Pages Navigation Menu

"No matter where you go, there you are."


Sundance 2023 Review: A Little Prayer – “David Strathairn at his finest”

As a father attempts to address the marriage issues of his daughter and son, he begins to question his own abilities as a parent.

A mysterious singing voice is heard throughout the neighbourhood much to the pleasure of Bill and his daughter-in-law Tammy with whom he shares a mutual respect; his son David works at the family-owned business, and has a habit of getting drunk and coming home late.  Bill begins to suspect that David is having an affair with an office worker and compounding matters is the arrival of his daughter who is habitually leaving her husband with his granddaughter in tow.  David starts to wonder if he has been a good father and finds support from his wife Venida who serves as his emotional anchor.

Check out all of our Sundance coverage

If there is a comparison to make think of A Little Prayer as a more soulful version of Something to Talk About.  This is David Strathairn at his finest as he conveys a man with moral integrity and a great deal of compassion struggling to help his children.  One can not help but feel empathy towards him as there are points that you swear David is on the verge of having a nervous breakdown as the domestic troubles mount.  Celia Weston as the matriarch Venida provides a sardonic wit and grounding to the situations that breaks the dramatic tension.  And Jane Levy does a tremendous job as Tammy, the daughter-in-law dearly loved by her in-laws but trapped in a loveless marriage.

Less effective are the daughter and son played by Anna Camp and Will Pullen, and Dascha Polanco as the mistress as they come across as sketches rather than fully drawn personalities.  There is a quietness that allows the viewer to ponder what is happening but the pace is far from being glacial.  A funny moment occurs when Venida accuses David of lacking awareness and it turns out that he knows something that she does not. Another beautifully played scene is the heart-to-heart conversation that David and Tammy have while eating lunch together on a park bench.  Filmmaker Angus MacLachlan has crafted a great reminder that not everything has to be centred around the plot as long as you create characters that audience members feel their lives have been enriched by getting to know them.

The 2023 Sundance Film Festival takes place January 19–29, 2023, in person and online, and for more information visit

Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

Previous PostNext Post


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.