Sam Now (2023) movie review and movie summary

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Sam Now (2023) movie review and movie summary

Most of the film’s focus, however, is on the family Joyce left behind, especially Sam, whose kind smile and open face begin to look more and more ghostly as the story goes on. Much of the first half is about Reid and Sam embarking on a two-man odyssey to find Joyce, playing private detective by diving into search engines and questioning friends and relatives (including Joyce’s mother and aunt).

It certainly never occurred to any of the young narrators that they were doing something that most of their elders would not be sufficiently skilled or emotionally resilient to enough to do. But everything about their quest is astounding, including the nerve and faith required to undertake such a journey; the insightful questions Reid, then in his twenties, asked various interviewees who knew Joyce and were devastated by her disappearance; the raw honesty and insight of the responses he receives, even from subjects who resist his research; and most of all the candor and emotional transparency of his brother, leading man and best friend Sam.

Young Sam died a little inside when his mother left, and compensated by developing a fearless endurance that could be interpreted as self-armoring numbness in retrospect. The longer the movie goes on and the older, taller and more physically confident Sam gets, the more painful it is to see the images of little Sam smiling and laughing because you know how much it hurts. “Alone Now” grows into its title in its final third, after Sam reconnects with his mother and learns that she feels bad about leaving her children and husband, but has no regrets because she felt she was living in lie and must take a radical step Be happy.

It is a remarkably fair and empathetic work, given the agony Joyce put her family through. It’s not accusatory, but in its own gentle way it holds Joyce accountable. Joyce expresses regret for the unhappiness she has caused, but never seeks forgiveness and has a coldness in the way she frames her decision. She often speaks in therapeutic language used in self-defense by people who want to feel more guilty than they say.

But ultimately the film makes a sincere attempt to understand her, mainly by having her tell her own story, then examining the parallels, cycles, scandals and tragedies that repeat themselves across generations of extended families, some of which seem deliberate and preventable. and others of which seem as mysteriously inevitable as curses. Joyce is half-Japanese, raised in secret by a birth mother who was ashamed of her, then placed with a white family in Seattle who live by the creed that the family’s problems are their own and should not be shared with anyone outside of , or maybe even discussed with each other. She was abandoned by her biological mother, then abandoned her own children, and when Sam is an adult, he admits that he cuts people off abruptly to keep them from getting too close, and has lost a meaningful relationship with a young woman for the same reason.

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