in 1997 and is now one of the most popular, most respected, and longest-running movie-related sites on the Internet. Her film reviews also appear in a variety of alternative-weekly newspapers across the U.S. Johanson is one of only a few film critics who is a member of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (the Webby organization), an invitation-only, 500-member body of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities. She is also a member of the Online Film Critics Society. She has appeared as a cultural commentator on BBC Radio, LBC-London, and on local radio programs across North America, and she served as a judge at the first Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Festival at the 2003 I-Con, the largest SF convention on the East Coast. She is the author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride, and is an award-winning screenwriter. Read Johanson's recent articles below. For her Women On Film archive, type "MaryAnn Johanson" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).