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Your Monster - Sundance 2024


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By: Isaac P. Ale
January 21, 2024

Tommy Dewey and Melissa Barrera in Your Monster Your Monster [2024]

Film

Laura (Melissa Barrera), a soft spoken actress, receiving a cancer diagnosis and going in for surgery thought that this would be one of if not the lowest moments in her young life. That was until her boyfriend of five years, Jacob (Edmund Donovan), breaks up with her while she's in the hospital. Oh, and the musical he's been writing with the starring role being designed for Laura turns out to not be for her.

Dejected, tired, and heartbroken, Laura returns home to find the Monster (Tommy Dewey) she once was afraid of as a child still living in her closet. Except this time, Monster wants to console Laura and help her get back to her old self.

Your Monster is a genre bending tale from writer/director Caroline Lindy that is a feature length film based on her prior short of the same name. Jumping between romance, comedy, and horror the film finds a way to navigate its multi-genre state in a relatively decent way. I often found myself struggling with the tonal shifts between humor and serious. The humor, especially from Monster, was definitely enjoyable even hilarious at times. But the serious moments, and the shifts between, felt half-baked, reducing the growth that Laura goes through to a little more than a punchline. A handful of instances involving Laura confronting her emotions towards Jacob, prompted by Monster's therapist-esque dialogue, are shallow lines that didn't impact me the way they should have. Laura's comprehension of what Jacob did to her not being ok literally involves her and Monster screaming "its not ok" for maybe five minutes? It felt repetitive and not wholly satisfying in Laura's emotional evolution.

The romantic elements I found quite fun, however. Subverting various romantic tropes such as Beauty and the Beast with Monster showing up to a Halloween party to support Laura felt refreshing. Although, at times the romance couldn't get out of its own way and was too predictable. Almost every romantic movie twist is right where you would expect it. Even promising moments of character evolution are anticipated from a mile away.

Having a psychological thriller ending was a great bit of writing from Lindy though. That I wasn't expecting and the buildup to it was satisfying. Not to mention the execution was spot on from Barrera, Donovan and Dewey, even from the supporting members that nailed their one line to hammer it home. This ending wouldn't work at all without Barrera's incredible performance. She may not be the most even throughout the film but she brings the emotion of the film to a head through her gorgeous singing in the big musical finale. I knew Barrera had the talent for singing from In the Heights but she was on another level for this. Her stage presence, expressions, and heart poured into one big moment is outstanding work.

While not everything in Your Monster necessarily worked for me, I found the film fun and entertaining. The thematic element of loving your dark side and accepting your anger was well done, and I also really loved seeing Meghann Fahy in another wonderful role!

Froth

With a movie that's trying to be a little too much it helps to bring things back to basics. In order to do that we're bringing in the 1841 Viennese Lager by Bohemian Brewing in Midvale Utah! This Vienna style lager is nice and crisp, light and refreshing as hell. It brings in that classic nutty flavor too for being a Vienna style, making it all the more delightul.

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