Wednesday, September 13, 2023

National Anthem (2023) Toronto 2023

NATIONAL ANTHEM is the story of Dylan, a young man living at home with his mom. He is helping to raise his younger brother. He is putting money aside to by a RV so he can hit the road and see the world. Working odd jobs, he takes a two week job at a ranch way out of town and falls in with the people of living there. They are a collection of LGBT people who drifted in over time.  Entranced by Sky he slowly becomes friends with everyone at the ranch as he tries to find his place in the world.

NATIONAL ANTHEM is good time with great people. This was like hanging out with some of your best friends over the course of a several weeks. It’s a beautifully crafted collection of people who bleed off the screen in ways that will leave you insisting that these aren’t performances but people you know. Hell, by the time the film was done I wanted to leave the theater and go find the ranch.

Deliberately paced this film takes its time going where it’s going. Honestly I am glad I saw this at a screening instead of via a link because I was forced to allow the film to happen. I couldn’t get distracted in the dark theater so I had the time to fall in love with everyone on screen.

The film has several lines of profound wisdom floating through it which made me love it more. Lines like “She loves you but she needs him” and “You’re not boring you just haven’t found your people yet” kind of put things in my own life into perspective.

On the downside the film doesn’t really have a strong narrative drive. Yes, there are some questions of romance and some family conflict with Dylan, but at the same time there are no big “problems”, life kind of happens and Dylan and friends drift through it. I kept waiting for something big to happen but it never did despite the film constantly angling that it would.

Still I love the film and I would love to show this to any LGBT kid who didn’t think they will find a place.

If you think you can go with its mellow rhythms or if you want to meet some characters who will become your new best friends go see NATIONAL ANTHEM.

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