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The Sunlit Night - Film Review

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by ABC Writer (subscribe)
Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Published November 1st 2020
Quirky new comedy film with Gillian Anderson
Following a young artist's coming of age, The Sunlit Night is a quirky adventure into the tortured mind of a creative featuring Gillian Anderson and Zach Galifianakis.

The Sunlit Night, film review
An adventure into the Arctic circle


The Sunlit Night is a life-affirming story that follows New Yorker Frances as she heads to Arctic Norway after her life hits rock bottom.

She's an aspiring painter restricted by both her cramped living conditions and her family's chaotic lives, including the eccentricity of her divorcing parents.

Leaving these complications behind for a summer of midnight sun, she jumps at the chance to assist a well-known artist whose recent shows have bombed - even if it is to paint a barn.

There she finds herself, a focus for her art as well as a mix of bizarre characters and romance. Jenny Slate as Frances is believable and charismatic as a down-on-her-luck Millennial. The actress and comedian famous for starring in Saturday Night Live and Kroll Show is likeable enough to make this a well above average film.

Sunlit Night, film review,
Eccentric characters and self discovery in Sunlit Night


Based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by Rebecca Dinerstein, Sunlit Night is a film that revels in art. It's at the heart of Frances' story and also used to visually connect the plot, using snapshots of famous paintings to accompany the quick-witted narration. Van Gogh, Da Vinci and more.

It interlinks Frances' endearing adventures with her gruff new Norwegian mentor, her discovery of the Viking village and friendship with a visiting fellow New Yorker, played by Alex Sharp.

Director David Wnendt maintains charm and wit throughout the movie, keeping a gentle pace that never loses momentum.

Sunlit Night, film review,
Gillian Anderson takes a back seat in the movie


Sidelined to surprisingly brief roles are Gillian Anderson, of X Files fame, and Zach Galifianakis, from The Hangover. She's playing a no-nonsense Russian widow while he is a Viking chief whose really from Cincinnati.

Despite their small roles, they both make an impact but the screen belongs to Slate, and the remote beauty of Scandanavia in this wry, witty and enchanting movie.

Sunlit Night, film review,
Funny and filled with art


Cast: Jenny Slate, Alex Sharp, Gillian Anderson, Zach Galifianakis
Find it on: iTunes, Amazon, Sky Store, Virgin, Google, Rakuten, Chili
Rating: 15
Distributor: Blue Finch Films
Runtime: 106 mins
Digital Release Date in the UK and Ireland: November 16, 2020
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Why? Watch new comedy movie about an artist finding herself
When: From mid November
Phone: N/a
Where: Various streaming channels
Cost: Various
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