Hot Docs 2022: Our Review of ‘Sam Now’

Hot Docs 2022: Our Review of ‘Sam Now’

Directed by Reed Harkness, Sam Now tells the story of his half-brother Sam as he grapples with the disappearance of his mother in his youth. Grabbing his Super 8 camera, teenage Sam sets out to find her and as they reconnect, their relationship seems to be repaired. But is it? Fast forwarding a decade, Sam Now also explores the effects of her abandonment. It also explores the subconscious traumas experienced by denial and conversely, healing.

As the drama unfolds, Sam Now falls into two separate parts. The first part deals with Sam’s impetuous search for his mother in his youth. Meanwhile, the second half deals focusses on his journey to reconcile his history with his present. Interestingly, both segments adopt very different styles of filmmaking. Harkness especially imbues the pieces of young Sam’s story with youthful exuberance.

One of the most powerful aspects about this film is its decision to emphasize forgiveness and reconciliation. The relationship between Sam, his brothers and his mother has so many layers that their decision to move forward is nothing short of heroic. However, at the same time, the film also highlights the necessity of addressing the hurts they got you there in the first place.

True healing requires dealing with the muck, as opposed to simply paving over it.

Is a relationship restored if honest conversations never take place? In many ways, Sam Now tries to maintain the fact that there are no heroes and villains in the story. By allowing Sam’s mother to share her journey, we gain some insight into her decision making. However, neither does the film excuse her of the actions of her youth. As a result, Sam Now reminds us that, while the road to healing is never a straight line, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth travelling.

  • Release Date: 5/1/2022
This post was written by
Born at a very early age, Steve is a Toronto-based writer and podcaster who loves to listen to what matters to our culture on screen. When he first saw Indiana Jones steal the cross of Coronado, he knew his world would never be the same and, since then, he’s found more and more excuses to digest what’s in front of him onscreen. Also, having worked as a youth and community minister for almost 20 years, he learned that stories help everyone engage the world around them. He’s a proud hubby, father (x2) and believes that Citizen Kane, Batman Forever (yes, the Kilmer one), and The Social Network belong in the same conversation. You can hear his ramblings on ScreenFish Radio wherever podcasts are gettable or at his website,
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