About Sunny

A feature film by Bryan Wizemann


About Sunny



World Premiere Toronto International Film Festival
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize IFF Boston
Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Female Lead

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize IFF Boston, About Sunny stars Lauren Ambrose, Audrey Scott, Dylan Baker, and Penelope Ann Miller. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival where Rex Reed called it a “wrenching but admirably unsentimental film about the bravery of the human condition.” Lauren was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead. Available on demand and digital from Oscilloscope.

Festivals


Toronto International Film Festival

World Premiere

Hamptons International Film Festival

American Premiere

Santa Barbara International Film Festival

West Coast Premiere

Independent Film Festival Boston

Grand Jury Prize for Narrative Feature

Sarasota Film Festival

Narrative Competition

Little Rock Film Festival

Narrative Competition

Rooftop Films

Opening Night Film

Florida Film Festival

Narrative Competition

Oak Cliff Film Festival

Narrative Competition

Berlinale European Film Market

Official Selection

Naples Film Festival

Official Selection

Independent Spirit Awards

Nominated for Best Female Lead

Watch The Film



Fandor

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iTunes

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Amazon

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Oscilloscope

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SundanceNow

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Sony

Rent from Sony

Reviews


“Positively devastating”

Rex Reed, The New York Observer

“Holds you in suspense the whole way”

Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com

“Intense, emotional”

Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter

“Boldly understated”

Ray Pride, newcityfilm.com

“Emotionally moving and stylistically impressive”

Josef Woodard, The Santa Barbara Independent

“A masterpiece”

Rodney Piatt, Rodney & Roger

“Clear-eyed and unsentimental ”

Susanna Locascio, Hammer to Nail

“Smart, suspenseful, intimate”

Kim Voynar, Movie City News
(Named a Top Ten Notable Indie of 2011)

“A jaw-dropping, entirely magnetic spectacle”

Robert Bell, Exclaim

“Something of a revelation”

Paul Bower, Tiny Mix Tapes

“Truly and totally captivated”

Steve Schneider, Orlando Weekly

“Chilling and illuminating ”

Stuart Henderson, popmatters.com

“Remarkably observant”

Matt Fagerholm, HollywoodChicago.com

“Convincingly drawn and artfully performed”

Julian Carrignton, Sound on Sight

“A powerful portrayal ”

David Silverberg, Digital Journal

“Modern tragedy and triumph”

Royal Young, The Low Down

“Inevitable and important”

Toby Moses, Lost in the Multiplex




“Finally, trembling with vulnerability, the sensitive and versatile Lauren Ambrose is positively devastating in About Sunny, playing a jobless, poverty-stricken single mother struggling to survive in the phony swirl of Las Vegas. —She is heartbreaking without a shred of self-pity, and About Sunny is a sad, wrenching but admirably unsentimental film about the bravery of the human condition that truly deserves a bigger audience. ”

Rex Reed, The New York Observer

“Ambrose is on-screen for virtually every second, emanating a gorgeous, doomed charisma, and holds you in suspense the whole way...it's a worthwhile recession-era drama built around a terrific performance.”

Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com

“This intense, emotional film from director Bryan Wizemann captures the stress bearing down on many American families during these tough economic times in a way that few others have, or have even attempted to. —Ambrose's performance, in particular, is generating considerable buzz.”

Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter

“It’s hard right now.” Bryan Wizemann’s boldly understated, unsentimental About Sunny(aka Think of Me) showcases Lauren Ambrose in the role of Angela, a volatile, negligent single mother in nocturnal Las Vegas who makes one bad choice after another and the problems that it leads to with her daughter, Sunny (Audrey Scott, just a little bit goofy and ever so genuine). But Angela’s no bad guy, the bad guy’s there at every turn, the wolf at the door: the quotidian of contemporary American working-class poverty. “It’s hard right now”: that line, proud but quietly desperate, burns like fire. Locations and each element of décor and costume quietly announce: “It’s hard right now.” Ambrose shoulders Angela’s dread with dignity but also a presentiment of doom. Keenly observed, superbly acted, cleanly framed and shot, it’s still no surprise that a relentless experience like About Sunny has taken nearly two years to arrive on-screen. It’s hard to break a taboo like depicting the everyday humiliations of America’s swelling ranks of the working poor. The film’s final panorama is a beauty and a marvel, a horizon where light may just be breaking, where traffic lights may stay green, where day is promised over the glittering, populated horizon. I wept.”

