Family is a truly awesome comedy starring Taylor Schilling. The debut from director Laura Steinel features a tight story about finding your own path as an outsider. The brilliant cast makes this movie a winner!

Family is a comedy you should watch because it will make you laugh and feel good about yourself. The featuring of Juggalos is all about finding your own way.

There’s no judgment and no rules. Find your own way, but just remember that you also have to co-exist with other people. 

Also, it features a few scenes with Kate McKinnon as a very suburban mom. Someone who definitely wants to control everyone and everything around her. Her interactions with Taylor Schilling are among the funniest moments in the movie!

Taylor Schilling shines

I get the feeling that people either love or hate Taylor Schilling. Well, I definitely fall into the first category. Sure, she tends to play rather annoying characters. The role that made her a household name, Piper on Orange is the New Black, is a perfect example of this.

But these characters also tend to have awesome character development arcs. Something that usually means you end up liking them. That’s Taylor Schilling’s master skill.

Sure, Kate (Taylor Schilling) is a pretty annoying woman at first. Not because she’s a fierce career-focused woman. In fact, that’s just kind of badass and I respect that. But she’s unlikable because she has no time or compassion for anyone around her.

Of course, all it takes is for her to be reminded of her own past to look at things differently. And also, she sees a younger copycat version of herself in action (played perfectly by Jessie Ennis) and doesn’t like what she sees.

Ah yes, like Michael Jackson always told us; Start with the (wo)man in the mirror!

The moral of the story

Kate (Schilling) shows you a person that lives completely according to their own needs and then discovers the world around them. And when you know better, you do better. That is – in many ways – the morale of the story. Well, that and “don’t let anyone else define you”.

Think these two elements clash? Well, they don’t actually.

It’s all about being true to yourself while also being aware of the world around you. Sounds simple, but often takes time and experience before anyone of us can attempt to master it.

Most people land mostly in one of the two – focusing mostly on your own needs or the needs of those around you. Balance is key!

In Family, something that resembles balance only comes when Kate is confronted with the needs of her family. And particularly when she realizes how much her niece, Maddie,  is like she was at the same age. 

Maddie is portrayed with delicate perfection and honesty by Bryn Vale. Whether working across from Taylor Schilling, Kate McKinnon, or Brian Tyree Henry, Bryn Vale holds her own perfectly.

Also, Maddie is a very genderfluid character who looks very dapper in a burgundy velvet suit and a cape. 

Laura Steinel, don’t stop now!

Family is directed by Laura Steinel and this is her feature film debut as a director. She also wrote the screenplay for the movie, which marks another feature film debut. In the past, she’s been a staff writer on the Amazon series Red Oaks.

I’ve never watched that particular show, but I cannot wait to see what Laura Steinel comes up with next. And since I can never get too much of a good thing, I actually hope she’ll work with TV series (on Amazon, Hulu or Netflix). 

Though I must admit, I would love to watch more feature films from her as well. To debut with a feature film that is so extremely well written and so tightly directed… it almost seems impossible. And especially with a comedy, where the jokes tend to run a bit too long, which adds unnecessary scenes and runtime.

Congrats on a brilliant and very funny movie, Laura Steinel. Debut or otherwise.

Please don’t stop now. Or rather, don’t allow anyone to cramp your style, because you’re on the perfectly right track!

Womentainment recommendation: Everyone should watch Family

Sure, if you can’t stand anything featuring a female protagonist, then you probably won’t like Family. Then again, I can’t think of a reason why you’d be reading a review here on Womentainment.

For everyone open to a truly funny movie about figuring out how – and where – you belong, Family is a must-watch. Personally, I can’t wait to watch it again. Though I may have to since no official release dates are in place yet. 

I was fortunate to catch a screening at AFI Fest 2018, where the writer and director of Family, Laura Steinel presented the movie and stayed for a Q&A.

When watching her on stage, you quickly understand why this movie is so damn funny while also having so much heart. That’s pretty much how I’d explain Laura Steinel… and very tongue-in-cheek in the best way!

Family is still playing at festivals worldwide

Really, a Netflix release seems like a no-brainer since it stars the lead from one of their first mega-hits (Taylor Schilling as Piper on Orange is the New Black for those not in the know). Hopefully, this is in the works.

Director: Laura Steinel
Writer: Laura Steinel
Cast: Taylor Schilling, Bryn Vale, Brian Tyree Henry, Kate McKinnon, Jessie Ennis, Allison Tolman, Blair Beeken

Official plot:

An emotionally-stunted aunt tries to bond with her 13-year-old niece, who wants nothing more than to run away from home and become a juggalo.