#SXSW: “TO LESLIE”
By Mr. Will Wong
Director Michael Morris (Better Call Saul, 13 Reasons Why) is known primarily for his work in Television, but makes his feature debut at SXSW with TO LESLIE. The Texas-set Drama centers on Leslie (Andrea Riseborough), a single mother who has made some poor life choices and after winning the lottery some years ago, blowing it all away. She lost custody of her son and has bottomed-out, going from stranger to stranger, turning to alcohol as her sources of comfort. She’s burned bridges around town and they aren’t afraid to remind her.
She meets Sweeney (Marc Maron), who owns a local motel. He gives her a chance to start again, hiring her on as a cleaner. Leslie however struggles, returning to her old self-destructive ways. This seems to be her last chance at getting her life in order and a shot at redemption with her son, a cross she’s beared for many years.
While TO LESLIE takes some time to unfold, Morris gives scenes the space to breathe and his audience to ponder. And your patience is rewarded if you wait to the end. Riseborough‘s superb work cannot be denied. She delivers a performance that makes one feel the weight of the world she carries on her shoulders. She’s numb to her critics, including Nancy (Allison Janney) who once loved her but now loathes her, and is really just trying to get through the day and not get fired. While her relationship with Sweeney doesn’t erase her problems, it awakens that little bit of vigor she needs to move forward again and for things to fall into place. The Film possesses great heart and soul because of the care and compassion Riseborough puts into Leslie and the struggles she’s facing. Sidenote: she produces the Film alongside Maron.
TO LESLIE screens at SXSW ’22 as follows:
Mar 12, 20228:30pm—10:29pm
Mar 13, 9:00am CDT – Mar 15, 9:00am CDT9:00am—10:59am
Mar 15, 202212:45pm—2:44pm
Mar 18, 20229:45pm—11:44pm