Ray Pride, newcityfilm.com

“Lauren Ambrose has a career-high turn in About Sunny, writer-director Bryan Wizemann’s smart, suspenseful, intimate film about a single mother struggling to keep her head above water while raising her young daughter.”

Kim Voynar, Movie City News
(Named a Top Ten Notable Indie of 2011)

“An impressively unsentimental lead performance... This often feels like a European art movie (particularly Erick Zonca's The Dreamlife of Angels) in its naturalistic detail and propulsive editing, though writer-director Bryan Wizemann localizes this style with resourceful location work and sharp, idiomatic dialogue.”

Ben Sachs, chicagoreader.com

“Continuing with his directorial trajectory of deconstructing the mythology of Las Vegas, revealing horrific realities beneath the exaggerated, flashy, hyper-consumerist veneer, Bryan Wizemann's sophomore outing, About Sunny, may very well be 2011's Frozen River, featuring an intense and uncompromising Oscar-calibre performance from Lauren Ambrose, while confronting notions of the American dream. Only, unlike Frozen River, this shocking and devastating drama is actually a jaw-dropping, entirely magnetic spectacle of indie filmmaking beyond the amazing central performance.”

Robert Bell, Exclaim

“Ambrose’s performance in this film is something of a revelation. ...Wizeman grasps intuitively that the impact of Angela’s increasingly pathetic acts of desperation is directly related to how understatedly and naturalistically he can manage to present them. The inevitable tragedy of About Sunny is in no way less compelling for its inevitability, and Wizeman and his crew deserve no small amount of praise for managing the level of intensity and integrity they did from start to finish. This is a film capable of empathizing with its pitiable subjects without demanding that we pity them, offering us an inspiring and honest treatment of troubled characters and the unresolved problems that burden them.”

Paul Bower, Tiny Mix Tapes

“...an emotionally moving and stylistically impressive piece of work by writer-director Bryan Wizeman. Lauren Ambrose does a masterful job portraying a single mother in Las Vegas, waking up on the “other” side of Vegas. She struggles to support her young daughter down on the lower rungs of the 99% but with dignity intact, and when a temptation to alleviate her fiscal woes at a personal cost, the tension is palpable, as it is in the film generally. But there’s a strong heart and naturalistic artistic vision which keeps this small, alluring film engaging.”

Josef Woodard, The Santa Barbara Independent

“In Wizemann’s clear-eyed and unsentimental telling, Angela is neither victim nor saint. She’s just another woman on the verge. —The film’s politics are subtle, inferred in the small failures that force the humiliating downward spiral of the working poor. —But by resisting judgment, Wizemann’s moving film raises interesting questions about the claims of parenthood, privilege, and the complicated ethics of love.”

Susanna Locascio, Hammer to Nail

“The movie is a minefield of potential calamities that will have every audience member with an ounce of a protective instinct on the edge of his or her seat; frequently, Angela is the only one in the theater who can't see the potential consequences of her latest rash move. Yet the film refuses to point a finger at her, and won't let us do it, either. Instead, we find ourselves clinging desperately to the increasingly slim odds that she'll be able to hold onto her 7-year-old Sunny (Audrey Scott, in a heartbreaking turn that more than holds its own with Ambrose's Independent Spirit-nominated portrayal). Likewise, Mark Schwartzbard's cinematography is flat-out gorgeous yet never romanticizes the often squalid goings-on in writer-director Bryan Wizemann's deeply knowing script. I can't remember the last time I was so truly and totally captivated by an FFF feature – and maybe by a movie in general.”

