the best films seen in the online edition

As usual, the independent cinema festival proposed works worthy of interest. among others presented the new films by Jennifer Connelly and Jonathan Majors.

It just ended Sundance Film Festival 2023 that we at Comingsoon have followed in the online version. Here are the titles that have received our greatest approval. The order is alphabetical. Enjoy the reading.

The best films presented at the online edition of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival

  • Bad Behaviour
  • Birth/Rebirth
  • Eileen
  • Magazine Dreams
  • My Animal
  • The Night Logan Woke Up
  • radical
  • Run Rabbit Run
  • Shortcomings

Bad Behaviour

Few actresses like Jennifer Connelly they know how to compose characters that are anything but positive, when not downright rejecting, and endow them with a fragility that exposes their human side. The confirmation of his remarkable ability comes with Bad Behaviour Of Alice Englert, debut behind the camera that has its own specific personality. In fact, the approach to the subject unfolds through a filmic detachment of sure impact, capable of making the film an almost surreal comedy, Brechtian if we want to use a “high” term of comparison. This allows the cast to develop very forced characters in a contained way, helping to make the film something healthy strident. Another great actor which Ben Whishaw and Englert herself make up together with Connelly a perfect trio to elevate Bad Behaviour. In the end, what remains impressed is the grim test of the Oscar-winning actress, truly one of the most physically and psychologically demanding tests of her career.


In the Midnight section we found disturbing – and could have been even more – Birth/Rebirth Of Laura Moss, whose story sees a doctor obsessed with his work who experiences a cure against death in an inappropriate way. An all-female affair that sees the protagonists Judy Reyes (remember her in Scrubs?) and above all the always effective Marine Ireland in a ferocious performance, Birth | Rebirth throws a lot of irons into the fire, inserting Frankenstein and David Cronenberg, Roman Polanski and Night of the Living Dead within the plot and package. All these fascinations are however contained in a “small” and all in all effective story, which exploits the livid and suffocating settings to build a sense of physical and mental oppression that gets straight to the point. The film doesn’t scare that much, but that probably wasn’t its primary intent. Yet the ability of horror to unsettle, ask uncomfortable questions, reflect the dark areas of our today like a distorted mirror, this is all. Production of the specialized streaming platform Shudder.


Eileen Of William Oldroyd proved to be one of the most interesting feature films of this edition of Sundance. Set in 1960s Massachusetts, the film begins as a painful coming-of-age story featuring a young woman who works in a correctional facility for minors. The arrival of a maverick and emancipated psychologist brings new enthusiasm to the girl’s monotonous and difficult life. The best of Eileen are undoubtedly the three main actresses: Thomasin McKenzie confirms his remarkable stage presence together with the ability to outline with slight differences of originality a female figure that could otherwise have become rhetoric. Next to her one Anne Hathaway which as always proves to be effective when it has to go over the top. In support Marin Ireland, an interpreter who confirms herself as a character every time able to make her character worthy of note. The screenplay contains a very intriguing twist that almost breaks the film in two, while maintaining a surprising psychological coherence at the end. Eileen displaces for sure, and in the end leaves the viewer with more bitterness in the mouth than normally expected from a film like this.

Magazine Dreams

A Jonathan Mayors brave and brazen is the puzzling protagonist of Magazine Dreams Of Elijah Bynum, a lurid drama that sees a man devoted to bodybuilding see his psychological condition fall apart in the face of a difficult life to say the least. The actor puts his soul and above all his sculpted body into this film which has echoes of Taxi Driver and a staging that is truly determined not to concede anything to the viewer. The film turns out to be a suffocating journey into a universe rarely seen by cinema, staged with expressive power. The screenplay may stretch the plot too much, but it certainly doesn’t lessen the distressing setting. Not an easy film, perhaps a little too “screamed”, but certainly capable of remaining etched in the memory.

