Sundance Film Festival: 20 Buzziest Movies For Sale in 2023 – TheWrap

The festival’s in-person return to Park City features new movies from Randall Park, Justin Chon, Susanna Fogel and more
From L-R: “Passages,” “Cat Person” and “Magazine Dreams” / Courtesy of Sundance Institute
Following two virtual festivals due to the pandemic, Sundance returns in full force to Park City as an in-person event. TheWrap takes a look at 20 of the buzziest movies for sale, featuring stars like Jonathan Majors and Anne Hathaway, as well as a number of exciting directorial debuts.
“The Accidental Getaway Driver”
 
“James Bond” producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson executive produce first-time feature director Sing J. Lee’s thriller about an elderly Vietnamese driver, who during a routine pickup is taken hostage at gunpoint by three recently escaped Orange County convicts.
 
Screening in the U.S. Competition category.
“Bad Behaviour”
 
Jennifer Connelly stars as Lucy, a former child actress who heads to a retreat to seek enlightenment from her guru Elon Bello (Ben Whishaw), while worrying about her daughter Dylan who is a stuntwoman. From first-time feature director Alice Englert.

Screening in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition category.
“Cat Person”
 
A look at modern dating which has an older art house film lover Robert played by “Succession” actor Nicholas Braun pursuing younger college student Margot, played by “Coda” star Emilia Jones. “Booksmart” co-writer Susanna Fogel directs inspired by the viral New Yorker short story of the same name.
 
Screening in the Premieres category.
“Drift”
 
Cynthia Erivo stars as Jacqueline, the formerly wealthy daughter of a government loyalist, who fled war-torn Liberia and finds herself struggling to survive on a Greek island. Jacqueline builds up a friendship with American tour guide Callie (Alia Shawkat). Anthony Chen (“Ilo Ilo”) directs based on the novel “A Marker to Measure Drift” by Alexander Maksik.
 
Screening in the Premieres category.
“Deep Rising”
 
Matthieu Rytz returns to Sundance  after 2018’s “Anote’s Ark” with a Jason Momoa-narrated documentary that
“exposes the machinations of mining startup The Metals Company, which extracts metals from the deep seafloor that are deemed essential to the electric battery revolution.” Momoa also serves as executive producer.
 
Screening in the Premieres category.
“Eileen”
 
Set in 1960s Boston and based on the book of the same name by Ottessa Moshfegh, “Eileen” centers on a peculiar young woman (Thomasin McKenzie) who works at a local prison, and whose life is upended when an “intoxicating” woman (Anne Hathaway) joins the staff. William Oldroyd (“Lady Macbeth”) directs.
 
Screening in the Premieres category.
“Fair Play”
 
Emily (Phoebe Dynevor) and Luke (Alden Ehrenreich) are a young engaged couple who can’t get enough of each other, but complications ensue when an unexpected promotion at a cutthroat hedge fund pushes their relationship to the brink, threatening to unravel far more than their recent engagement. The psychological thriller hails from first-time feature director Chloe Domont.
 
Screening in the U.S. Competition category.
“Fairyland”
 
Based on Alysia Abbott’s 2013 memoir, “Fairyland” centers on a young girl who recounts growing up in San Francisco in the ’70s and ’80s with her gay dad. From first-time director (and former VP of Production at FOX) Andrew Durham and producer Sofia Coppola, the film stars Scoot McNairy and Emilia Jones.
 
Screening in the Premieres category.
“Flora and Son”
 
“Sing Street” and “Once” filmmaker John Carney’s latest film centers on Flora (Eve Hewson), a single young mother living in Dublin who is at war with her son, Max. Trying to find a hobby for Max, she rescues a guitar from a dumpster and befriends an online guitar teacher (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). The film features original songs from Carney and Gary Clark.
 
Screening in the Premieres category.
“Jamojaya”
 
Writer and director Justin Chon (“Gook”) returns to Sundance with a drama about an Indonesian rapper with a rising career who hires a US manager and label to take over from his suffocating stage dad.
 
Screening in the Premieres category.
“A Little Prayer”
 
Angus MacLachlan, whose 2005 film “Junebug” was awarded a Special Jury Prize for Amy Adams’ performance, is back with another searing family dramedy. Bill (David Strathairn) faces an ethical dilemma when he begins to suspect that his son (Will Pullen) is being unfaithful to his wife (Jane Levy). As he tries to navigate an increasingly stressful situation (the whole family lives under one roof), Bill is forced to examine intergenerational patterns of behavior.
 
