The cinema of kindness is always the most affecting for me, and Cooper Raiff’s Cha Cha Real Smooth is a doozy in that regard. Films that cause tears to start flowing but not in a calculated and cynical way, instead by showing us the true experiences of people and their complex relationships are really quite special. A layabout twenty-something (Raiff) becomes a bar mitzvah party starter and soon becomes close with a lonely mum (Dakota Johnson) and her autistic daughter (Vanessa Burghardt). Much like Raiff’s feature directorial debut SHITHOUSE, this takes its time and lets you feel every awkward/painful/sweet character interaction and its fallout in real time. Raiff has a unique screen presence and low-key directorial verve to spare, many heartfelt and funny moments with Johnson and Burghardt (both mesmerising) likely to stay with you for the foreseeable future. SSP
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Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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