My Animal

Notable variation on the theme of lycanthropy is My Animal, always included in the Midnight section. More than the werewolf classics the film directed by Jacqueline Castel indirectly refers to a cult film like The kiss of the panther Of Paul Schrader, as it explores the theme of the protagonist’s denied sexuality with depth and emotional adhesion. The “poor” staging of the film allows the director to work fully on the symbolisms, creating a well-structured and coherent metaphorical vision. My Animal doesn’t scare but captivates, it lets you perceive the inner life of the main character and works effectively on narrative styles. A nice surprise, one of the most convincing of Sundance Online 2023. In the cast, a disturbing one Amandla Stenberg.

The Night Logan Woke Up

The series was presented in the Indie Episodic Program section The Night Logan Woke Upwritten and directed by the talent of Xavier Dolan. Set in a small town in Quebec between 1991 and 2019, the story unfolds around a family group destroyed by a traumatic event that occurred in the past, to which family members – especially the authoritarian mother and the two older brothers – cannot they knew how to come to terms psychologically, ruining their own future. The first two episodes were shown to the Sundance Online audience, which confirm Dolan’s ability to work on melodrama by exploiting not only the characters but also settings that know how to reflect the existential condition of the protagonists. The Night Logan Woke Up immerses the figures in dusty, ancient environments, or let them fall into ruin. The author then goes even further in representing yet another complicated family situation, very often flirting with metaphorical horror. The result is more than convincing, an effervescent and very often painful mix of staging and vibrant interpretations of the cast.


Without a doubt, one of the films that the public and critics have most agreed upon in this edition of the festival was radical Of Christopher Zalla, based on a true story that began about ten years ago. Professor Sergio arrives in one of the worst elementary schools in Mexico (Eugenio Derbez), who chooses to fight against the corruption and laxity of the school system and give his students the opportunity to understand what they really love about teaching. A drama with moments of levity, Radical is a film explicitly “constructed” to obtain consensus, but nevertheless manages to do so gracefully and above all by not at all sweetening the disastrous social and civil state in which the poorest areas of the country find themselves. Despite being a feature film that tries to capture with good feelings. Radical certainly doesn’t sweeten the pill on the situation it tells, and this is probably the greatest value of an excellently written film, endowed with its sobriety yet touching. We wouldn’t be surprised if in the 2024 awards season Radical proves capable of having its say, and with him the protagonist (and co-producer) Derbez, increasingly launched in the United States thanks to the success of TAIL and the TV series Acapulcoavailable at Apple TV+.

Run Rabbit Run

Again in the Midnight section dedicated to thriller or horror genre cinema it was included in the bill Run Rabbit Rundirected by that Doe Reid who for the small screen has worked on successful series such as The Handmaid’s Tale, The Outsiders And The Shining Girls. Her very black psychological drama tells of a woman who, following the death of her father, finds herself facing the ghosts of a painful past that also involve her very young daughter. The strong point of Run Rabbit Run is undoubtedly its charismatic protagonist Sarah Snook (Succession), who provides his character of the same name with the necessary mix of fragility and fortitude to guarantee psychological depth and emotional grip. For the rest of the film, already purchased by Netflix, develops effectively in the first part while it suffers from a certain repetitiveness in the second, once the psycho-physical massacre game is more or less revealed. However, Run Rabbit Run remains a rather effective genre product, above all because the viewer is left with some basic uncertainties which ultimately turn out to be proactive rather than harmful.


The actor’s directorial debut is amusing Randall Parkknown above all among the public for successful series such as Fresh off the boat And Wanda Vision. His Shortcomings is the film adaptation of a cult graphic novel that tells the human vicissitudes of a group of people of Asian origin in the Bay Area. At the center of the story is above all Ben, who continues to live day by day an existence made up of precarious romantic relationships, an uncertain professional future and the total lack of energy to change things. The first part of Shortcomings, the more comical one, works better as it makes a main character sympathetic on the whole who instead hides small big daily hypocrisies, which come out as the story develops. Thus the film – written by the author of the comic himself Adrian Tomine – turns out to be much less of a comedy than the surface suggests. The operation was successful, witty, probably “light” on the verge of vacuous, but the fact remains that watching the film certainly doesn’t get boring.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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