Join us weekly as Rotten Tomatoes reports on what’s indie features are streaming. From promising releases by new voices to experimental efforts from storied filmmakers – or perhaps the next indie darling to go the distance for end-of-year accolades – we will break it all down for you here each week.
This week for our Indie Fresh List, we have a pair of very different love stories: one about two lovers who are trying to stay together after their secret affair is threatened, and a sci-fi romance in which one of the pair is slowly losing their memories. In our Spotlight Section, we have a recent comedy about a reluctant set of parents-to-be and an interview with one of the leads, Matthew Lewis. Finally, in our trailer section, we have new clips featuring Margret Qualley and Benedict Cumberbatch.
Little Fish (2021)
Sound of Metal star Olivia Cooke plays another girlfriend trying to heal her broken partner in Little Fish. The sci-fi romance about a couple trying to survive after one is afflicted with a memory-erasing virus has been garnering positive reviews with critics and makes for interesting pandemic viewing. Cooke gives an incredible performance while her co-star Jack O’Connell is equally impressive in this inventive take on the amnesia-romance trope. “Little Fish eclipses its conceit, delicately examining both the unique pain that is the loss of intimacy and what makes us fall in love with someone again and again,” writes Katie Walsh of the Los Angeles Times.
Playing in theaters and available on VOD now.
Two of Us (Deux) (2021)
There have been several instances of LGBTQ cinema being passed over as the French selection for Best International Feature at the Oscars; the AIDS drama BPM and Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of Lady on Fire are just two recent examples. This year, though, wrongs will be righted as the lesbian romance Two of Us has been chosen as the official French selection for the 2021 Academy Awards. The story of two women who have been in a passionate secret love affair for decades is a heartbreaking tale of love and identity that Christopher Llewellyn Reed of Film Festival Today writes is “filled with heartbreaking moments and heartfelt performances” and “proves that it is never too late to come out. Your life may depend on it.”
Available now in select theaters on VOD.
Baby, Done (2021)
Oscar-winner Taika Waititi and his Jojo Rabbit producing partner Carthew Neal are back on the Indie Fresh List with a new hilarious rom-com about a pair of reluctant millennial parents. Matthew Lewis and New Zealand comedian Rose Matafeo play a long-term couple who become pregnant and choose to embark on a “baby bucket list” of things they want to do before they become “boring parents.” Matafeo, who previously starred in another Neal & Waititi production, The Breaker Upperers, is a revelation in this hilarious star-making vehicle, and Lewis gives one of his most captivating performances as her earnest partner who, despite not carrying the child, seems to be the only one to grasp the reality of the imminent birth. We recently chatted with Lewis about working in his generation’s push to delay parenthood, what’s on his Baby Bucket List, and what it was like working with Matafeo.
Jacqueline Coley for Rotten Tomatoes: How did you get involved with the project and why did you want to sign on?
Matthew Lewis: I read the script before I even knew about anybody involved with it. I loved the story and thought it would really resonate with a lot of people. I especially enjoyed the gender reversal, in that typically it’s the men who are running away from responsibility and having a baby and want to selfishly get on with their lives and leave the woman to carry the burden both metaphorically and physically. This movie is the opposite; it’s Tim that is desperate to be a good dad, the kind of dad that he never had, whereas Zoe is trying to stay independent and is scared of having to move on to the next stage of her life and motherhood. Not to mention I really felt that I “got” Tim, I understood him. Sometimes you read a script, and even if you like it, it feels like it’s going to be an effort; you’re going to have to work to discover this character and create something. Other times, like this, it’s all there on the page. You just get it, and you know exactly who he is, who you want him to be, how he talks, etc. That’s always nice. They’re both fun in their own way, and it still works, but it’s a lot less work.
Talk about Rose Matafeo. Why is she such a great person to fall in love with on screen?
Rose is incredibly talented. People already know her for comedy, but she’s got a real instinct for drama, and it’s incredibly natural and charming, and being able to fuse both is not easy, but she just knows how to do it. She loves film and so has a keen understanding of its structure and what works and what doesn’t — being a master of improv helps too. It’s impressive to see somebody instinctively understand how to be a leader both on-screen and off despite never having done it before.
There has been a lot of talk about Millennials and Gen Zers waiting longer to have kids. Do you think this movie speaks to that?
Yeah, absolutely. My generation and especially the one after, at least in the western world, live in this weird sort of limbo where so many simultaneously struggle to survive, to get a job, to earn a living wage, to get by, and yet also live in a world of opportunity, a world where you can fly around the world. You can live and work in other countries. Or at least that’s the idea we’re sold. We have more opportunity than any generation in history to do so many things — the world is smaller than it’s ever been — and there’s a worry that if you have kids and settle down before you’ve seen and done everything, then you’ve failed. You’ve “wasted your life.” But then also, nobody has any money and can’t pay their rent. I feel like so many people are putting off having kids in the hopes they can do all this stuff they’ve been promised they can do, but then they end up not being able to afford it, so they just go out drinking at the weekend. But you know what? That’s fine, isn’t it.
Having kids, I’m sure, is a beautiful, wonderful thing, but you don’t have to. And anyone who chooses to is being entirely selfless, and that’s amazing. But it’s also not an indictment of a person to not want to. There’s f—ing loads of humans on earth; we don’t really need more. But I guess the point is that we’re all led to believe that we can do all this cool stuff, but if we don’t and just have kids, then our life sucks and we’ve missed out. But a lot of (most?) people can’t even do those things anyway, but we because follow billionaires’ Instagrams we get annoyed we have kids instead of yachts. Or something? But yeah, this film is about that. Sort of.
What would you put on your “Baby Bucket List?”
I’ve been lucky that I had a few things I always wanted to do in my life and I’ve managed to do them. Not to sit here and chat about the cool s–t I’ve been lucky enough to do, but I always wanted to swim with great whites, skydive, and bungee jump, and I’ve managed to do all three, the latter of which was achieved on this film! I’ve been trying to think in lockdown what I’ll do when we’re allowed out. It’s quite basic: Go out and see people. Go to a pub. An arcade? Play football. I’ve always wanted to go watch England play Ashes cricket in Australia. I suppose that’s a dream. Yeah, I could try to do that. I want to see Leeds play in the Premier League. They’re back there now — played 20-odd games and nobody can go. That’s rubbish, so I’d like to go watch them when we’re allowed.
Baby Done is available to rent or buy on VOD.
Margaret Qualley stars as a literary assistant who impersonates one of her boss’s clients who just happens to be one of the most reclusive writers in the world: J.D. Salinger.
This time loop romantic comedy centers on a couple who discover they are the only people who realize they are living the same day over and over again.
Benedict Cumberbatch plays an unassuming banker who finds himself caught in a web of spies after he is asked to become a courier by the British government.
Thumbnail image by ©IFC Films