Review: ‘Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City,’ starring Kaya Scodelario, Hannah John-Kamen, Robbie Amell, Tom Hopper, Avan Jogia, Donal Logue and Neal McDonough

November 22, 2021

by Carla Hay

Avan Jogia and Kaya Scodelario in “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” (Photo by Shane Mahood/Screen Gems)

“Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City”

Directed by Johannes Roberts

Culture Representation: Taking place in 1998 in the fictional Midwestern town of Raccoon City, the horror flick “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few multiracial people) representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: A woman in her 20s returns to her childhood hometown of Raccoon City to visit her cop brother, only to discover that Raccoon City will soon be overtaken by zombies and is the target of a more sinister plan. 

Culture Audience: “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” will appeal primarily to fans of the “Resident Evil” franchise and anyone who doesn’t mind watching a predictable and silly horror flick.

Robbie Amell, Chad Rook, Hannah John-Kamen and Tom Hopper in “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” (Photo by Shane Mahood/Screen Gems)

When will the makers of bad zombie films learn that gory doesn’t always equal scary? “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” has plenty of gore but absolutely nothing terrifying or imaginative. It’s just a ridiculous rehash of all the things of people hate the most about terrible horror movies: Shallow characters who make dumb decisions; unrealistic action scenes; and muddled storytelling that fails to be engaging.

By now, the “Resident Evil” movie series (which is based on the “Resident Evil” video games) has such a tarnished reputation for being low-quality junk that audiences should expect that any movie with the words “resident evil” in the title will be nothing but schlock. But schlock can be entertaining if it’s done the right way. Unfortunately, “Resident Evil: Raccoon City” is more of the same disappointing garbage.

Paul W.S. Anderson, the writer/director of most of the “Resident Evil” movies, is not the writer/director of “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City,” but he is an executive producer. Instead, Johannes Roberts wrote and directed “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City,” a prequel that starts off with the most tiresome cliché of tiresome clichés in a horror movie: The “fake-out freak-out” scene where something frightening is supposed to be happening. But surprise! It was only someone’s nightmare. This is how the movie’s two sibling main characters are introduced.

Claire Redfield (played by Kaya Scodelario) and her older brother Chris Redfield (played by Robbie Amell) are first seen as children in the Raccoon City Orphanage, where they have been living since their parents died in a car accident. Claire is about 8 years old, while Chris is about 10. Raccoon City is in an unnamed U.S. state in the Midwest. (“Resident Evil: Raccoon City” was actually filmed in Canada, in the Ontario cities of Sudbury and Hamilton.)

While at the orphanage, which looks more like hospital in a war zone, it’s nighttime, and Claire is woken up by someone who seems to have touched her. Viewers will see a gnarly and dirty hand with long fingernails outstretched as if it’s going to hurt Claire, but the hand suddenly pulls back.

Claire tells Chris what she thinks she saw. “She’s here again!” Claire says in an alarmed voice. Chris tells Claire that whatever Claire saw, it was probably her imagination. However, Claire is convinced that something strange is in the orphanage. She takes a look around the orphanage to investigate.

And sure enough, crouched in the corner of a room in a makeshift tent is a mutant-looking woman, with matted hair and distorted physical features. It’s the same woman who tried to wake up Claire. This severely disfigured woman, who doesn’t look entirely human, is wearing a wristband with the name Lisa Trevor (played by Marina Mazepa). Claire now knows this woman’s name.

Instead of screaming or running away, like most people would do, Claire calmly asks, “Where do you live?” The woman writes down on a piece of paper: “Below.” Suddenly, the orphanage’s resident doctor appears and startles Claire by asking her: “What are you doing, little girl?” It’s then that Claire screams out loud, and the scene cuts to the adult Claire waking up because this entire childhood scene was supposed to be a nightmare.

It’s now 1998, and Claire is now in her late 20s. Her nightmare happened while she was napping in the passenger seat of a truck. She’s a hitchhiker on her way to visit Chris. And the sleazy truck driver (played by Pat Thornton) who’s giving her this ride is trying to put some moves on her, but she’s clearly not interested. Don’t expect this movie to reveal what Claire is doing with her life, but she obviously doesn’t have the money to rent a car, take a taxi or hire a car service.

