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      Sam Now

      Released Apr 7, 2023 1 hr. 26 min. Documentary Biography List
      90% 21 Reviews Tomatometer 97% Fewer than 50 Ratings Audience Score Filmed over an expanse of 25 years, two brothers go on a 2,000-mile road trip to solve a family mystery. Shooting on nearly every camera format imaginable, from hand-developed Super-8 film to Arri 4K, Sam Harkness and his older half brother Reed use their creative world of fiction filmmaking to dive headfirst into dealing with the issue at hand: Sam's mom is missing. Sam's wetsuit and mask-wearing alter ego, The Blue Panther, bounds into frame with youthful energy and a heroic spirit of adventure. But can The Blue Panther save the day? And are these fun-loving brothers actually ready for what lies ahead? Solving the mystery of Sam's mom's disappearance is only the beginning of their story. The documentary uses a hybrid narrative approach, drawing from a vast archive of fictional films, home videos, intimate family interviews and vérité scenes from over the decades. Sobering revelations blend with playful home movies and vibrant experimental filmmaking by brother and director Reed Harkness. The brothers take a spontaneous road trip in search of answers. We learn of Sam's mother Jois' complicated adoption history from Japan. We experience the ripple effects on the Harkness family including Sam's brother Jared, father Randy and grandma Doris. And we are there with Sam coming of age from 11 to 36. SAM NOW is about growth. The film balances heavy themes and emotional reckonings with buoyant energy and lighthearted spirit. The optimistic teenage Sam we get to know, with his heart set on finding his mom, grows into a man whose new hope is to break the cycle of generational trauma. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Premiered Jun 06 Buy Now

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      Sam Now

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      Audience Reviews

      View All (15) audience reviews
      Wentao M Very intimate family film. It's about love and reconciliation. Beautiful and poetic. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 12/24/23 Full Review Alyce P I felt so emotionally connected with this story… almost brought tears to my eyes… I have to watch it again… Rated 5 out of 5 stars 09/13/23 Full Review S R I am glad they made this movie. The footage alone is impressive. However, it crescendoed to finding the mother and it turned out to be a sad let down leading to mental breakdowns. We rented it on Amazon. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 07/09/23 Full Review T F L Sam Now is an amazing story with dedication and heart. The wonderful, charming, and touching story of brothers who want to explore and delve into a core issue of their childhood.... I felt so apart of the family and loved watching the story as the brothers explored love, hurt, independence, and the journey to getting to know themselves more as they grow up. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 06/14/23 Full Review Lisa D A beautiful and intimate ballad of a documentary, that is dedicated to understanding the complicated unfolding of a family through a collage of multi-generational digital and analog records. SAM NOW is at once a raw portrayal of inherited pain, yet it overflows with compassion and understanding for its characters. The film is a must watch for all who are working to unpack their own origins. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 06/13/23 Full Review Wil K Thoughtfully produced, entertaining, insightful, and honest. So glad that this movie is finding its audience! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 06/10/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

      Critics Reviews

      View All (21) Critics Reviews
      Moira MacDonald Seattle Times I don’t want to reveal the twists and turns of Sam Now, but know that this real-life story heads in unexpected directions, and that in watching it you will be both frustrated by imperfect human behavior and dazzled by the strength of family love. Rated: 4/4 Nov 28, 2023 Full Review Noel Murray Los Angeles Times Sam Now is mostly an honest examination of some common, familiar forms of family dysfunction... Jun 8, 2023 Full Review Matt Zoller Seitz RogerEbert.com A gentle, empathetic movie that will be unbearably intense for viewers who fear abandonment, but that might prove to be healing, or at least enlightening if they can stick with it to the end. Rated: 4/4 Apr 10, 2023 Full Review Glenn Dunks The Film Experience Reed Harkness’s Sam Now is really something special. A debut that taps into an achingly sad story within his own family, covering decades of pain and the smiles used to cover it up. I could not take my eyes off of it... Dec 10, 2023 Full Review Kathy Fennessy Video Librarian Magazine After making the theatrical rounds in 2023, Sam Now aired as part of PBS's Independent Lens and on The Criterion Channel. It's one of the finest documentaries to emerge from the Pacific Northwest and one of the very best of the year. Rated: 4/5 Dec 1, 2023 Full Review Cole Smithey ColeSmithey.com What begins as a deeply personal coming-of-age adventure, evolves into a macro-micro study of the generational effects of abandonment. It may be a bitter pill, but this brilliant movie conveys things that only documentary Cinema can capture and express. Rated: FIVE STARS Nov 14, 2023 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis Filmed over an expanse of 25 years, two brothers go on a 2,000-mile road trip to solve a family mystery. Shooting on nearly every camera format imaginable, from hand-developed Super-8 film to Arri 4K, Sam Harkness and his older half brother Reed use their creative world of fiction filmmaking to dive headfirst into dealing with the issue at hand: Sam's mom is missing. Sam's wetsuit and mask-wearing alter ego, The Blue Panther, bounds into frame with youthful energy and a heroic spirit of adventure. But can The Blue Panther save the day? And are these fun-loving brothers actually ready for what lies ahead? Solving the mystery of Sam's mom's disappearance is only the beginning of their story. The documentary uses a hybrid narrative approach, drawing from a vast archive of fictional films, home videos, intimate family interviews and vérité scenes from over the decades. Sobering revelations blend with playful home movies and vibrant experimental filmmaking by brother and director Reed Harkness. The brothers take a spontaneous road trip in search of answers. We learn of Sam's mother Jois' complicated adoption history from Japan. We experience the ripple effects on the Harkness family including Sam's brother Jared, father Randy and grandma Doris. And we are there with Sam coming of age from 11 to 36. SAM NOW is about growth. The film balances heavy themes and emotional reckonings with buoyant energy and lighthearted spirit. The optimistic teenage Sam we get to know, with his heart set on finding his mom, grows into a man whose new hope is to break the cycle of generational trauma.
      Director
      Reed Harkness
      Executive Producer
      Lois Vossen, Sally Jo Fifer, Andy McDonough, Colin Harper Plank
      Distributor
      Film Independent
      Production Co
      Roped In Productions, ITVS International, 2R Productions, HA/HA, Centripetal Films, Lucid Visual Media
      Genre
      Documentary, Biography
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Apr 7, 2023, Limited
      Most Popular at Home Now