The 14 year-old Marsai Martin has already captured the hearts of the masses as Diane on the ABC-hit sitcom Black-ish, and now she’s created a new vehicle to showcase her impressive talent in Little. Based on the concept of the 1988 film Big starring Tom Hanks, Little follows Jordan Sanders, played by the always wonderful Regina Hall, as she juggles the pressures of running a tech company and remaining successful. Unfortunately for her staff, which includes her assistant April played by Issa Rae, and anyone else she encounters, Jordan torments anyone in her path and disregards any sort of manners typically attributed to speaking to people after being bullied in school for being herself as a kid. Once she’s transformed into the little version of herself, introducing Martin, by a little girl she bullies, Jordan, with April’s reluctant help, must relearn the magic of being a child with plenty of laughs along the way.
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When Andrew Bujalski released his debut Funny Ha Ha in 2002, it was not evident yet that he would forever change the face of an entire subgenre. The film spawned a movement that is often not particularly adored, but whose spirit is undeniably injected into the majority of modern American independent films – the Mumblecore.
Most films of this genre, heavily shaped by their feeling of structural spontaneity, rejection of conventional storytelling beats and DIY-aesthetic (in the same vein as the Berliner Schule and the Dogma movement), focus on creating a feeling of extreme realism and intimacy. Bujalski, less successfully, repeated that formula two more times with Mutual Appreciation (2005) and Beeswax (2009), until he showed his will to experiment with the Mumblecore form. With his refreshingly weird and insanely original Computer Chess (2013), a niche masterpiece that feels somehow isolated (for the lack of a better word) in its attempt at cinematic storytelling, he created a wholly original subversion of the genre – an absurd period piece about a programming tournament with the goal to create a computer, which is able to beat a human being at chess.
In 2015, Bujalski got a shot at Results, a somewhat bigger project, starring Cobie Smulders and Guy Pearce. It was the first step of a departure that aimed to reach a broader audience and which finally hit a climax in the newest project of his rich and inventive filmography. Unfolding over about 24 hours in the life of a working-class woman, Support the Girls is a vital, entertaining and accessible film that fits into the rare bridge between auteur filmmaking and mainstream delight.
Continue reading “‘Support the Girls’ Is a Vigorous Triumph Both as a Mainstream and Auteur Effort”