I Saw the TV Glow

Tagline : Look a little closer.

Runtime : 100 mins

Genre : Science Fiction Horror Drama

Vote Rating : 6.6/10

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Reviews for this movie are available below.

Plot : Teenager Owen is just trying to make it through life in the suburbs when his classmate introduces him to a mysterious late-night TV show — a vision of a supernatural world beneath their own. In the pale glow of the television, Owen’s view of reality begins to crack.

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After watching this piece of incoherent, unfocused rubbish, I would have much rather watched the TV glow instead. Writer-director Jane Schoenbrun’s incomprehensible smart horror offering is an absolute utter waste of time, not to mention the ticket price. This glacially paced story of two psychologically and emotionally troubled teens, Owen (Ian Forema) and Maddy (Brigitte Lundy-Paine), who bond over a cheesy late night 1990s young adult sci-fi/horror television series called The Pink Opaque struggles mightily to find its way. As Owen grows into an adult (Justice Smith), his cohort vanishes mysteriously when the TV series is abruptly cancelled, leaving him wondering what happened to her until she just as mysteriously reappears years later with a disjointed story that makes no sense from top to bottom. As the film’s narrator, Owen tries earnestly to explain, but his recounting of this experience is equally baffling, especially when he tells why Maddy has come back after her protracted absence. The result is an unintelligible tale that’s far from frightening (even metaphorically speaking) and ends up being a convoluted mix of 1990s teen angst, extended and inexplicably incorporated music videos, an exploration of sexual ambiguity, and a woefully wayward attempt at symbolically addressing issues related to personal disassociation and self-actualization. There are also numerous story elements and images that are included in the narrative that go undeveloped and unexplored. To its credit, the picture features a fine production design, intriguing cinematography, a good measure of campy comic relief (though not nearly enough of it) and a skillfully assembled soundtrack (handily this release’s best attribute). However, when a film’s musical guests receive greater billing than its cast members and the soundtrack ends up being its strongest asset, that doesn’t speak well about the production’s overall quality. To be honest, I get genuinely annoyed (and feel egregiously ripped off) when I leave the theater having screened a picture whose trailer and marketing seem to offer so much promise and end up failing miserably when it comes to delivering the goods, and that’s very much the case with this pretentious, sophomoric cinematic train wreck. Don’t waste your time or money on this one.

I was disappointed in the flow of the story in 'I Saw The TV Glow'. Despite this, the melancholy feel of the film is beautifully conveyed throughout, enhancing its themes effectively. The visuals are stunning, and the combination of top-tier editing and visual effects elevates the cinematography to an exceptional level. The film’s melancholic atmosphere is one of its strongest points. This pervasive mood adds depth to the narrative, making the emotional and thematic content more impactful. For example, scenes depicting the isolation and struggles of the characters are visually striking, with a muted color palette and hauntingly beautiful landscapes that mirror their inner turmoil. The layered storytelling warrants another viewing to fully appreciate the intricate details and symbolism woven into the film. The film also provides a profound look into the LGBTQIA+ community, offering perspectives that encourage empathy and understanding. After watching it, I felt compelled to have an open conversation with my sons about the importance of being able to talk openly about anything, assuring them of our unwavering support. This horror movie effectively portrays the harsh realities that no person should have to endure, making its social commentary both relevant and poignant. The direction and performances were lackluster. Their portrayals are emotionally charged and authentic, bringing a raw intensity to their characters. While Ian Foreman and Brigette Lundy-Paine deliver memorable performances, the supporting cast falls short. Justice Smith’s character, Owen, is particularly underwhelming. His character lacks depth and is only marginally more interesting in scenes with Lundy-Paine. The supporting characters are mostly forgettable, which diminishes the film's overall impact. The TV show set within the film, The Pink Opaque, and its antagonist, as well as the overall antagonist of the film, are clearly meant to be metaphorical. However, the vague nature of these elements, while potentially serving as a good analogy, ultimately hurts the story by leaving too many questions unanswered. A bit more backstory and clarity would have enriched the narrative and provided a stronger connection to the metaphorical themes. I Saw The TV Glow is a film with commendable visual and thematic depth but falters in its storytelling execution. The melancholy atmosphere, stunning visuals, and strong lead performances are highlights. The film is worth watching for its social commentary and emotional resonance, but it falls short of being a fully engaging cinematic experience.

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