Sam Now – Hot Docs 2022

Sam Now

Sam Now – Hot Docs 2022

What happens when a boy and his brother go in search of their missing mom?

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25 years' worth of home movies is used to tell the story of a young man's search for his mother in . Since he was a teenager, Reed Harkness would film his young half-brother Sam, beginning with simple home movies shot with a VHS camcorder and evolving to more polished Super-8 productions. However, these movies are also the key to unlocking one of the Harkness family's biggest mysteries, which was the sudden disappearance of Sam's mother Joyce in 2000. Together, Reed and Sam decide to try and find out where Joyce went and why she abandoned Sam.

Sam Now is a documentary directed by Reed Harkness that is literally more than two decades in the making. The film utilizes home movie footage and Super-8 films, all centred around Reed's brother Sam. The movies are used to tell the story of the brothers' search for Sam's mother Joyce, though that aspect turns out to only be the first part of the story.

Sam Now can almost be seen as a documentary version of the film Boyhood, since over the course of the film we see the main subject of Sam Harkness grow up from a young child to a fully-grown man in his 30s. While the story kicks off about being about the search for Sam's mother, Sam's Now actually ends up being more about how we might try to change things from the past, but only end up in the same place, with the results of Sam's search actually ending up somewhat on the anticlimatic side. However, Sam Now is still a quite fascinating multi-decade journey of self-discovery.

Trailer for Sam Now – Hot Docs 2022

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.