THE SAME STORM (#PFF30)
Embodying much of the turmoil experienced in not only the United States over the past year, but also the world, The Same Storm elevates the hot “filmed on Zoom” trope thanks to an all-star cast and crisp writing.
The lives of twenty-four characters are explored over the time period of spring and summer of 2020 via Zoom with a focus on human connection in Peter Hedges’ latest, written and directed by the filmmaker. Hedges is known for diving deep into issues plaguing families, so a film like The Same Storm is quite different for its wide breadth of unique experiences tackled. Stars like Mary-Louise Parker, Elaine May, Sandra Oh, Alison Pill, and others all bring focus to the health, political, and racial turmoil running rampant over the past two years. Each scene contains one aspect or another that viewers will identify with, whether it is the uncertainty of the future or the pervasive worry for loved ones, maybe even the feeling of being alone. Some storylines, all of which connect by at least one thread, are more impactful than others; certain angles are over-exaggerated, temporarily distracting from the film’s overall intent.
What is remarkable about The Same Storm is that this wide array of talent all worked on their own from their own homes, collaborating virtually with Hedges and other filmmakers to craft an interconnected, unique story. Viewers will find much to like here as a range of emotions play out as the film rolls on, perhaps some that we individually may be feeling, but haven’t communicated. There is a comfort, a safety in The Same Storm that ultimately gives off “we’re all in this together” vibes, even at a time when we feel so distant in a variety of ways. Hedges never shies away from tackling deep, pervasive issues and this is no different. The Same Storm provokes reflection of our own individual existence and the events of the world while leading you feeling seen, the greatest gift Hedges could give.
Photo from Philadelphia Film Society