Cold Copy – Tribeca 2023

Cold Copy puts the spotlight on the world of cutthroat journalism as a J-School student will do anything to get ahead in the field.

Mia Scott (Bel Powley) is a journalism student that wants to get into Diane Heger’s (Tracee Ellis Ross) class. She wants it so much that she’ll practically do anything to succeed. Mia gets into the class even as her interview does not impress Diane. Diane offers her 20 students the opportunity to get their investigative story on her nightly news show, The Night Report. Finding the story is easier said than done but slowly but surely, one comes to her in the form of Charlotte Nowak’s son, Igor (Jacob Tremblay).

As Mia befriends Igor, she believes there’s a story about rising from the ashes. Diane keeps pushing her to go further, for better or worse. Is it a good idea for Mia to become a younger version of Diane? Probably not but there she is befriending her subjects and crossing the line. Is it worth it in the end? I suppose that it is all in the eye of the beholder. What we have throughout this film are people who construct and hide who they are behind these façades.  It’s more or less the same with social media these days. Are we really interacting with someone’s truth self? Or are they hiding behind a façade? You never really know.

The current state of journalism also does not even get me started on the gazillion articles that are written around seeing a single tweet online. It’s like recipe bloggers where you have to scroll down a bit for any news. Is it journalism? No, not really. It’s clickbait through and through. Is it really worth writing 800 words about? Doubtful. In any event, those are my feelings on it the current state. But I digress.

The truth is certainly important in journalism. A journalist will do whatever they can to get to the truth. Unfortunately, as is the case in Cold Copy, it might mean crossing the line. I wouldn’t personally recommend doing that but it’s what makes this film the astonishing thriller that it is. Anyway, it’s been a while since we’ve seen a good journalism thriller where lines get crossed in the search for the truth. Roxine Helberg has written a smart character-driven thriller that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. Helberg’s script focuses more om what is happening behind the scenes. In the process, we see an ambitious journalism student go on quite the character arc. Helberg also subverts the typical mentor-mentee relationship by showing it through a female lens rather than male. Regardless of whether they are male or female, the ego is still there.

Most recently, Bel Powley shined in A Small Light on National Geographic. The actress is just as stunning and superb as Mia Scott in Cold Copy. Powley also delivers another award-worthy performance, too. The actress is perfect as she goes head-to-head against Tracee Ellis Ross. It’s really incredible watching them and not knowing what is going to happen next. Meanwhile, Tracee Ellis Ross is just as stunning herself as she keeps pulling back layer after layer in showing Diane’s manipulation.

Cold Copy is the next great journalism film.

DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Roxine Helberg
CAST: Bel Powley, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jacob Tremblay, Nesta Cooper

Cold Copy holds its world premiere during the 2023 Tribeca Festival in the Spotlight Narrative section. Grade: 4/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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