Stunt casting will get a foul rap, however generally the follow makes excellent sense.

“Sam & Kate” pairs display screen legends Sissy Spacek and Dustin Hoffman with their grown youngsters, each completed actors in their very own proper.

The gambit works superbly on this candy and bitter romance, the actors’ real-life ties (and resemblances) heightening the story’s dramatic heft.

Too dangerous “Sam & Kate” leans into its characters flaws with out sufficient perception to go away a long-lasting impression.

Bill and Sam (Hoffman and Jake Hoffman) stay collectively in a small, unassuming hamlet. Sam’s inventive abilities haven’t let him develop previous a gig on the native chocolate manufacturing unit, however he’s a dutiful son who takes care of his aged Pa.

The duo have a “meet cute” second with a neighborhood girl named Tina (Spacek) and her grown daughter, Kate (Schuyler Fisk, Spacek’s off-screen daughter) over a automotive restore. Sam beforehand met Kate at her e book retailer, and it’s clear he’s smitten.

Kate isn’t as bought on their romantic potential, however Tina wish to know Bill a bit higher.

Fate, and screenplay contrivances, guarantee their collective paths cross and re-cross, however can the emotional baggage every carries forestall these love connections?

First-time director Darren Le Gallo is aware of he has two of the business’s most gifted stars at his disposal, and he’s in no rush to let these potential romances bloom. That means we see Bill and Sam bicker and bond, together with the curious tics between Tina and Kate.

The former characteristic the standard clashes. Bill is old-fashioned and chatty, whereas Sam worries his life hasn’t reached its full potential. And Pa lets him realize it.

Tina’s points run deeper. She’s a hoarder, and it’ll take greater than a cleansing crew to rescue her from her cluttered life.

There’s extra, in fact, together with a tragedy that one character retains hidden from the remaining.

The screenplay is sensible and soulful, however it doesn’t evolve past the surface-level texture. We crave extra from these characters, and “Sam & Kate” is unable to ship.

Why does Bill refuse his physician’s warning about his coronary heart? What made Sam quit on a promising artwork profession? Will a Sam and Kate romance provide salvation for each characters?


The third act addresses a number of the conflicts in query, however a key storyline is resolved by nothing greater than the passage of time. That’s hardly gripping cinema. It’s like they knew the ending the story wanted however couldn’t do the heavy lifting to promote it.

It’s nonetheless a pleasure to look at Hoffman, quasi-banished following some MeToo accusations, again on the display screen the place he belongs. The 85-year-old’s charisma has been dulled by time, however there’s nonetheless that film star sparkle that may make odd moments matter.

Spacek, one of the crucial grounded stars of her era, is equally sharp as an older girl intrigued by the potential for love.

Fisk and Jake Hoffman resemble their dad and mom, which provides the story a realism different tales lack. Knowing the household ties in place offers “Sam & Kate” an additional kick, and the generally soggy story wants that increase badly.

HiT or Miss: “Sam & Kate” is a considerate, however tepid, romance about love, loss and the generational ties that bind.

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