It’s pouring rain at night, as it often does in horror movies when people are driving on a deserted road and this next thing happens: Someone suddenly appears out of nowhere in front of the automobile, like a ghostly figure. In this movie, the wannabe road-kill stranger is a woman, and the truck driver ends up hitting her because he couldn’t swerve away fast enough.

When the trucker and Claire get out of the truck, the bloodied woman hisses like the zombie that she is, and she runs away into a nearby wooded area. Meanwhile, the trucker has a dog that gets out of the truck too. The dog licks some of the zombie’s blood off of the street, so you know what’s going to happen to the dog later in the movie.

Somehow, Claire makes it to Chris’ home. Instead of seeing if he’s home, she just breaks into the house like a thief. It turns out that she hasn’t seen or spoken to Chris for five years, and her visit is unannounced, but it’s still no reason to break into his house. It’s just an example of how stupid this movie is. Chris is home and is shocked to see Claire, who tells him sarcastically that he’s not a very good cop if he doesn’t have good security for his home.

Claire notices a framed photo in Chris’ house that seems to disturb her. He’s in the photo with the same scientist/doctor who frightened Claire in her nightmare. This scientist really exists and he’s a menacing person from Claire’s past. His name is William Birkin (played by Neal McDonough), who is the movie’s obvious villain. (He’s got plenty of sneers, smirks and crazy-eyed stares to make it obvious.)

Claire’s immediate reaction is repulsion when she finds out that William has become a father figure/mentor to Chris. A flashback in the movie later shows why she thinks William is evil. Chris, on the other hand, completely trusts William. Chris tells Claire that William helped Chris out a lot in life, and William is the closest thing that Chris has to family. Of course, since the movie telegraphs so early that William is an evil scientist, there’s no suspense at all when his “secret” is revealed.

It’s explained in some captions on screen that Raccoon City used to be a thriving community. The city’s biggest employer was a pharmaceutical company called Umbrella Corporation, which had its headquarters in Raccoon City. However, a scandal nearly destroyed the company. And now, Raccoon City is a shadow of its former self. The only people who have remained in Raccoon City are some employees of Umbrella and “people who are too poor to leave.”

It’s revealed a little later in the movie that Claire ran away from Raccoon City when she was a teenager. Chris somewhat resents her for it because he feels that she abandoned him, and she’s the only biological family that he has. Why is Claire back in Raccoon City if she dislikes it so much? She’s had a “premonition” that something bad is going to happen there, and she wants to convince Chris to move out as soon as possible.

She shows Chris a videotape that she has of a former Umbrella employee named Ben Bertolucci (played by Josh Cruddas), who claims to be a whistleblower exposing some of the company’s secrets. One of the biggest secrets is that Umbrella “poisoned the water” in the area. And there was a “really bad leak” that could do Chernobyl-like damage to the area. Ben says he has information that this explosion will completely destroy Raccoon City by 6 a.m. on the day after Claire has arrived to urge Chris to evacuate.

Most of the action in the movie starts after 11 p.m. on the night before this supposed explosion, and then the climactic part of the movie is close to the 6 a.m. deadline. And where exactly is Ben now? That’s shown in the movie, but in a very haphazard way.

At first, Chris doesn’t think there’s any merit to Ben’s claims. But then, people in Raccoon City start turning into zombies. It becomes a race against time to not only survive the zombies but also try to find a way out of Raccoon City before it supposedly explodes.

This relatively low-budget movie has a relatively small cast of characters. The only people who are seen actively trying to leave Raccoon City are Claire, Chris and Chris’ co-workers in Raccoon City’s small police force. These other cops are:

  • Chief Brian Irons (played by Donal Logue), who’s a loud-mouthed bully.
  • Leon S. Kennedy (played by Avan Jogia), a mild-mannered rookie cop who is the target of Chief Irons’ worst taunting.
  • Jill Valentine (played by Hannah John-Kamen), a sassy extrovert who seems to be attracted to Leon, even though she’s dating another co-worker.
  • Albert Wesker (played by Tom Hopper), who is Jill’s boyfriend and someone who thinks he’s the bravest one on the police force.
  • Richard Aiken (played by Chad Rook), a generic and forgettable cop.

Leaving the city isn’t as easy as it sounds. Government officials have sealed off the roads leading out of the city and have stationed armed security at the borders to prevent anyone from leaving. One of the characters in the movie finds out the hard way about these barriers. The cops try to exit Raccoon City by getting a helicopter from a guy named Brad Vickers (played by Nathan Dales), but that plan doesn’t go smoothly.

