Pages Navigation Menu

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


Sundance 2024 Review: Good One

On a weekend backpacking trip in the Catskills, a teenager has to deal with her own personal issues along with those of her father and his oldest friend.

Camping is a family tradition for Sam (Lily Collias) and her father Chris (James Le Gros) and Matt (Danny McCarthy) but this outing is different compared to others as the latter is not accompanied by his son Dylan.  Another principal cast member is the wilderness as there are shots of the insects and animals that would easily fit into a natural history documentary.   Needless to say, despite escaping into nature it is impossible to leave behind the deep emotional scars caused by living in a world populated by human beings.

Check out all of our Sundance coverage

Given that the story and setting are inspired by the life of filmmaker India Donaldson it is not surprising that there is an authenticity to the camping trip though one has to wonder if Matt is a regular participant why he comes ill-prepared, especially in his choice of clothing.  The best parts are the campfire conversations which also allow for some exposition to be organically incorporated into the dialogue as people indirectly talk about things that they want to address.  A certain pivotal plot point was something I was wishing that Donaldson would avoid but she has fallen into the trap of conventionality which makes it feel like a false note rather than a profound disturbing moment.

A highlight is the score composed by Celia Hollander which has a quirky light touch that adds a sense of joy to the storytelling.  The cast in essence is a threesome, thereby enabling audience members to become invested in their fate rather than be distracted by needless side stories and characters.  What is so true is that despite leaving civilization behind there is an inability for people to sever the tie to the conveniences and stresses that it provides.  On a positive side the change of scenery allows for a fresh perspective but the negative is no one ever experiences a mental break from life itself.

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Your email address will not be published.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.