Do you want to feel nervous and upset heading into the weekend! Great, the Foe trailer is here just for you. Garth Davis, director of the crowd-pleasing Lion and Mary Magdalene, the film starring Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix that no one saw, is back with an adaptation of Iain Reid’s novel of the same name. Davis and Reid collaborated on the script, and the film stars Paul Mescal, Saoirse Ronan, and Aaron Pierre (who made a big impression as Caesar on The Underground Railroad).
The trailer is giving me Interstellar vibes, mainly in the way that this is a future-set film in which people are going to space and Earth is a dusty sh-thole. Mescal and Ronan star as a married couple, and when Junior is chosen to go “up there”, his wife, Henrietta, will be left with a companion to keep her company. It seems like Junior is less than cool with this, while Henrietta is like, eh, our marriage kinda sucks anyway. It’s a relationship drama with space and robots, but it’s also a showcase for the cast. It’s like a 30 Under 30 list in cinematic form—or 3 Under 30, anyway—with the added bonus of Ronan and Mescal representing the new wave of Irish film stars. It feels inevitable that those two would end up in a film together.
This is going to be a super weird award season. Just after we thought things were back to normal after the pandemic—which is still, technically, ongoing—the double strike means there will be a lot of empty red carpets this fall. While some big movies may move into 2024 to preserve their press tours, that might clear the path for smaller to mid-size films, like Foe. There have certainly been blockbusters this year, and there are still several big films on the calendar, including Killers of the Flower Moon and Maestro, but could the double strike have the inadvertent effect of helping create space for a mid-size movie rebound?
A film like Foe used to come out every month—recognizable stars in a character-driven drama with a mid-eight figure budget—but they started dying in the 2000s as blockbusters, and particularly superhero movies, took over. But with audiences restless for something new, will studios go back to taking chances on smaller movies? Could the strikes lead to a Seventies-esque revival of independent dramas? Foe is distributed by Amazon, so we’re not there yet, but if more big movies vacate the fall schedule, it will create space for films like this to find an audience. The question is if audiences will respond and support films like Foe.