And because this movie takes place in 1998, smartphones don’t exist. Needless to say, the landline phones aren’t working during this crisis. There’s brief mention of Internet service, but this is in the days of dial-up Internet service, which needed landlines. In 1998, an example of cutting-edge mobile technology was a PalmPilot, which someone is seen using in the film, even though it doesn’t help that person get out of this emergency situation.

One of the many reasons why this movie looks so phony is that all the young cops in the movie look exactly like who they are: physically attractive Hollywood actors. There are no “average” lookers in this bunch of young, subordinate cops. The only middle-paged person on the police force is Chief Irons, who turns out to be a coward of the worst kind. You don’t have to be a cop to know that there’s no city police force in the world where everyone except the leader is a good-looking person under the age of 40.

Maybe the filmmakers of “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” think that having “eye candy” cops would distract viewers from the movie’s dumb plot. One of the more ludicrous scenes in the movie takes place at an eatery called Emmy’s Diner. Leon notices that his waitress Jenny (played by Louise Young) has a right eye that’s bleeding.

When he shows concern and asks Jenny if she’s had a doctor examine her eye, she says no. Jenny adds that her eye has been bleeding this way for the past two weeks, but “it’s no big deal.” Of course, we all know what’s going to happen to that waitress in this zombie movie.

Everything is so monotonously formulaic in “Resident Evil: Welcome to the Raccoon City.” After a while, you can almost do a countdown to the clichés that will come next. There are too many scenes where someone shows up at just the right moment to “come from behind” to shoot someone. One particular character in this movie is saddled with this over-used cliché.

And for a movie about zombies, the cops are woefully incompetent in killing them. They often don’t shoot the zombies in the head. And if they do, they don’t check to see if the zombie is really dead. It’s all just a way to pad and stretch out the story with weak attempts at jump scares involving zombies that looked like they’ve been killed but aren’t really dead after all.

None of the acting in this movie is very impressive. Jogia portrays Leon as having a mostly nonchalant attitude during this whole crisis, with only a few scenes where he looks realistically frightened. McDonough goes in a completely opposite direction because his wild-eyed performance is very over-the-top. The filmmakers intend to make Leon an underdog whom audiences are supposed to root for to succeed. However, the movie tells almost nothing about Leon except that his father is a high-ranking police officer in another city, and Leon was transferred to Raccoon City as punishment for accidentally shooting his cop partner in the rear end.

The movie’s visual effects are adequate, but there’s nothing innovative at all. Lisa is supposed to look like a “two-headed monster” with a mask made out of flesh. It literally looks like the movie’s makeup department just glued a mask to the actress’ face to make it look like she has two heads sticking out of her neck. Everything in “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” has been done already in better horror flicks about zombies or mutants.

Claire is the story’s central protagonist, but viewers will learn nothing about who she was as an adult before she arrived in Raccoon City. For a better thriller movie starring Scodelario, see 2019’s “Crawl,” where she plays a college student trapped in a house with alligators during a hurricane. “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” has a mid-credits scene with the appearance of mysterious spy character Ada Wong (played by Lily Gao), but this cameo does nothing to redeem the rest of this junkpile movie.

Screen Gems will release “Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City” in U.S. cinemas on November 24, 2021.

Review: ‘All My Puny Sorrows,’ starring Alison Pill, Sarah Gadon, Amybeth McNulty, Donal Logue and Mare Winningham

September 11, 2021

by Carla Hay

Sarah Gadon and Alison Pill in “All My Puny Sorrows” (Photo courtesy of AMPS Productions Inc.)

“All My Puny Sorrows” 

Directed by Michael McGowan

Culture Representation: Taking place in North Bay, Ontario, the dramatic film “All My Puny Sorrows” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with one Asian and one black person) representing the working-class, middle-class and upper-middle-class.

Culture Clash: Two sisters with family tragedies and opposite personalities have emotional disagreements with each other because one of the sisters is suicidal and wants her sister to take her to a euthanasia clinic in Switzerland.

Culture Audience: “All My Puny Sorrows” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the Miriam Toews novel on which the movie is based, as well as to viewers who have a fondness for watching slow-paced and pretentious movies about unhappy people.

