Film Review: Daddy Longlegs

Film Review: Daddy Longlegs

In recent years, “films” have become large CGI filled spectacles whose sole purpose is to make money. For independent filmmakers however, this isn’t the case. 

Not all recent movies are huge blockbusters. There are still some films out there that are about the story and characters that populate it. One of the best examples of these is the Safdie brother’s feature debut: Daddy Longlegs (also known in some countries as Go Get Some Rosemary)

Josh and Benny Safdie spent their entire childhoods watching and making films, due in large part to the fact that their father (Alberto Safdie) loved cinema. After graduating from the Boston University College of Communication, they decided to team up and become filmmakers. They’ve made a handful of critical and commercial successes over the years, including Good Time and Uncut Gems. My favorite of their films however is the lower-budget and frequently forgotten film Daddy Longlegs.

The film follows Lenny, a lonely father who wants to spend more time with his kids. While trying to juggle his job (a projectionist at a movie theater), his social life, and his two weeks with his sons, it seems like everything is falling apart. Some scenes are very stressful, while others are heartwarming and emotional. The film does a beautiful job portraying various emotions felt by the characters, including the two young kids trying to cope with the world around them, which seems to be very out of control. We also see Lenny try his best to be a good and responsible father (which sometimes fails due to his actions).

The film was shot in the very real streets of New York, so the whole movie seems like it could really happen. The cinematography is vibrant and unpolished, and every performance seems completely believable. Ronald Bronstein (director of Frownland) stars as Lenny, and his two sons are played by real life brothers Sage and Fray Ronaldo. The three share a beautiful onscreen chemistry that is very rare in films today. The music also adds a sense of life to the film, with such tracks as Penguins by Michael Hurley and Oh Lord Please Forgive Me Now by Bruce Hirdler. 

Daddy Longlegs was meticulously crafted by the Safdie brothers to reflect various memories and emotions from their childhood, and the result is easily their most personal film to date. Watching Daddy Longlegs is a rollercoaster of emotions: you will laugh, cry, and probably be moved by the time it’s over. For these reasons, and more, Daddy Longlegs remains one of my favorite films to date, and I would highly recommend watching it for yourself.