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Sundance 2023 Assessment: A Little Prayer – “David Strathairn at his most interesting”

As a father makes an attempt to deal with the wedding problems with his daughter and son, he begins to query his personal talents as a mother or father.

A mysterious singing voice is heard all through the neighbourhood a lot to the pleasure of Invoice and his daughter-in-law Tammy with whom he shares a mutual respect; his son David works on the family-owned enterprise, and has a behavior of getting drunk and coming residence late.  Invoice begins to suspect that David is having an affair with an workplace employee and compounding issues is the arrival of his daughter who’s habitually leaving her husband along with his granddaughter in tow.  David begins to marvel if he has been an excellent father and finds assist from his spouse Venida who serves as his emotional anchor.

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If there’s a comparability to make consider A Little Prayer as a extra soulful model of One thing to Discuss About.  That is David Strathairn at his most interesting as he conveys a person with ethical integrity and an excessive amount of compassion struggling to assist his kids.  One cannot assist however really feel empathy in the direction of him as there are factors that you simply swear David is on the verge of getting a nervous breakdown because the home troubles mount.  Celia Weston because the matriarch Venida supplies a sardonic wit and grounding to the conditions that breaks the dramatic stress.  And Jane Levy does an amazing job as Tammy, the daughter-in-law dearly liked by her in-laws however trapped in a loveless marriage.

Much less efficient are the daughter and son performed by Anna Camp and Will Pullen, and Dascha Polanco because the mistress as they arrive throughout as sketches quite than totally drawn personalities.  There’s a quietness that permits the viewer to ponder what is going on however the tempo is much from being glacial.  A humorous second happens when Venida accuses David of missing consciousness and it seems that he is aware of one thing that she doesn’t. One other superbly performed scene is the heart-to-heart dialog that David and Tammy have whereas consuming lunch collectively on a park bench.  Filmmaker Angus MacLachlan has crafted an excellent reminder that not all the things needs to be centred across the plot so long as you create characters that viewers members really feel their lives have been enriched by attending to know them.

The 2023 Sundance Movie Competition takes place January 19–29, 2023, in particular person and on-line, and for extra info go to

Trevor Hogg is a contract video editor and author who presently resides in Canada; he may be discovered at LinkedIn.

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