Easily the most “non-controversial” movie I screened at Sundance this year, Abe, directed by Fernando Grostein Andrade, is a very lighthearted story about a kid who’s love-of-all-things food helps him deal with the religious divide in his family.
Stranger Things star, Noah Schnapp, is Abe. A young man from New York, who is Palestinian on his father’s side, and Jewish on his mother’s side. Abe’s grandparents make family get-togethers unbearable. But worst than that, it is tearing his parents apart.
So Abe uses his love of food as an escape. And after finding Chico (Seu Jorge), a local chef on Instagram who is known for his fusion creations, he sets out on a quest to locate him and learn from him. After several rejections from the chef, his persistence pays off and is soon learning about flavor combinations and creating dishes he always dreamed of. But, while that part of his life is soaring, his home life is becoming more and more intolerable.
“…Palestinian on his father’s side, and Jewish on his mother’s side. Abe’s grandparents make family get-togethers unbearable.”
Abe was an interesting one for me. I wanted to really love it. The problem overall wasn’t that the premise wasn’t intriguing, but that the stories execution was mediocre, at best.
The scenes with Abe and Chico were fun, and at times heart-warming, but everything just seemed to be repetitive and lagged. Not to say the performances in the film weren’t solid. Especially from late veteran actor, Mark Margolis, who plays one of Abe’s grandfathers, and also from actress Salem Murphy, his grandmother.
This film felt more like an “afterschool special.” What I mean by that is that this movie felt very “safe” for a festival film that is all about taking chances.
Would I recommend Abe?
“…nice moments with the backdrop being a family that’s being torn apart by religious intolerance.”
Yes and no. I think Abe is a movie that you can watch with your entire family, which is surprisingly in short demand right now. It has a lot of “nice” moments with the backdrop being a family that’s being torn apart by religious intolerance. Also, the scenes with Abe cooking with Chico and the staff had some pretty funny moments that broke up the tension of what was happening in Abe’s home life.
But I also think that this is a movie that unfortunately you will forget about 10 minutes after viewing it. At least for me personally, it left little impression.
Abe (2019) Directed by Fernando Grostein Andrade. Written by Lameese Issaq, Jacob Kader, Christopher Vogler, Fernando Grostein Andrade. Starring Noah Schnapp, Seu Jorge, Mark Margolis, Dagmara Dominczyk, and Salem Murphy. Abe screened at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
6 OUT OF 10