Mare Winningham in “All My Puny Sorrows” (Photo courtesy of AMPS Productions Inc.)

Admirable performances by Alison Pill and Sarah Gadon can’t quite save “All My Puny Sorrows,” which sinks under the weight of its pretension and offers an incomplete sketch of a Canadian family plagued by tragedies. Written and directed by Michael McGowan, this depressing and frequently dull movie is based on Miriam Toews’ 2014 novel of the same name. The “All My Puny Sorrows” novel was largely inspired by Toews’ own real-life experiences with family tragedies. The movie “All My Puny Sorrows” had its world premiere at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival.

There are so many somber and upsetting things that happen to the fictional Von Riesen family at the center of this story that “All My Puny Sorrows” should’ve been titled “All My Trigger Warnings.” The Von Riesens live in North Bay, Ontario (where this movie was filmed), and they come from a Mennonite community with strict rules on how to live. The opening scene shows family patriarch Jake Von Riesen (played by Donal Logue) committing suicide by standing in front of a moving train. It sets the tone for this death-obsessed movie, which has some very contrived comedy that’s awkwardly placed in certain scenes.

Most of the movie takes place 10 years after Jake’s suicide, but there are some flashbacks showing Jake and his family at various points in their lives. The movie’s protagonist/voiceover narrator is Yolanda “Yoli” Von Riesen (played by Pill), who is one of the two children that Jake had with his nurturing wife Lottie (played by Mare Winningham). Their other child is daughter Elfreida “Elf” Von Riesen (played by Gadon), who’s a year or two older than Yoli. Both sisters are very intelligent, but they’ve got deep-seated emotional problems that they handle differently.

Jake committed suicide when Elf and Yoli were in the mid-20s. The sisters, who are now in their mid-30s, are no longer part of the Mennonite community. Yoli and Elf have contrasting personalities and are leading very different lives from each other. Yoli’s life is messy and financially unstable, but she has a very strong will to live and doesn’t understand why people with everything going for them can be suicidal. Elf’s life, on the surface, seems like she “has it all,” but Elf is chronically unhappy and wants to die.

Yoli is a children’s book author who is very sarcastic, often rude, and is prone to losing her patience and her temper. She got married at 18 years old and is in the process of divorcing her estranged husband Dan, who is not seen in the movie but only heard when Yoli plays a voice mail message from him. Dan is upset with Yoli because she’s been postponing signing their divorce papers. Yoli and Dan have a 16-year-old daughter together named Nora (played by Amybeth McNulty), who lives with Yoli and has inherited her mother’s dry wit and sarcasm.

Yoli’s most recently published book was a flop, and she’s currently struggling to finish her next book by the deadline. She mentions in an early scene in the movie that she’s already spent the advance money for the book that she’s writing. In a phone conversation with Elf, Yoli worries out loud that her career as a writer might have peaked.

Elf is an elegant and successful solo concert pianist who plays to sold-out audiences. Her husband Nic (played by Aly Mawji) adores her, but he travels frequently for his job and is away from home a lot. Elf and Nic don’t have any children. The movie doesn’t mention what Nic does for a living. Elf’s personality is more introverted and reserved than Yoli’s personality. Elf is a lot more polite than Yoli, who has a tendency to say tactless things that are meant to hurt people’s feelings.

An early scene in the movie shows Elf performing at one of her concerts, where she gets a standing ovation but she looks very sad and doesn’t even try to smile. After the concert, she’s seen sitting alone on some steps outside and crying like someone who’s in serious emotional pain. It’s the first sign in the movie that Elf is deeply troubled.

It isn’t long before Yoli and her mother Lottie get a call that they’ve gotten multiple times before: Elf is in a hospital because she tried to commit suicide. One of the first things that Yoli says when she visits Elf in the hospital after this latest suicide attempt is: “We’ve got to stop meeting like this.” It’s an example of Yoli’s sarcasm that she uses as a shield to cope with her own emotional pain.

Much of “All My Puny Sorrows” revolves around the contentious conversations that Yoli and Elf have while Elf is recovering in the hospital. Yoli can be self-absorbed because she scolds Elf for not caring about how her suicide attempts are affecting Yoli. Yoli also sardonically talks about where Yoli’s name was mentioned in Elf’s suicide note.

