CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH (SXSW 2022) – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

At first blush, I thought the coming-of-age drama Cha Cha Real Smooth sounded like one of those tiring “manic pixie dream girl” narratives, with an aimless college graduate curing his ennui through a friendship with a mother and her autistic daughter. But filmmaker Cooper Raiff, who stars here as well as writes and directs, surprises with something more subtle and nuanced. It’s not just the graduate who matures during this friendship. The mom does too, with a tender, complex performance from Dakota Johnson.

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