One of the problems with Netflix’s marketing tactics is that they’re not super-consistent. Sometimes movies get decent campaigns that last at least a month or two. Other times a trailer drops three days after the movie has already hit the streaming service. That means it’s hard for me to plug recaps into my blog editorial calendar and I occasionally just completely miss them. Or I put them to the side to cover other things and find oh, the movie was released three weeks ago.
Because there were a number of smaller-scale campaigns that have been run for recent movies that I 100% dropped the ball on I wanted to at least pay them some small amount of attention in these capsule recaps. Not sure if this is going to become an ongoing feature, but it’s what I’m doing today…
Unlike a lot of Netflix releases there was actually a bit of press activity for this one, with director Jennifer Morrison talking here and here about the movie, its story and other topics. All that came after it made the festival rounds over the course of the last several months to build up buzz. The trailer is a bit uneven as it’s hard to identify a clear and consistent tone, with elements bouncing back and forth from being super-serious to being slightly more lighthearted. It almost seems like it’s saying the kind of person who sees conspiracies and enemies all around him is slightly dangerous and a bit off-balance, but the marketing doesn’t commit to that premise so it’s hard to tell.
The movie scored some pretty good reviews when it debuted at SXSW last month and the trailer sells it as an emotional drama about how Mo (Elvire Emanuelle) wants to defy everyone’s expectations to do what she feels drawn to do. She’s out to prove herself and overcome the problems in her life, though it’s clear her issues come to the forefront and threaten to derail her ambition. It’s a triumph of the underdog story being sold here.
Chanté Adams stars as Roxanne Shanté in the telling of that rapper’s real story. Netflix picked up the rights to the movie from Neon a while ago, one of many such acquisitions. The rawness of Roxanne’s life is on display in the trailer as she does whatever the heck she wants on her way to carving out her own success. She’s defiant and independent and determined in this story about chasing your dreams as a way to escape your circumstances.
Noël Wells and Ben Schwartz star in this story about young married who succumb to the ennui of many such couples as they realize that high of infatuation and first love doesn’t last forever and that it’s marathon, not a sprint. There’s a lot of humor of the relationship variety in the trailer, which shows we’re going to visit important moments in their life together in addition to the current situation and the two look like they play off each other very well. It’s selling a light-hearted dramady that we’ve seen before but which may still be enjoyable.
The marketing, which included a trailer and a poster, has primarily been focused on selling the relationship between Seth (Dave Franco), who’s addicted to heroin, and his sister Katie (Abbi Jacobson). Katie loves her brother and wants to help him but isn’t sure what the best way to do that is. It’s not clear from the trailer how much the story dives into the reasons for Seth’s addiction and abuse, it’s just something he keeps struggling with. It’s being sold as a raw drama about the excuses you make for family and the flaws you overlook because you love them.
There have been a few profiles of Abbi Jacobson in the wake of the movie’s release, most of which focus on how different this is from “Broad City,” which she’s most widely known for and her first real dramatic role.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.