Monday, September 20, 2021

See for Me: Movie Review

Engaging and suspenseful, an indie thriller with excellent characters.
See For Me is an indie thriller that absolutely delivers on story, setting and characterization. We have one main character – Sophie (Skyler Davenport). She is a former champion skier with trophies in her room. She’s currently packing with little aids like safety pins on her clothes to help guide her. Sophie is blind, and she is sick and tired of being a victim. So she tries to sneak out of her house, but her mother (also watching skiing on the TV) catches her, she’s worried about her.   2021

Directed by: Randall Okita

Screenplay by: Adam Yorke, Tommy Gushue

Starring: Skyler Davenport, Jessica Parker Kennedy

Sophie is off to the house of a rich acquaintance to housesit. At this point, only a few quick minutes into the movie, we have learned a great deal about Sophie, all of which will come into play later in the movie. Sophie hates being dependent on others – for money, for help, for anything.

The house she’s off to is referred to as a mansion – large, yes, but mostly contained, intricately designed but not overwhelming. It’s remote - a long cab-ride and faked bad cell reception later – she’s alone. It’s winter, in the woods, nothing nearby. The setting is upstate New York, but I suspect it was filmed in central Ontario. Regardless, there is some great cinematography.

Unlike winter in most thrillers – this isn’t a bleak, dark grey winter. This is a crisp winter, with shimmering white snow – suggesting there’s promising life ahead but be careful now. In the house Sophie is constantly tying to get angles, sightlines where her phone can see where the intruders are, but they hopefully won’t see her.

Back to Sophie (the characterization is arguably the strongest part of this well-told thriller), her mother has suggested she download an app called See for Me – which is exactly what the title suggests it is - an app that connects her to emergency-trained individuals who can help guide her. Sophie has no intention of downloading such an app, but as a young woman, she dutifully says “yes, mom”. When Sophie gets herself locked out of the house, she gets that app and we get introduced to our second main character, Kelly (Jessica Parker Kennedy).

What I have described here so far is approximately 10 minutes of the movie. I really haven’t given you much even though it sounds like a lot. The beginning moves at a solid pace, and then we get into the heart of the movie – thieves have broken into the house and all Sophie has is her app and not-yet-a-friend Kelly.

There are multiple twists to the movie. And it has my favourite aspects of twists – I personally didn’t see them coming, but I also wasn’t trying to see them coming because the movie has more than enough to keep you invested in the moment. However, the twists are predictable because they build off of everything we know about the characters so far.

This is Skyler Davenport’s first major acting role. A visually-impaired actor who put their all into this role. Everything about Sophie just comes so naturally to Skyler that this is an excellent example of why casting from the community the film represents is important. The clarity they bring to Sophie adds so much to the characterizations in the movie – and the twists and story all build off of that.

Jessica Parker Kennedy also brings a lot to Kelly. She has a lot less screen time than Sophie, but we also get a complete character with interesting backstory and a sense of empathy. I’m not going to spoil any of the other supporting characters to come into play, but the film does an excellent job establishing most of them.

See for Me drags a bit with some of the criminals that come into the story, but it’s still a very quick watch with a solid story and lots of twists packed into it.

One of the Best of 2022