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No one is happy in the hazy, dank world of Megan Griffiths’ trailer-park drama, “Sadie.” But no one is as compelling in their discontent as the eponymous lead, an outcast 13-year-old played by breakout star Sophia Mitri Schloss. Unhappy with her lot in life, she’s ignored at nearly every turn, only finding solace in her doting mother Rae (Melanie Lynskey) and her long-time best pal Francis (Keith L. Williams).
However, Sadie’s fragile existence is made worse by the protracted absence of her father. A daddy’s girl through and through, Sadie is convinced that her soldier dad is the only one who really understands her — not only with their shared interest in gory horror movies, military strategy, and sensible flak jackets, but also in emotions and worldview. That her father has been out of the country and her life, for years (save for his bi-monthly letters) stings Sadie, but what hurts the most is the divide between her parents, one she refuses to accept.
Refusal - Hinge - Movie - Swings - Mother
That refusal is the hinge on which the entire movie swings, and when her mother takes up with a new resident at their cozy trailer park Cyrus (John Gallagher Jr., ably hiding some big secrets in his tiny camper), the steadfast teenager moves into psychologically damaging territory. Sadie’s interest in war, violence, and guns takes on a new cast when she hits upon the idea of using those skills to spook Cyrus, preserving her mother for her father’s long-rumored (and never-completed) return.
Schloss compellingly combines the rangy wildness of hormonal teenagehood with Sadie’s more terrifying instincts, toeing the line between pissed-off teen and possible psychopath with ease. Her Sadie is both brutally dead-eyed and weirdly charismatic; you simply can’t turn away from her, even when you really, really want to. Yet Griffiths herself turns away from the big, beating...
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