“Can we talk about my placement?” Yoli asks. “I was two-thirds down on the list.” Elf replies, “I just didn’t want it to go to your head.” Then, the two sisters tell each other, “I hate you.” Yoli feels bad about this angry statement and says she’s sorry.

Elf says there’s no need for an apology and adds: “Apologies are not the bedrock of civilized societies.” Yoli responds, “Remind me: What is the bedrock of civilized societies?” Elf says, “Libraries.”

Who talks like that in real life? No one except very pretentious people who want to show off how well-read they are. And that’s what happens for a great deal of this movie, where Yoli and Elf spout lines from books and poems that they love, as if these words have the magical answers to their problems. Yes, it’s that kind of movie.

There’s nothing wrong with expressing a love of literature, but it’s done in such heavy-handed ways in this movie, viewers will be rolling their eyes at some of the fake-sounding conversations that litter “All My Puny Sorrows.” The title of “All My Puny Sorrows” comes from a line in an untitled poem that Samuel Coleridge wrote to a friend. You can bet that this poem will be mentioned in the movie.

It’s not shown until much later in the film that Jake had opened a library in their Mennonite community. Jake took pride in this library. And although it’s not shown in the movie, he obviously passed on a love of reading to his daughters. One of the movie’s flaws is that it doesn’t show enough of who Jake was a husband and a father, in order to give better context of how his suicide devastated his family.

The movie has brief flashbacks that only show snippets of what life was like for Yoli and Elf in their childhood and teen years. In one flashback that takes place when Yoli and Elf are pre-teens, the sisters and their parents are seen looking mournful on one of the last days in a house that they have to move out of because a church elder wants to move into the house. It’s mentioned that even though Jake built the house, he has to follow the orders of the elders in his religion.

In another scene that takes place when Yoli and Elf are in their mid-teens, two elders visit the Von Riesen family home to discourage Elf from pursuing her dream of going to a university to study music. During this tension-filled meeting, the elders are outraged that a 15-year-old girl would want to live outside the Mennonite community and interact with heathens at a university. Elf is playing the piano in a nearby room, and the elders order Jake to tell her to stop.

However, Elf refuses to stop playing until she’s finished the piece. Meanwhile, her mother Lottie is fuming in the kitchen at this family intrusion and can be seen furiously and loudly chopping some meat. It’s the only scene in the movie that shows how far back certain members of the Von Riesen clan disagreed with and were willing to rebel against the oppressive rules of their Mennonite community.

However, the movie brings up a lot of questions and leaves them unanswered. “All My Puny Sorrows” certainly implies that this restrictive Mennonite community has something to do with the family’s unhappiness. But how much damage did it do to this family and what type of trauma influenced Jake’s and Elf’s suicidal thoughts? Those questions are never answered in the movie.

Lottie has a sister named Tina, who is more outspoken and assertive than Lottie is. At one point in the movie, Tina tells Yoli, “Your mother and I buried 14 brothers and sisters.” And no further explanation is given in the movie. Why did all of these siblings die? And why even put that in the movie if you’re just going to make people wonder what happened? It’s an example of how underdeveloped the screenplay is when it comes to the Von Riesen family’s history.

However, there’s no shortage of scenes where Yoli has angry outbursts. There’s one melodramatic scene in the hospital parking garage where she has a full-on screaming meltdown when she starts to park next to a car, and the other car’s driver (played by Josh Bainbridge) asks her in an irritated tone to be careful not to hit his car. Yoli’s ranting response is to yell at the top of her lungs and berate him by saying that her problems are a lot bigger than how she’s going to park her car. He’s so alarmed at her unhinged reaction that he takes a photo of her car’s license plate, in case she does something illegal.

During the conversations that Yoli and Elf have in the hospital, Elf tells Yoli that she wants to die and nothing that anyone says will convince her to change her mind. Elf then mentions to Yoli that she found out about a clinic in Switzerland that does legal euthanasia. Elf asks Yoli to secretly take her to the clinic because Elf doesn’t want to be alone when she dies. Yoli immediately refuses this request and gets very upset when Elf keeps pestering her to take her to this euthanasia clinic.

Because Yoli has a tendency to be self-centered, she doesn’t have much empathy for the anguish that a suicidal person such as Elf is experiencing. At one point, Yoli scolds Elf for not appreciating all the things that Yoli thinks should make Elf happy: a loving spouse, a thriving career, a nice house and a certain amount of financial wealth.

