Review: You Won’t Be Alone (#Sundance2022)

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A poetic exploration of what it means to be human told through a supernatural lens, You Won’t Be Alone is utterly engrossing and thought provoking with surprising emotional turns.

A young witch in 19th-century Macedonia assumes the bodies of multiple people over the years, living among villagers and learning about human nature before confronting the ancient evil spirit responsible for her turn. Writer/director Goran Stolevski’s debut is incredibly well-crafted, snatching the viewer’s attention immediately with intriguing and simplistic set design, stunning backdrops, and a story that wastes no time diving headfirst into the mystique. Though we spend a lot of time switching between vessels for the lead character, Noomi Rapace delivers a compelling performance that kickstarts the empathic journey of the young witch. Rapace brings a rare nonverbal strength to the role, demanding your emotional attention with a simple look. Opposite is Anamaria Marinca’s more seasoned and tormented witch, a subtly terrifying and imposing figure built from tragedy and delivered with staggeringly raw intensity.

Stolevski takes his time with the plot developments with deliberate attention to minute moments that contribute to the overarching narrative. Though a supernatural aura surrounds the entire story and bloody moments are frequent, You Won’t Be Alone remains grounded in the human story it is telling. Each element is handled with such care that Stolevski could easily be mistaken for a skilled veteran of filmmaking. Stories of witches have been told time and time again, but never with such precision and weight. You Won’t Be Alone is one of the very best of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, a stunning work of poetic filmmaking.

Rating: 5/5

Photo from Sundance

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