Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

“The Sweet East” review: An esoteric odyssey for the chronically online

Courtesy of Utopia

If a split screen sensory Tik Tok was adapted into a film, the result would be Sean Price Williams’ directorial debut, “The Sweet East”.

The film follows Lillian (Talia Ryder), a highschooler on a class trip to Washington, D.C., who is swiftly transported to an alternate dimension in which the world is her oyster. Having no desire to return, she embarks on an East coast escapade where she encounters offbeat, idiosyncratic individuals like filmmaker Molly (Ayo Edebiri) and dodgy scholar Lawrence (Simon Rex).

“The Sweet East” is unparalleled to anything of recent release by virtue of its phantasmal genre-bending and jocular political commentary. I can see why some audiences were displeased with its contents, considering that in all its whimsical glory, it lacks a fair amount of conviction. However, this seems to have been Williams’ intent; some things aren’t meant to be taken to heart, particularly in art.

Ryder’s Lillian is subtle yet captivating, posing as a quirked-up damsel far from distress. For someone with few film credits, “The Sweet East” assures a promising path for Ryder. Getting her start on Broadway, Ryder sings an original piece, “Evening Mirror”, in the film’s title sequence. It’s evident that she’s a natural bound to be booked and busy in the near future.

The film’s essence is ultimately unattainable, which in my opinion, makes it more worthwhile. It’s hard to believe that this is the work of sober individuals, in the sense that its premise gives the impression of a personified psychedelic reverie. Where it’s deficient in narrative depth, it’s abundant in technicality.

The color grade and 70s-esque grain call for nostalgic yearning. I particularly enjoyed the uncertainty the film provided by means of coalescing epochal references. I found myself questioning the era in which the film is set. Is it the 2000s? No, they have smartphones. Wait, now we’re in a parallel universe. Is it a modernized interpretation of the 70s? Edebiri’s Molly hits a juul, guess not.

All things considered, “The Sweet East” is an acquired taste. Nonetheless, I’d encourage everyone to give it a watch and decide for themselves.


“The Sweet East” is playing in select theaters.

4/5 stars

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About the Contributor
Mia Oliva
Mia Oliva, Life and Times Editor
Mia Oliva is the Life & Times Editor of The Maroon. She has also served as Reviews Editor in previous semesters. Mia is a journalism senior with an English minor. Apart from the Maroon, Mia spends her time reading and writing, as well as watching movies and observing pop culture. Mia can be reached at [email protected].

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