MPAA Rating: Unrated
Director: Suzi Yoonessi
Starring: Charlene deGuzman, John Hawkes, Melissa Leo
Runtime: 1 hr 20 mins
What It Is: Joy (deGuzman) has not only attachment and intimacy issues but a sex addiction. One that’s cost her her job on a children’s program, her apartment and her boyfriend a fellow child show actor Ben (Paul James). Now as she enters a 12 step program with her new sponsor Maddie (Leo) Joy strikes up an unlikely musical kinship with Maddie’s brother Jim (Hawkes). Through this perhaps the two unlikely friends can help one and other with the issues they have.
What We Think: Charlene deGuzman is a complete joy here (pardon my pun) to watch. Her character manages quite the arc in only an 80-minute runtime. It’s quality though, not quantity. Through music and raw emotion, we get to experience the trials this addiction puts Joy through. Likewise, Jim’s struggles with his sister are front and center. John Hawkes is one of those character actors that is fantastic is almost everything. Like a Richard Jenkins of sorts. There’s something about his turn in this that makes you want to, much like Joy, be his friend. deGuzman plays the duality of Joy well as the arc commences at one point making us really dislike her and the next just hoping she’ll play that next tune with Jim.
Our Grade: A-, Something about this film struck a chord with me. Once again excuse the pun. Musically it’s a joy. In a different way from something like A Star is Born or La La Land. More in line with Band Aid or Hearts Beat Loud. If you read either of those reviews you know how we felt about them you’ll know how this brought me much joy. deGuzman is stellar. Hawkes is fantastic and the story being told is one that feels modern and new even if it’s packaging says otherwise.