Review: Potato Dreams of America (SXSW 2021)


Title: Potato Dreams of America
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Wes Hurley
Starring: Tyler Bocock, Marya Sea Kaminski, Dan Lauria
Runtime: 1 hr 35 mins

What It Is: Potato (Bocock) is a young boy living in the Soviet Union near the tail end of the communist regime. He loves his mother and American cinema. His young mother Lena (Sara Barbieri) is trying to get away from the U.S.S.R. because as a doctor she’s seen the disturbing nature of the communist leadership. Now a mail-order bride and a little bit older Lena (Kaminski) and her son have made it to America but it’s Potato who’s harboring a secret.

What We Think: This film is hilarious, surreal, and a true gem. Potato’s story is one that I think will click for a lot of people as they watch this. Dan Lauria is freaking excellent and Marya Sea Kaminski is the mother any of us would adore having. Wes Hurley’s direction and writing are the true stars of this film. This one was a personal venture for him I’m sure. That passion for this project really shines through and crafts a dark comedy about growing up that will sit well with so many.

Our Grade: A-, This is one of those times when a film deserve to be seen by the masses. It probably won’t be and that’s what get me disappointed. Nonetheless I am of the belief that this film can offer people experiencing the same situations and feelings as Potato some ounce of solace. The importance of what’s being said and done is incredible. I think the direction as I mentioned is so unique and gives the film such life in a dire situation. Likewise the love for film and in particular filmmaking and filmmakers like Greg Araki is pretty wonderful to see.

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