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Woodstock Film Festival: Porcupine

“Once everyone learns everything about me, I gotta keep moving. Why do I do that?”

Audrey

For the past two years, Audrey (Jena Malone) has lived in 4 different places and had 7 different jobs. She recently got fired from her collection agency gig, is overdue on rent and the electricity to her apartment has just been cut off. And to make matters worse, her father is ill and her mother refuses to speak to her. Audrey spends a lot of her time watching videos on YouTube and one night comes upon an ad for adult adoption in which seniors who either don’t have children of their own or want to have a younger adult in their lives will adopt through this service.

With no other prospects, Audrey gives this a shot. After many interview sessions she goes through a trial run with middle-aged couple Sunny (Emily Kuroda) and Otto (Robert Hunger-Buhler). Otto, a hard-nosed and strictly-by-the-book kind of guy, is reluctant at first but then warms up to Audrey. The two work on rebuilding his treehouse, with Otto giving Audrey guidance and Audrey relying on DIY YouTube videos to learn the skills to complete the task. As the they bond, Audrey finds herself in a tough situation and tries to decide how to move forward.

Directed by M. Cahill and based on a true story, Porcupine is a sweet film about the struggle to find one’s own place in the world. Audrey is a complex and nuanced character whose motivations are pure and not rooted in any selfishness or greed. Jena Malone is one of my favorite actresses and she shines in this role. Malone and Robert Hunger-Buhler play well off each other as the story’s two central characters. The film has a strong failure-to-launch theme, quirky characters and does a lot to explore complex family dynamics. Heartfelt, engrossing and thoroughly enjoyable.

Porcupine had its world premiere at the 2021 Woodstock Film Festival.

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