Steve Schneider, Orlando Weekly

“Remarkably observant... The film ultimately proves to be an enormously rewarding one, in that it forces us to see past Angela’s faults and regard the wounded humanity beneath. It’s so easy to sit back and judge one’s actions. It enables us to view others from a canted angle that shields us from any reflection of ourselves. Films like About Sunny shatter this sort of willful ignorance, and for that, we should be grateful.”

Matt Fagerholm, HollywoodChicago.com

“Director Bryan Wizemann builds on small revealing moments to a grinding climax on the human cost of the recession. It’s Ambrose’s best performance yet in this intimate film about the most pressing issue in America.”

Tony Wong, Toronto.com

“Bryan Wizemann’s About Sunny is a noteworthy thematic companion, and a compelling exercise in American neo-neo-realism. —characters that are convincingly drawn and artfully performed, and its sensitive evocation of a struggle that is all too believable.”

Julian Carrignton, Sound on Sight

“Ambrose is marvelous as Angela, able to sustain a delicate, about-to-crack facade until the film’s wrenching finale. More impressive, though, is the character of Sunny. Finally a film gives us a gawky kid character whose social and physical awkwardness doesn’t come across as precocious.”

John Semley, Torontoist

“Scott's performance as eight-year-old Sunny is intriguing for its simplicity. -As Angela, the wide-eyed Ambrose brings a ferocious intensity to her role. —it's a powerful portrayal of the despair many American families are facing today, and if it's too dark to stomach, then the film did its job.”

David Silverberg, Digital Journal

“It's well-written, competently directed, has a trio of great performances at its core from Ambrose, Baker and Scott… At a time of great hardship across the world films like this are inevitable, and important.”

Toby Moses, Lost in the Multiplex

“As a tour around the edges of third world America—a place where children wear the same cheap clothes day in and out, the car never starts, the credit card is king, and the carwash is the best entertainment money can buy—this is a chilling and illuminating film.”

Stuart Henderson, popmatters.com

“Bryan Wizemann’s film is sensitively done. Nearly all the dramatic choices seem the right ones. No one is a monster, the conditions of “constant [economic] pressure” are monstrous. —The actors perform admirably and honestly, and the details of life are accurately presented. In our talk, Wizemann expressed an interest in the drama of the everyday and in his new film has demonstrated that interest artistically and movingly.”

David Walsh, wsws.org

“Ambrose plays Angela with defiant dignity and Audrey Scott gives a powerful performance as her daughter. Also starring Dylan Baker (Happiness) and Penelope Ann Miller (The Artist) as interlopers whose supposedly good intentions push the limits of what we’ll do for love and money, Wizemann’s film becomes both modern tragedy and triumph.”

Royal Young, The Low Down

“That all serves Wizemann's story, which is really quite well-told. The plot arises very organically from a couple early comments from Max, and Wizemann deliberately avoids spelling anything out, and doing that while maintaining Angela's point of view lets the audience maintain the impression that either she's getting swept up in something or working some pretty strong denial and/or rationalization. Some of the foreshadowing is elegant despite being obvious, and he's able to work one pivotal event so that afterward I don't know whether it's an example of Angela's suspect judgment or someone moving the story along but think it works either way. A large chunk of the movie's second half takes place in Angela's car, which both serves as her reflection and emphasizes just how rootless and lacking resources she feels.”

Jay Seaver, efilmcritic.com

“Bryan Wizemann doesn't start About Sunny at a boil, he never announces that he's created a masterpiece, but by slowly building to an eruptive boil (much in the same manner as recent thriller The Sound of My Voice), we as an audience arrive at its end stunned by the masterwork we've just sat witness to.”

Rodney Piatt, Rodney & Roger

“Bryan Wizemann’s drama sees Wendy and Lucy and raises it: its desperate, cash-strapped female protagonist also abandons her dog to a better life without her, but only as a rehearsal for attempting to do the same thing with her young daughter. ...Wizemann’s knack for staging and locations, playing down Las Vegas glamour in favour of believably faded neighbourhood backdrops. And, at the other end of the visual spectrum, he rescues the car wash from being a locus of existential dread a la Egoyan, Haneke, or Cronenberg—a minor accomplishment, but we’ll take what we can get.”

Adam Naymanm, Cinema Scope