The great performances of 2020 | features

Arriving as the film’s core family struggles to acclimatize to the heart of the country, Youn’s character gives the house a binding force. She traveled the world to be with them. As she teaches little David how easy it is to grow minari, an herb traditionally used in Korean cuisine, what she actually plants is the idea that it’s not where they find each other or what they do that matters, but the gift of being together. In Youn’s sincere and at times devilish smile, and later in his sad eyes, the language of sincere caring for others comes through without a hitch. (Carlos aguilar)

Cooper Raiff as Alex Malmquist in “Shithouse”

Cooper Raiff’s performance in “Shithouse” is not necessarily that of a fully realized actor or person. In many scenes, he is surpassed by his co-director, Dylan Gelula, an actor with quite a few extra credits to his name. But instead of being a dramatic showcase, “Shithouse” chooses to be a display of empathy, humanity and growth, with those qualities resting on Raiff.

Taking on responsibilities of writing, directing and leading actor, Raiff, in his early twenties, creates a film of his own, drawing on personal experience, giving a level of honesty absent from most movies. Playing a version of himself in Alex, a 19-year-old scoreless struggling in his freshman year of college and thousands of miles from home, Raiff offers a tender look into the pains of maturation, development. necessary and young love. After Alex’s night out as he goes to one of his first college parties and hooks up with his AR, Maggie (Gelula), the film allows Raiff to present himself naked to the viewer, a portrait of a lost and nervous child looking for some semblance of glue. to keep him together and his life.

Every look and emotion sprayed on Raiff’s face, which he rarely hides, is genuine, apparently the best word to describe “Shithouse”. He doesn’t have to be the best actor in Hollywood, or even his movie, for the performance to matter and resonate. Instead, it provides wit and heartbreak, laughter and loss, and the ability to post nine Instagram posts without looking creepy. Raiff almost makes you miss being heartbroken. He’s the only actor for the role, and with him soaking up the screen, alongside Gelula, the film doesn’t need to be fully directed to be important. “Shithouse” and Raiff are closely related, and that connection leads to one of the most honest performances of the year. (Michael frank)

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