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Film Review: The Sleepover

22 August 20 words: Katie Green

Netflix’s new comedy sees a sleepover gone wrong as a mother is taken and her kids must find her, as well as finding out about her seedy past…

Director: Trish Sie
Starring: Sadie Stanley, Maxwell Simkins, Cree Cicchino
Running time: 100 minutes

From the onset, we are made to believe we are watching Kevin (Maxwell Simkins) - an over ambitious boy with a big imagination as he describes the adventures his grandfather got up to in space – but in reality he is describing the plot to The Martian. Whereas on the other hand there is his sister Clancy (Sadie Stanley), the talented cellist who wants to go to the party of her crush Travis – but to her annoyance of her mother, she won’t let her have a phone. When we return to Kevin, he is caught on video dancing in the toilets at school – later posted online – but to the dismay of his bullies, Kevin’s mother Margot (Malin Akerman) interferes and stops them. However, the worst is yet to come…

It turns out Margo is not who her family thinks she is, as it turns out she was a burglar named Matilda and is in witness protection. This is a big surprise to her husband Ron (Ken Marino) and when she is eventually found, Margot and Ron are taken. Meanwhile, whilst Kevin is having a sleepover with his best friend Lewis and Clancy is trying to sneak out with Mim to the party, they discover their parents are missing and must follow the clues Margot left them in order to find them.

A standout character of this film is clearly Kevin, not only because he is the first character we see but because he brings one of the more comedic performances to the piece. His amusing personality brings the comedy throughout the entire film. What makes Maxwell Simkins great in this film is he’s not one of those child actors who is annoying to watch and makes a great addition to the film. Going along the lines this great cast is Ken Marino as Ron Finch, as just like his on screen son he is one of the more comedic characters out of the piece.

A chaotic but family-orientated crime film

Scenes that stand out are when Margot and Ron are taken, and Ron is trying to come to terms with his beloved wife’s past life. It is serious scenes like this that he makes more humorous, once again making the comedy genre shine through. The plot of the film is also entertaining, yet touching in the end as it sees a family that are torn apart and that must find each other again, with some bumps in the road. Yet, when they finally reunite, they realise all that is good and how much they appreciate and love each other.

The film is perhaps let down somewhat by the lack of on-screen chemistry between married couple Margot and Ron Finch. You can’t fault them as individual characters as their personalities shine through, but it is hard to buy into the romance between the two in shared scenes because they spend most of the film separated by Margot’s ex-Fiancé Leo (Joe Manganiello). However, when they finally get some alone time in the end of the film, this feeling of romance between the two can perhaps be swayed as they reunite. Ultimately, The Sleepover is a chaotic but family-orientated crime film that will bring both tears of laughter and tears of happiness to your eyes.

Did you know? In 2016, Trish Sie directed the video for the band OK Go’s song Upside Down & Inside Out, which was shot aboard an aircraft simulating zero gravity by flying in parabolic maneuvers. It earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Music Video.

The Sleepover is available now on Netflix

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