Title: Sunny Side Up
MPAA Rating: NR
Director: Mike Melo
Starring: Hunter Davis, Samantha Creed, Alan Pelz-Sharpe
Runtime: 1 hr 26 mins
What It Is: Suffering from severe social anxiety, Gregory Samuel (Davis) takes a month off work and plans to avoid any human interaction for its entirety. His sabbatical takes a turn when his outgoing neighbor Emma (Creed) offers a new perspective on friendship and mental health.
What We Think: Sunny Side Up is an extremely personal look into the mind of someone struggling with anxiety. Davis delivers an equally personal and introspective performance, with his character at odds with himself as often as with others. The story is almost entirely confined to one apartment, much like its protagonist, who moves between disturbing panic attacks and fantasies of leading a “normal” life without having actually moved much at all.
Samantha Creed’s Emma offers a silver lining as well as a bit of comedic relief to both Greg and the audience. Her character is perfectly different and conveniently similar to his, sometimes too perfect to feel real. At times the movie feels predictable, as it seems to follow a pattern of self-deprecation and small victories that leads to the inevitable, yet still dutifully earned and fulfilling ending.
Our Grade: B, Watching this film can at times be painfully awkward. Some interactions between characters feel forced, and even some characters can at times feel forced for a film that is intended to be a realistic depiction of a man’s life. But when it’s at its best, Sunny Side Up it is an enjoyable, touching film that says a lot about mental health and how difficult it can be to live with. It reminds you that these struggles are unique for everyone and that getting help isn’t easy. Emma is not the solution for everyone the way she is for Greg, but Sunny Side Up reminds us that help could be waiting for right next door, you just need to look.