Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Tribeca 2023 Review: CHASING CHASING AMY

Reviewed by: Josh "The Merc" Raynor

The very first film I heard about coming to the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival was a documentary about a movie I’ve loved for a very long time – Chasing Amy – and it’s the film that made me want… no, need to cover the event. I needed to see this film. But I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to watch.

Chasing Chasing Amy starts off as a film chronicling the making of one of director Kevin Smith’s most famous, and infamous, movies, but what I didn’t expect was that it would turn into something completely different, and so much more amazing.

Sav Rodgers spent several years working on this film, a film that began as a love letter to the film that saved his life. I connected with his story on many levels, from being the depressed loner in school who turned to movies for solace, to being someone who’s always just wanted to find love in their life, to experiencing the fear of coming out of the closet (though my journey there happened much later in life). Sav’s obsession with Chasing Amy is one that I understand and can relate to as I get older and have come to understand myself better.

He takes us all on a journey, not just into the world of this little indie film, but a journey into who he is as a person, a journey into his soul. We bear witness to Sav’s emotional, and physical, transition and get to see him become the person he truly is, while at the same time finding true love. All of this is surrounded by the story of Chasing Amy.

Rodgers manages to gather a heavy-hitting cast of people involved in the film, including Jason Lee, Joey Lauren Adams, and even Kevin Smith himself. We get to hear all about the film, its production, how the story came together, and so much more… but that’s far from all. This documentary doesn’t mince words as it dives into the controversial side of the film as well. We hear from several people in the LGBTQ+ community, including journalists, filmmakers, and more, about how this film isn’t the queer icon some make it out to be. In fact, for many, it’s quite the opposite.

The film also touches on many things that I never expected to hear about, such as Kevin’s time working with Harvey Weinstein and how the film was being made at the same time Rose McGowen was being assaulted. This was mentioned a few times throughout the film, and its inclusion brought with it a dramatic shift in the story being told.

We go on to hear about Smith and Adams’ relationship, and how it was an extremely painful time for Joey Lauren Adams. Her solo interview is one that I’m still thinking about now, long after watching the film, and still get very emotional over just thinking about it. She holds a special place in my heart, as she was one the first celebrities that I met at my very first comic convention – Niagara Falls Comic Con 2014. She was so nice and just took the time to chat with me about random stuff. It’s a memory I hold dear to this day, and so, seeing her open up the way she did in this film hit me in a way that I wasn’t expecting.

One of the most wonderful things about Chasing Chasing Amy was getting the opportunity to witness Sav’s transition. Seeing how making this documentary impacted him on such a profound level was simply incredible and completely awe-inspiring. Seeing him grow and find love, and then watching that love flourish was more than I could have ever asked for in this 93-minute documentary.

This is an absolutely beautiful, emotional film that not only tells the story of the making of a great movie, but tells the story of one person’s path to discovering and accepting who they really are, and that alone makes it worth watching.


The Merc’s Score: 10/10



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