Review: Sharp Stick (2022 Sundance Film Festival)

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Title: Sharp Stick
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Lena Dunham
Starring: Kristine Froseth, Jon Bernthal, Taylour Paige
Runtime: 1 hr 26 mins

What It Is: Sarah Jo (Froseth) is a young woman who sort of disappears into any room she’s in. She never stands out and is very naive. When she begins a relationship with her much older employer’s husband Josh (Bernthal) she will experience a social and sexual awakening. One that will change her forever as she learns more about herself as a fully realized woman. One that is capable of feeling all the various emotions that make us human.

What We Think: This is far and away the worst movie I saw at the Sundance Film Festival in 2022. It’s in the bottom five of all time for the festival. Nothing hits. The script written by director Lena Dunham is just an awful mess. Character intent is not something she understands at even a basic level We meander through 86 minutes and it felt like almost 120. She puts herself in the film as a character that should draw sympathy but because it’s Dunham we definitely do not care. As a director, she struggles to coherently tell her story, and the piece isn’t placed well. I wanted this film to be a redemption arc for Dunham…even if she is pretty despicable. I like giving people the benefit of the doubt. I’m distraught to report that she has instead put together a dud of a film. Wastes a strong cast on bad writing. Even Jon Bernthal in all his charm cannot save this wet turd. I’d rather have a sharp stick jammed anywhere in me than be forced to sit through this calamity again.

Our Grade: F, No redeeming qualities to speak of. Weak in every aspect of its craft there are few films I’ve seen at Sundance I can say are total failures. You can certainly add this one to that list. Lena. Bubby I’m begging you…NEVER direct your own writing again. In fact, don’t do either independently of the other ever again either. What a waste of talent, time, and resources. See anything else.

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