By Claire Stern
Feb 04, 2019 @ 4:30 pm
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The Sundance Film Festival has finally come to an end—and it was as eventful as ever. Zac Efron showed off his new platinum blonde hair, Mindy Kaling’s comedy Late Night sold to Amazon Studios for a record-breaking $13 million, and a very giddy Pete Davidson smoked up a storm all over Park City, Utah.

Given that Sundance has long been known as the launching pad for indie hits, we rounded up the buzziest films—from Shia LaBeouf’s semi-autobiographical drama Honey Boy to Awkwafina’s first lead role in The Farewell—that you’ll definitely be hearing about when awards season rolls around.

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Honey Boy

In a screenplay penned by LaBeouf, Noah Jupe and Lucas Hedges both star as Otis Lort, a fictionalized version of the child actor at different ages, as he struggles with mental health, addiction, and his turbulent relationship with his abusive ex-rodeo clown and felon father (played by LaBeouf). FKA Twigs makes her feature film debut as a shy neighbor who strikes up an illicit romance with the younger Otis.

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Late Night

Mindy Kaling’s satirical take on diversity in late-night talk show writer’s rooms was the talk of the festival, for good reason. Emma Thompson dazzles as Katherine Newbury, the veteran host of a late-night talk show with declining ratings who hires Kaling, a chemical plant worker with a knack for comedy, as her only female staff writer in a last-ditch effort to save it from cancellation.

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The Farewell

Fresh off the success of Crazy Rich Asians, Awkwafina shows her dramatic range as Billi, a strong-willed Chinese-American writer who returns to mainland China after her grandmother is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. In a convoluted move to conceal the truth, her family concocts an elaborate ruse to throw a wedding for the sole purpose of saying goodbye to her.

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Brittany Runs a Marathon

After a rude awakening from her doctor during an attempt to score an Adderall prescription, 27-year-old hot mess Brittany Forgler (Jillian Bell) decides to drop her unhealthy eating and drinking habits and, at her neighbor’s behest, signs up to run the New York City Marathon.

Blinded By The Light

The director behind Bend It Like Beckham delivers a delightful half-dramedy, half-musical about a Pakistani teen growing up in Luton, England with a Bruce Springsteen obsession. Based on the life of the movie’s co-writer, journalist Sarfraz Manzoor, it replaces Beckham with The Boss, plus head-bopping sequences to all the hits.

 

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