Michael Seater’s sophomore effort Sadie’s Last Days on Earth solidifies him as a filmmaker to watch for. He’s still budding within his new career, and yet he’s already a master at generating tender authenticity.
Last year, Seater debuted as a filmmaker with People Hold On, a modest ensemble dramedy he collaborated with co-producer/co-writer Paula Brancati. The film had a great cast, but People Hold On ultimately succeeded because of Seater and Brancati’s brainstorming; turning simplified scenes of dialoging into exchanges of vibrance and honesty.
Seater and Brancati team up again for Sadie’s Last Days on Earth and hit similar strides. Only this time, the wittiness is surrounded by a sci-fi aura – Easy A meets Donnie Darko.
Meticulous student Sadie (Morgan Taylor Campbell) has calculated dire news of an apocalypse – she wastes no time preparing. She stocks up on supplies from a local vendor (TV’s George Stroumboulopoulous in an amusing cameo) when she’s not recording audio journals in her bunker. As much as she tries to warn her community, Sadie’s known anxiety paints her as a teenage Chicken Little to her apathetic parents (Helene Joy, Peter Keleghan) and other students. Luckily, Jack (Ricardo Hoyos of Netflix’s Degrassi: Next Class) is one classmate who isn’t freaked out by Sadie’s worries.
Sadie’s bucket list of things-to-do-and-learn-before-the-end-of-the-world acts as a loose structure for this sweet coming-of-age story. Campbell is compelling as a lead who earns the audience’s trust through Sadie’s genuine fear, and Hoyos is a sturdy sidekick who simultaneously keeps the story grounded while allowing the film’s ambition to breathe.
Sadie’s Last Days on Earth is surprisingly optimistic considering the peril. In that sense, Seater’s film could be a junior version of Lorene Scafaria’s Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. However, Scafaria’s film focused more on the bittersweet humour within inevitable tragedy. Sadie’s Last Days on Earth – a lighter film for a different crowd – is fixated on hopeful silver lining.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie