Sadie Sink deserves better than this lifetime movie

Freshly after her acclaimed role as Max Mayfield in Stranger things Season 4 and a notable opposite role Brendan Fraser in Darren Aronofskyhopes for an Oscar Whale, Sadie Sink becomes one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actresses. It more than deserves, like the latest installment Stranger things she greatly expanded her role as Max and her big stage was set on Kate BushRunning Up That Hill was one of the most discussed scenes of the year. Her friends sang high praise for her, Winona Ryder he even called her “the next one.” Meryl Streep. “Enter Dear Zoeindependent production based on Filip BrodaYA’s novel of the same name, which was shot in October 2019. After watching the movie, you have to think about it, maybe it should just stay on the shelf.


Dear Zoe follows Tess DeNunzio (Sink), a teenager who lives with her mother and stepfather (Jessica Capshaw and Justin Bartha) in the outskirts of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her relationship with her family has grown extremely strained since the death of her half-sister Zoe in the 9/11 knockdown. Tired of the cards her life gave her, Tess decides to pack her things and live with her biological father Nick (Theo Rossi), a rough but kind man. During her stay, she falls in love with neighboring Nick, Jimmy Freeze (Kweku Collins), an aspiring musician to whom he begins to open up.

Dear Zoe was clearly done on a very low budget and even with a few recognizable names involved in the movie it would be hard to blame him for looking the way he looks. But in an era where we’ve seen small-budget movies that look stunning on screen, this movie has the all-too-bright aesthetic of the original movie for life and an entire melodrama of one of them. The story itself sounds emotionally empty, with no sense of direction. It’s a collection of quirks, from the inclusion of what seems inconsiderate 9/11 events, cute puppies, back-stabbing friends, and date montages at an amusement park adorned with exhilarating pop music, Dear Zoe it has it all. Each fictional beat seems to be drawn from better (or slightly better) material, which is shocking as its source material – published in 2005 – has been met with great recognition and high praise. The book seems to make this story in a much more nuanced way as compared to this movie which seems to be trying to be something with John Green a novel, but told in the spirit of a Dollar Tree counterfeit. Even with a short runtime of just 95 minutes, Dear Zoethe inconsistency makes the pace unimaginably slow.

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It’s clear the filmmaker Gren Wells and writers Marc Lhormer and Melissa Martin we made Sweet Zoe with the best of intentions. Even when the emotional beats miss the target, it’s easy to say that they wanted to tell a sincere and honest portrayal of grief and how we deal with the loss of loved ones, but that just doesn’t work. The film cannot decide whether it should be a story of our grief, reconnection with loved ones, forgiveness, or a simple romance of young adults. Of course, there are ways to balance these topics in a way that is not so confused, but that is not the case Dear Zoe. As the movie moves through the various sub-themes, you soon start to forget how it even got to certain plot points, which makes it seem disturbing.

While Dear Zoe not working as a whole, Sadie Sink, as some might have expected, rises above what she got in the script and gives a fantastic role as Tess. Like her previous roles, she has such a natural on-screen presence and it is very easy to feel empathy for her characters. Her chemistry with other stars is a hit, but the scenes she shares with Theo Rossi and Jessica Capshaw are the ones that have any sense of authenticity. Speaking of which, Rossi also turns to decent acting as Nick, while his casting as Father Sink is a bit weird, he brings a lot of warmth and heart to the role and carries a mountain of charisma that feels almost effortless.

If there is any reason to give Dear Zoe chance, it is thanks to these two central appearances that keep the film from being impossible to watch. Justin Bartha, who proved to be a very gifted actor, has little to do in the film, other than the banal, emotionally distant role of his stepfather (you know that). The only time emotions actually kind of hit Dear Zoe is in the scene near the end of the movie between Capshaw and Sink. Not only does it remind viewers of how we got to where we were in the story, but it is one of the few instances where anything can be felt about the movie as a whole.

Dear Zoe he has his heart in the right place, but it’s about creating one too many kitschy moments for a character and trying to be too many things at once keeps him from being noteworthy. This is clearly not a career ending movie for the people involved, far from it as previous work by this creative team has proven their talent, but it’s also not something that will work for most viewers.

Rating: D +

Dear Zoe will hit theaters and services on demand on November 4.


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