Mr. Roosevelt

Studio: Paladin
Directed by Noël Wells

Nov 15, 2017 Issue #62 - Julien Baker
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Struggling comedian Emily (Master of None’s Noël Wells) returns home to Austin, Texas, to say farewell to her terminally ill cat, who was left with her ex-boyfriend when she fled to Hollywood to chase some fleeting, viral YouTube fame. Dead broke, she’s taken in by her ex and his new, seemingly-perfect girlfriend, sleeping in the guest room of a house that used to be her own.

Written, directed by, and starring the SNL alum, Wells’ first feature is a promising debut behind the camera. Mr. Roosevelt—named after the film’s expired feline—takes a premise that sounds corny at first but thankfully avoids many of the obvious paths you’d expect in an independent comedy. Interestingly enough, Wells’ Emily is the film’s least sympathetic character: funny, yes, but immature, petty, and regularly irrational. It’s an unusual but welcome excursion from the norm—as is the way she wisely, with one exchange of dialogue, shoots down the “quirky girl” trope that plagues too many indie movies, pegging it as the frequently condescending qualifier that it is.

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Author rating: 7/10

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