Through the lens of its 13-year old protagonist, Sadie displays the toll that the military takes on American families while family members are on tour.
Sadie (Sophia Mitri Schloss) lives at home with her mother, Rae (Melanie Lynskey), in the Shady Plains Trailer Park. Sadie patiently waits for her dad, John, to come home. He’s serving tour overseas in spite of the many promises to return home. She’s loyal to her dad in this sense and will do what she can to keep his place warm.
While Sadie is as loyal as ever, Rae isn’t as much. No letters or phone calls have come over the course of many years. This is how long it’s been since he’s left them to serve overseas: years. I don’t wish to undervalue the sacrifice it takes to serve in the military but this film wishes to look at it through the emotional stress on family members. Sadie isn’t appearing to move on any time soon. Rae seems to have started giving up on her husband’s return. Whether you wish to call it dating or not, she’s gotten friendly with a school counselor, Bradley (Tony Hale).
Rae’s best friend, Carla (Danielle Brooks), has a son, Francis (Keith L. Williams), who essentially depends on Sadie to protect him from bullies. Meanwhile, Sadie has found a way to bond with Carla’s retired dad, Deak (Tee Dennard).
Things get really weird when when Cyrus (John Gallagher Jr.) comes to town. Even though Rae had taken a liking with Bradley, she starts taking a liking to Cyrus. This new-found friendship, whatever it may be, does not sit well with Sadie. Not by a long shot. It’s enough that she’ll do whatever it takes to get him out of her life.
One can’t help but feel for the heartache that both Sadie and Rae are going through. Their father and husband is dedicated to his career in the military. That this is tough on them is not a surprise to say the least. Every phone call could be the news of his death or that he’s coming home. This isn’t the way that anybody would want to live. Not at all. I’m not going to comment on the ending. I’ll just say that it’s something you need to experience yourself in order to take it all in.
Writer-director Megan Griffiths gives us a seemingly familiar story. The biggest difference? It’s focused on a teenage girl rather than a teenage boy that we’re so used to seeing in these films. This is a war film to an extent. Rather than the battlefield being in a war zone, the war zone comes home to the trailer park. It’s the perfect satire in this way! While Sadie’s dad may not exactly be in the picture, she’s her own soldier in a way with how she views some of the people around her. We can view this film through the guise of violence from fighting war but in how it’s seen in the home front.
There’s also a larger message to be served by Tony Hale’s Bradley. He seems to warn Sadie of the consequences of her actions. In spite of what he says, she pushes back. No matter what happens, Sadie doesn’t seem to suffer from any negative fallout. Look at it as playing a video game. It doesn’t matter how many people you kill in those games because you’ll never suffer any kind of traumatic experience. But what happens if you pull the trigger in real life? Surely, it will effect you to some sort of extent where you develop PTSD in the process.
Led by the performance of Sophia Mitri Schloss, Sadie somehow finds a way to look at violence through a different kind of lens.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Megan Griffiths
CAST: Sophia Mitri Schloss, Melanie Lynskey, John Gallagher Jr., Tony Hale, with Keith L. Williams and Danielle Brooks