Review by Camden Ferrell
She Came to Me is the first movie from writer and director Rebecca Miller since 2015’s Maggie’s Plan. It was the opening film at the 2023 Berlin International Film Festival. Despite a few great moments, this movie is a romantic comedy that is unconventional and equally convoluted. Multiple plot lines are juggled messily that the central story often feels ignored and underdeveloped.
Steven is a renowned composer suffering from writer’s block. In an attempt to overcome this obstacle, he has an isolated sexual encounter with the eccentric Katrina. This ultimately reignites his creative passion, but things get complicated very quickly for him and his personal life. Juggling a wife who is searching for herself in her own way and a stepson engaged in a significant young romance, Steven must reexplore his understanding of love and what he wants from his life. This is a premise that sounds interesting but on paper already has a few different plot lines that would have been difficult to balance flawlessly.
The writing is inconsistent throughout the movie. Some scenes will be written profoundly and naturally while others feel incredibly forced and out of place. The main storyline of Steven and Katrina’s relationship is the highlight of the film. The dialogue feels thoughtful without being pretentious, and I wish we got more of it from this movie. The two plot lines involving his wife and stepson pale in comparison. On their own, they might not be awful, but they feel strange when intercut with the main story.
The acting in this movie is also inconsistent. Peter Dinklage is quite great playing a troubled and emotionally confused Steven. He plays well off of Marisa Tomei as Katrina, and she is enjoyable to see throughout as well. His chemistry with his wife played by Anne Hathaway is missing, and it’s hard to buy into their relationship in the movie. The movie features a supporting cast that is mostly forgettable and don’t do much to elevate the scenes that they’re in.
The main problem with this movie is how it tries to balance its multiple storylines. It loses focus of its central story and romance, and this also leads to some truly strange pacing. It feels like roughly half of the movie is spent on the main story. Less interesting stories and characters are given a strangely high amount of screen time, and by the end, you feel like nothing had developed properly. The movie also doesn’t really land in the comedy department either. It does feel like some of these ideas should have been cut in order to let the most interesting main story flourish more and to allow the comedy to be more fleshed out.
Despite the problems I had with the movie, there are still some great things happening especially when it comes to the musical aspects of the movie. However, this is a movie that probably won’t work for some audiences. It’s daring in its execution, but it’s a swing and a miss more than it’s not. Dinklage and Tomei are interesting to watch, but the movie’s convolution ultimately ruins this experience.
She Came to Me is in theaters October 6.