Fantasia 2021: Our Review of ‘Baby Don’t Cry’

Fantasia 2021: Our Review of ‘Baby Don’t Cry’

For the modern-day cowboys and cowgirls, is there any where to go in the modern world? While it would not seem to be the case on the surface, Jesse Dvorak’s debut feature Baby Don’t Cry is really trying to answer this question. But the fact that the film is also trying to develop answer to several other questions is what seems to be holding it back. Ultimately, what Baby Don’t Cry needs is a more focused central theme.

For modern-day cowboys and cowgirls, it usually doesn’t work out. It didn’t work out for Kit and Holly in Badlands, and its likely not to work out for Baby (Zita Bai) and her delinquent boyfriend Fox (Vas Provatakis). Frustrated by the actions of her abusive mother (Helen Sun), and struggling to connect with those around her, Baby gravitates to Fox even though he’s got bad news written all of every pore of his tattooed body. “Are you a cancer patient,” she asks him early in their relationship, the fatalism inherent to their every move.

This fatalism is what brings about the film’s indecisiveness. It’s clear to the audience that Baby and Fox are fatalistically doomed. He’s prone to angry outbursts, which is precisely what seem to drive the very reserved Baby to him. The pair rarely externalizes their true feelings towards each other, save to declare an intention to hit the open road.

What ultimately saves Baby Don’t Cry is Zita Bai’s performance in the eponymous role. Contrary to the instructions of the title, Baby does indeed cry at various points throughout the film. But Baby also isn’t perpetually crying. And it’s the range of emotions that Bai brings to the performance that makes it truly remarkable. I just wish it was in service of a more focused story.

This post was written by
Thomas Wishloff is currently an MA student at York University. He is new to the Toronto Film Scene, but has periodically written and podcasted for several now defunct ventures, and has probably commented on a forum with you at some point. The ex-Edmontonian has been known to enjoy a good board game, and claims to know the secret to the best popcorn in the world.
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