But this type of lecture just shows Yoli’s emotional ignorance, because there are plenty of examples of people who’ve committed suicide when they have all the things that society says are supposed to make people happy. After having a parent commit suicide, Yoli still seems to have a problem understanding that suicidal tendencies aren’t about exterior things but rather how people feel inside about themselves.

The movie offers no insight into why Jake committed suicide. And although “All My Puny Sorrows” should be commended for showing some of the complexities and nuances of the main female characters in the story, it shouldn’t be at the expense of sidelining the male characters and making them very one-dimensional. Jake remains a mystery by the end of the movie.

Elf’s husband Nic has only a few scenes. He’s a concerned spouse but is depicted as very bland and hard to read, with no real sense that Elf’s suicide attempts are deeply affecting him. Dr. Johns (played by Martin Roach), the psychiatrist who’s treating Elf, offers nothing but clinical talk. Just like Elf’s husband Nic, Dr. Johns is reduced to less than 10 minutes of screen time.

The men who are currently in Yoli’s life are, by her own admission, just sexual flings. In a conversation at the hospital with Elf, Yoli gets candid about how her divorce is affecting her: “Ending 16 years of monogamy with Dan has triggered some kind of animal reaction. I might be a slut now.” Elf responds, “You’re not a slut. Didn’t I teach you anything?”

However Yoli wants to describe her sex life, it’s clear that she thinks that the sexual experiences she’s currently having are meaningless to her. In a scene that is ultimately useless, Yoli meets up with a mechanic named Jason (played by Dov Tiefenbach), and they end up having sex in a car. Yoli and Jason already knew each other, because they grew up in the same Mennonite community, and they both left the community when they were old enough to go to college. Yoli and Jason hadn’t seen each other in years before this sexual hookup, but this scene doesn’t add anything substantial to the story except to show that someone else from Yoli’s childhood is no longer a Mennonite.

There’s an earlier scene in the movie where Yoli is having sex with one of her flings named Finbar (played by Michael Musi), a nerdy businessman type, and she looks very bored, like she can’t wait for the sex to be over. She doesn’t even seem to like Finbar very much and seems irritated by his “neat freak” quirks when she asks him why he folded his clothes before they had sex. Later in the movie, when Yoli has a conversation with Finbar about a death in the family, he’s very insensitive, which is a further indication that he’s not the right person for Yoli.

There’s a lot of gloom, doom and death in this movie, but one of the best things about “All My Puny Sorrows” is that Pill and Gadon have convincing sisterly chemistry together. Their scenes crackle with the uncomfortable but realistic intensity of family members who have a love/hate relationship. Winningham is also very good as the siblings’ mother Lottie, who doesn’t take sides in this sister feud. Lottie is trying to stoically hide her heartbreak over all of the deaths in her family.

Yoli’s 16-year-old daughter Nora is not in the movie enough and is unfortunately reduced to being a stereotypical movie teenager with bratty tendencies. Most of Nora’s screen time consists of her getting annoyed with her mother and mouthing off to her. When Nora’s father Dan calls to ask Nora to tell Yoli to sign the divorce papers, Nora says to Yoli, “You do realize it’s emotionally damaging to put me in the middle of your divorce, right?” (Even though it was actually Dan who made this uncomfortable request.) Yoli asks, “Whose side are you on?” Nora answers, “Mine!”

“All My Puny Sorrows” is one of those movies that seems to think that talented actors portraying characters that are wallowing in misery while they occasionally utter lines of poetry will make this a “serious” film. But there are quite a few off-putting choices that were made in the screenplay. One of them is toward the end of the film, Yoli suddenly starts having visions of seeing a dead family member and has conversations with that person. The movie’s shift from realism to surrealism is abrupt and clumsy.

Although “All My Puny Sorrows” is certainly well-cast and the technical aspects (such as cinematography and production design) are perfectly adequate, the movie comes up short in character development and context. Why are all these deaths happening in this family? And wouldn’t people get suspicious if 14 siblings (who weren’t old) died from the same family? Don’t expect any answers to those questions. This movie just wants miserable family members who argue with each other to be enough for this story that is unsatisfyingly vague in too many areas that should matter.

UPDATE: Momentum Pictures will release “All My Puny Sorrows” on digital and VOD on May 3, 2022.

Copyright 2017-2022 Culture Mix