Nobody’s Fool — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTxSbKLVnvQ
Sky: It’s good to see that the recently established reign of Tiffany Haddish is still going strong. In Nobody’s Fool, Tika Sumpter plays Danica, a successful businesswoman who will soon become the first black female vice president at her company. Her sister Tanya (Tiffany Haddish), however, has just been released from jail. Haddish appears to use her signature sass and outrageousness to make an almost annoyingly clear foil for Danica’s straight man. I thought that this whole movie was just going to be about the two sisters adjusting to life together. Then, halfway through the trailer, it is suddenly revealed that the main plot point is actually the fact that Danica has been catfished for the past year. Worse, the catfisher was probably someone in Danica’s life. Tanya decides to help her sister get revenge in the crazy ways only she knows how. First, I just want to say that it has been a full half hour since I watched this trailer and I still can’t believe that Danica, who is a shrewd, resourceful #boss actually ended up getting catfished for an entire year. This flawed premise is really throwing me. However, this movie is supposed to be a dumb comedy and I have no doubt that Nobody’s Fool will be almost two hours of mildly amusing entertainment. If I did end up seeing this movie, it would probably be for Whoopi Goldberg, who plays Tanya and Danica’s mom Lola. She seems to be the kind of character who won’t be in the movie a lot, but will completely deliver when she is. The bit at the end of the trailer where Tanya tries to talk to her mom through a window and Lola slowly backs away saying “This connection is so rickety… I can’t hear you” actually had me laughing out loud.
Jake: Cobra9 in the comments section of this video said it best: “This one trailer showed like three different storylines for this one movie.” At first, it seemed like it was going to be about Tika Sumpter’s character, Danica, becoming the vice president of her company. Then, it seemed to be about Danica helping her sister Tanya, played by Tiffany Haddish, adjust to life outside of prison. Then, it seemed to be about Danica finding the identity of man catfishing her. Maybe the movie will be unfocused, or maybe the trailer wasn’t very well made. Either way, there were some funny moments in the trailer: Whoopi Goldberg slowly closing the window on Haddish was fun in a silly way, and the part when Haddish yelled at the coffee shop customer was very relatable. With trailers for comedies, though, I am often worried that the rest of the movie won’t be as funny as the highly curated clips in the trailer.
Samantha: Watching this trailer, I am not completely sure what the main storyline will be. At first, it appeared to focus on Danica (Tika Sumpter) and her attempt to reach the top of her career. Upon the introduction of Danica’s sister Tanya (Tiffany Haddish) I started to get confused. The trailer introduces multiple plot lines, focusing on conveying the comedy more than the story which makes the movie unique. I am sure Nobody’s Fool will be hilarious, however, I worry it may be hard to follow with all of these perspectives and objectives. It takes more than comedy to make me interested in a movie. Though I don’t have any negative feelings towards the movie, I’m not particularly invested in the story. The randomness of the trailer made it forgettable and I doubt I will see the movie based on this trailer alone.
Ben is Back — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7ckCekdGr8
Sky: This looks sad. Ben Burns (Lucas Hedges) returns to his family for the holidays after dealing with severe problems with addiction. It’s clear that his mom Holly (Julia Roberts) can’t believe that he’s actually still alive, and some of his former acquaintances even remark “I thought you were dead.” It becomes evident that Ben has not been able to leave his demons behind him, as he has trouble staying sober and has gotten involved with dangerous people who threaten him and his family. Honestly, this trailer was extremely difficult to watch. I felt like I was either having my heart wrenched out by seeing how addiction has negatively impacted Ben’s relationship with his mother, or wanting to put my hands in front of my eyes in all the scenes when Ben dices with death by giving money to shady people. By the end, Holly ends up frantically begging everyone from police to a homeless woman to help her find her son and make sure he is safe, and even from this 10-second clip you could feel her desperation. I’m sure the performances in this movie are incredibly moving, but I do not feel like having my heart yanked around on a string for an hour and forty-five minutes.
Jake: I think this movie has some potential to be good. Dramas about addiction often follow certain patterns with regard to plot and can be repetitive; I haven’t seen Beautiful Boy, but this seems to be the main criticism. A movie like Ben is Back might work though, on the strength of its actors. Lucas Hedges seems to be giving a relatively muted performance as Ben and Julia Roberts, as his mother Holly, is clearly the star of the film, delivering lines like “Just show me where you want me to bury you” with enough intensity to sell it. If you have the stomach to make it through what is obviously going to be a very bleak movie, I think Ben is Back may be worth your time.
Samantha: This trailer left me with a lot of mixed emotions. I both want to see Ben is Back in order to learn more about this family and its struggles, and at the same time, I want to avoid it because I know it will make me cry. This movie sets the struggles of addiction and bad choices against the bonds of family. I felt myself tear up watching his mom Holly (Julia Roberts) frantically search for her son; this woman doesn’t see Ben (Lucas Hedges) as anyone other than the boy she raised, despite the crimes hinted at throughout the trailer. The trailer itself was extremely heartwrenching, and though there are brief scenes of hope, I don’t think I would want to watch a movie that seems so hopelessly tragic.
55 Steps — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ug1TE-kdCM
Sky: Woah, Helena Bonham Carter with an American accent. Wild. 55 Steps follows the relationship between psychiatric patient Eleanor Riese (Helena Bonham Carter) and her lawyer Collette Hughes (Hilary Swank). The movie appears to show Riese’s legal battle, eventually leading to the Supreme Court, to sue the medical facility caring for her that forced her to take psychiatric drugs without her consent, resulting in permanent physical and mental damage. This was probably my favorite trailer out of the three. I know very little about the issue of informed consent in regard to psychiatric drugs, but it seems incredibly interesting and important. As Hughes mentions in the trailer, Riese’s fight can change the lives of so many others who will also be exposed to a possibly abusive psychiatric care system. Swank and Bonham Carter both look like they give incredible performances that try to do justice to the real people they portray. This movie seems like it will be uplifting— mostly due to Eleanor’s evident resilience and zest— while also shedding light on a significant issue and little-known legal battle about a highly stigmatized subject. I would definitely see this!
Jake: I agree with Sky that of the three trailers, this was the movie I felt most inclined to see. 55 Steps appears to be an interesting look at the history of the rights of psychiatric patients, but the historical context is clearly primarily a backdrop for the evolving relationship between Helena Bonham Carter, as Eleanor Riese, and Hilary Swank, as her lawyer Collette Hughes. Bonham Carter seems to be the main attraction, tackling a potentially difficult role with the right balance of energy and tact to be convincing.
Samantha: The relationship between Eleanor Riese (Helena Bonham Carter) and her lawyer Collette Hughes (Hilary Swank) had me hooked within twenty seconds. This movie shows two women who, though in different circumstances, are both trying to gain recognition and acceptance from the world. As the women work together to give psychiatric patients the right to refuse certain methods of treatment, they change each other’s outlooks on life. The main draw for me is the character dynamics. However, I hope to learn more about the issue discussed in the case, because I believe it is important. The lighthearted music and quick snippets of laughter and growth left me feeling hopeful and inspired. Both Swank and Bonham Carter are sure to fill their roles well and add depth and personality to their characters. I look forward to seeing more of this story, and will definitely see 55 Steps when it comes to theater.
Image Credits: IMDb