Screening in the Premieres category.
“Magazine Dreams”
 
Jonathan Majors takes center stage as Killian Maddox, an emotionally turbulent grocery store worker with a bodybuilding obsession. Against doctors’ warnings, he’ll stop at nothing to achieve his dream of becoming a star in this story of hypermasculinity and hunger for connection. “Hot Summer Nights” filmmaker Elijah Bynum wrote and directed. The cast features Haley Bennett, Taylour Paige, Mike O’Hearn, Harrison Page and Harriet Samson Harris. 
 
Screening in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category.
“Passages”
 
A German filmmaker named Tomas (Franz Rogowski) and a young Parisian woman Agathe (Adèle Exarchopoulos) strike up an affair that gets more complicated when Tomas’ husband Martin (Ben Whishaw) cheats back. “Passages” is filmmaker Ira Sachs’ eighth film to play at Sundance. His film “Forty Shades of Blue” won the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize in 2005.
 
Screening in the Premieres category.
“The Pod Generation”
 
In Sophie Barthes’ (“Madame Bovary”) third feature, Emilia Clarke and Chiwetel Ejiofor play a New York couple living in the near future. Alvy and Rachel clash when she’s admitted to the Womb Center, described in the synopsis as offering couples “a convenient (and shareable) maternity by way of detachable artificial wombs, or pods.” Barthes’ satire of technology and modern parenthood is this year’s winner of Sundance’s Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize.
 
Screening in the Premieres category.
“Run Rabbit Run”
 
“Succession”s Sarah Snook replaced Elisabeth Moss as the lead in this horror-thriller about matriarchy and cursed birthday gifts. Sarah (Snook) is a fertility doctor whose young daughter Mia (Lily LaTorre) begins acting strangely, demanding to meet her long-lost grandmother, after a rabbit mysteriously shows up on her doorstep. Daina Reed, a director on series like “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Shining Girls,” directs from a script by Hannah Kent.
 
Screening in the Midnight category.
“Scrapper”
 
Fresh off starring in “Triangle of Sadness,” Harris Dickinson plays an absent father who unexpectedly shows up to parent his scrappy 12-year-old daughter (Lola Campbell) after her mother passes away. The film marks the feature debut of London-based filmmaker and Sundance alum Charlotte Regan. 
 
Screening in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition category.
“Shortcomings”
 
Actor-comedian Randall Park makes his directorial debut with this examination of interpersonal relationships and the multiplicity of Asian-American identity. “After Yang” star Justin H. Min is Ben, a Bay Area filmmaker who is forced to grapple with what he actually wants in life when his girlfriend Miko (Ally Maki) moves across the country. Sherry Cola plays his queer best friend Alice, among a cast featuring Sonoya Mizuno, Tavi Gevinson, Debby Ryan, Timothy Simons and more. Adrian Tomine adapted the screenplay from his celebrated graphic novel of the same name.
 
Screening in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category.
“Sometimes I Think About Dying”
 
Based on the short film of the same name that played at Sundance in 2019, “Sometimes I Think About Dying” stars Daisy Ridley as an office drone drifting her way through life. Fran’s world starts to turn again when a new employee Robert (“Ramy”s Dave Merheje) takes an interest in her. In addition to Merheje, TV talents Meg Stalter (“Hacks”) and Brittany O’Grady (“The White Lotus”) round out the cast. Rachel Lambert directs from a script by the short film’s writer-director Stefanie Abel Horowitz, as well as her co-writers Kevin Armento and Katy Wright-Mead.
 
Screening in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category.
“The Starling Girl”
 
From writer-director Laurel Parmet, “The Starling Girl” is a coming-of-age tale about a teenage girl growing up Christian fundamentalist in rural Kentucky. Caught between her mother and youth pastor Owen (“Top Gun: Maverick”s Lewis Pullman), Jem Starling (Eliza Scanlen of “Little Women,” “Babyteeth”) grapples with her emerging sexuality and sense of unbelonging in her community. Jimmi Simpson, Austin Abrams and Wren Schmidt also star.
 
Screening in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category.
“Theater Camp”
 
In their feature directorial debut, Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman helm this comedy about a kids’ theater camp in upstate New York. When AdirondACTS’ founder (Amy Sedaris) goes into a coma, the staff must collaborate with her “crypto bro” son (Jimmy Tatro) to keep it from shutting down. Gordon and Lieberman wrote the script with Ben Platt and Noah Galvin, based on their 2020 short film of the same name. The cast is a who’s who of comedic talent: Sedaris, Tatro, Gordon, Galvin and Platt star alongside Patti Harrison, Ayo Edebiri, Owen Thiele, “Minari”s Alan Kim and more.
 
Screening in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category.
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