TIFF 2023: Our Review of ‘Frybread Face and Me’

Posted in TIFF 2023 by - September 17, 2023
TIFF 2023: Our Review of ‘Frybread Face and Me’

It’s clearly obvious that the reference point for Billy Luther’s Frybread Face and Me is Taika Waititi’s Boy. Behind the scenes, Waititi himself is an executive producer; on screen, the film’s beats feel similar. Scenes often finish on jokes reminiscent of the dry, often sardonic, humor that Waititi is famous for. Sadly, Luther’s film acts as a pale imitation of someone else’s form.

et me be frank: this is a form of cinema that is not really for me for about a half-a-dozen reasons. This isn’t to say that Frybread Face and Me won’t have an audience. It will. Rather, it’s to point out that whatever your initial impression of a three-sentence synopsis is, they are probably correct.

In Frybread Face and Me, 11-year-old Benny’s (Kier Tallman) summer is thrown for a loop when, instead of seeing Fleetwood Mac in concert, he’s sent to live with his grandmother on the Navajo Nation. Trying to deal with his bullying Uncle Marvin (Martin Sensemeier, Wind River), Benny forms a friendship with his cousin Dawn (Charley Hogan) – a.k.a Frybread Face – who guides him through his summer.

Luther’s intentions are clear: this is a coming of age story that’s meant to move to both laughter and tears. Like Waititi’s work, the thesis of the film is often that laughter and connection help move you through the darkness. I have grown weary of films where that thesis is all that seems to be happening. More power to you if that’s the case for you.


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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