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SXSW Review: I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking)

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We’re at SXSW… kind of! The event is taking place virtually this year so while we’re all watching movies online we’re still bringing you coverage of the best film festival of the year. Check out all of our SXSW 2021 coverage.

Perseverance is a word that’s thrown around that has a different meaning to different people. Where some might see perseverance, others may see a typical day. Hope and despair fall into the categories of relativity. Whatever the term, I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) finds a way to define each of those as a young widowed mother attempts to make ends meet for her and her daughter. 

I'M FINE (Thanks for Asking) | Trailer

I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking)
Director: Kelley Kali and Angelique Molina
Release date: TBD
Rating: TBD

In Kelley Kali and Angelique Molina’s I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking), Danny (Kali) struggles to come up with the money she needs for a new apartment. Having lost her husband unexpectedly, and the COVID-19 pandemic costing her the ability to make a living, Danny finds herself and her daughter on an extended “camping trip” with everything they own stuffed inside a tent along the side of the road. The ensuing day sees hope rise and fall as she searches all avenues to find a few extra dollars to afford a security deposit on an apartment. 

On the verge of a change after some major setbacks, Danny spends her day skating around town to come up with the last $200 she needs for the deposit. After being denied payment by one of her hair clients, Danny desperately reaches out to other clients for a quick appointment but is turned down with each attempt. She opts to partner with a food delivery app, skating from restaurant to house ad nauseam for every buck she can get. Her desperation and frustration are evident when a disgruntled customer claims food was missing and left a bad tip and poor rating. 

Danny runs into friends who offer their condolences around her husband’s passing, the conversation often turning towards themselves rather than what Danny may be going through. She doesn’t let anyone in because she feels a mix of embarrassment, humiliation, and desperation. It isn’t until she shares a joint with an old friend that she bears her vulnerable soul to another human being. She skates around her truth as she skates around the streets of California. 

Kali is emotionally excellent in her role as Danny. The pain and exhaustion are felt from beginning to end. The one item left of her husband--his wedding ring--is constantly with her until it isn’t, and she releases a scream of anguish at not just a lost ring but of the entire situation she’s found herself in. You can’t help but feel for the woman who is trying everything she can and coming up short at every turn. Even when she thinks she found a friend, his kindness of opening his home to her and her daughter was a motive for him uncomfortably sharing his feelings about her, and making unwelcome advances. 

I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) is a small-budget film that tells a heartening story during the time of a pandemic, which unfortunately is relatable to everyone and preys on those feelings. Add in the loss of a spouse and her income, and Danny’s story hits a different note altogether. The connection she shares with her daughter is everything, and together they keep the memory of Danny’s husband alive and use it as a special bond that can’t be broken by a pandemic or lack of money. 

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Exceptional

8.5

I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) finds a way to define perseverance as a young widowed mother attempts to make ends meet for her and her daughter. 

Nick Hershey