You’d drink, too, in case you needed to spend time with the brood in “Fourth of July.”

Director Louis C.Okay.’s movie follows a recovering alcoholic coming to phrases along with his hardscrabble roots. Starring and co-written by comic Joe List, the dramedy lacks a single second of artifice.

It’s so actual, so uncooked you’ll Google the closest remedy group earlier than the top credit roll.

Brimming with perception, humor and the tractor pull of household dysfunction, “Fourth of July” might emerge as one among 2022’s greatest movies.

List stars as Jeff, a jazz pianist working laborious to remain sober. He checks in commonly along with his sponsor and simply started sponsoring a newly dry AA member (Robert Kelly, heartbreaking).

Jeff is staring down one other household reunion, and he’d fairly do something than endure their firm as soon as extra.

He senses it’s the proper time to confront his dad and mom for the emotional wreckage of his life. That means leaving his spouse behind and going through his household on his personal.

Good luck.


There’s Uncle Kevin (a killer Nick Di Paolo), who greets Jeff by waving a bottle of booze underneath his nephew’s nostril. Naomi (Tara Pacheco) is the brand new invitee, who takes within the household’s wall of noise with appreciable poise.

And then there’s Jeff’s dad and mom (Paula Plum, Robert Walsh). They’re locked into the annual gatherings, one supplying the meals, the opposite paternal silence.


C.Okay. seems, briefly, as Jeff’s therapist, and also you wish he had extra display time. The position fits him, nevertheless it additionally offers us perception into Jeff’s mind-set. He’s indignant, confused and not sure the best way to proceed with the subsequent phases of life.

Can you blame him?

“Fourth of July” delivers loads of emotional ache, though you must squint to take all of it in. One bravura sequence follows Jeff’s father as he leaves the festivities early, looking forward to an emotional trip.

The digital camera tracks Walsh like a slasher movie’s killer looking a doomed teen. We’re left questioning what the scene may reveal, or if the patriarch’s frozen expression will lastly thaw. We’re quickly reminded how even essentially the most hard-hearted souls have the capability for development.

List and C.Okay. refuse to dismiss these flawed figures.

Nick Di Paolo, Joe List in ‘Fourth of July’

“Fourth of July” seems like we’re dropping in on an precise household reunion. The banter, rhythms and rants play out as if the ensemble had been workshopping the fabric off-Broadway for an excellent yr … possibly extra.

Everyone performs a particular half within the tight ensemble, from Uncle Kevin’s inappropriate slurs to Mom’s dominion over each meal. They drink as if by reflex, their feelings numb after years of fixed friction.

Our sympathies are at all times with List, who generously underplays Jeff to let the secondary characters shine. Is Jeff as developed as he thinks he’s, although? Is this cartoonish clan as terrible as marketed?

Family is household, and people bonds include each scars and advantages.

“Fourth of July” doesn’t ladle out acquainted bromides or squeaky-clean options. This is stark materials delivered by execs, adorned with an authenticity lacking from most indie fare.

C.Okay. isn’t any Woody Allen clone, a well-recognized cost in opposition to the budding auteur. Yes, the jazzy soundtrack suggests a modest connection, however the comic’s voice is singular and true.

So are the snapshots of damaged individuals both glued to the previous or scrambling for a future on their very own phrases.

HiT or Miss: C.Okay.’s bravura “Fourth of July” reminds us why household bonds endure and the harm they trigger when left unchecked.

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