Monday, December 18, 2023

'Tis the Season - The Apology (2022)

Streaming Service: Hulu
Movie Name/Year: The Apology (2022)
Genre: Thriller
Length:  1h 32min
Rating: Not Rated
Director: Alison Locke
Writers: Alison Locke
Actors: Anna Gunn, Linus Roache, Janeane Garofalo, Mary Leeholland, Esmé McSherry, Zena Leigh Logan
IMDb Blurb: Twenty years after the disappearance of her daughter, a recovering alcoholic is preparing to host her family's Christmas celebration when her estranged ex-brother-in-law arrives unannounced, bearing nostalgic gifts and a heavy secret.
Selina’s Point of View:
The Apology is a much longer step away from basic Christmas fare than most of the movies on our schedule this season. The settings are full of colorful lights and there’s a party to look forward to, but that’s where the joy ends. There’s no magic. It’s just a grieving mother coming to terms with the horrific truth of what happened to her daughter 20 years ago.
The Apology is one of those films that concentrates on only two characters and a single setting for the majority of the run time. There were just a few scenes with one other person. The concept is an interesting one, especially with the specific plot utilized, but not easy to pull off. When you have a movie that concentrates on such a limited cast, it’s important that every other aspect is 100% on point. Otherwise, it could easily come off as a chore to watch. 
In the case of The Apology, there were a lot of issues. Most important among them being that the main characters don’t have anything to grab audience attention.
Anna Gunn has a couple of decent scenes, but mostly feels like she’s forcing herself to say what she’s supposed to. There was no conviction. Meanwhile, there was never a moment that Linus Roache felt like he was giving what he was supposed to. Finally, as much as I enjoy a bit of Janeane Garofalo, she was out of place everywhere but the beginning of the film. There were moments where The Apology cut to her that just didn’t make sense. During those times she brought a comedic relief that was completely out of left field and didn’t work. It was strangely timed, at best.
I didn’t enjoy The Apology. I always knew it was going to be a difficult watch, but I didn’t know the reason would be because it was bad. 
Cat’s Point of View:
Let me tell you, The Apology was not what I expected. I didn’t remember the trailer, provided I’d watched it back in 2022 when this film could have potentially been part of our Top 20. I didn’t really remember anything about it other than it existed. I somehow hadn’t watched it when it was released as a Shudder original, either. When I went to Hulu to view it today, the blurb did not leave me prepared.
I honestly thought, upon skimming the small paragraph, that I’d be in for some sort of family drama with a convenient Christmas backdrop. I settled in prepared to grimace my way through it – because family drama is the last thing I really want to watch right about now. I crave escape and productions that will leave me on the edge of my seat. The blurb would have been better if it had said “buckle up, buttercup” but that’s neither here nor there.
Needless to say, I was wrong. Whether by my mis-reading of the information or assumptions, I was so far off base from what The Apology actually was, I nearly got whiplash…figuratively speaking.
The movie I watched started normal enough but then took an unexpected hard turn into unpleasant territory from a thematic point of view. I felt this sick sense of dread and generally couldn’t look away from the emotional train-wreck playing out. Now don’t get me wrong – that wasn’t a bad thing. The story dealt with brutal and raw emotions as well as some things that tend to be pretty hard to hear, let alone imagine. Let this be a trigger warning. 
The production really took good advantage of the claustrophobic setting of the single residence locked in winter weather isolation. Everyone on that set left everything they had on the screen. I felt the protagonist’s pain and conflict viscerally. I was actually surprised to learn that this was writer and director Alison Locke’s (Stupidface, Shhhhhhh..., Sensory Overload) debut feature-length film. I look forward to seeing what she brings us in the future.
Alas, while I can’t really find fault with The Apology and would definitely share with others that this was a surprisingly decent movie, I can’t see myself wanting to watch it again due to the emotional roller-coaster within. This is definitely not a Christmas party feel-good movie or something you’d want to just randomly have playing in the background over the holiday. I would recommend watching The Apology as  a specific choice if you’re in the mood for something dark. Also, while The Apology is unrated, this is not a movie to watch around the young.
My final piece of advice regarding The Apology is that the trailer gives away too much. If you are interested in achieving the full experience of this film, you’ll want to skip the preview.
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 52%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 41%
Metascore – 46%
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.2/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 1.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3/5
Trust the Dice: Parental Advisory Rating – R
Movie Trailer: