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Although we’re still in the midst of the current awards cycle, groundwork is already being laid for the next.
The indie film industry is about to descend on Park City, Utah, for the 2024 Sundance Film Festival, where some promising works will be looking to make their marks. Kristen Stewart is practically the headliner of this year’s film fest. Not only is she being honored with a specialty award, but the actress also stars in two projects showing at Sundance, crime drama Love Lies Bleeding and sci-fi film Love Me. Meanwhile, there are buzzy titles featuring the likes of June Squibb (leading an action film at age 94), Sebastian Stan, Pedro Pascal, Saoirse Ronan, and Kieran Culkin (fresh off his Emmys win for Succession).
Here are the 10 most-anticipated movies from this year’s Sundance lineup.
The Man of Steel returns to the screen in this heartfelt documentary, chronicling how Christopher Reeve rose from unknown actor to the most beloved onscreen superhero of all time. Directed by Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui, Super/Man features never-before-seen archival footage and reveals how the actor endured after suffering the tragic accident that left him paralyzed. — Devan Coggan
Sundance always attracts a starry lineup, but this year puts the spotlight on Kristen Stewart, who’ll be honored with the festival’s Visionary Award. She has long been a staple at the fest, debuting projects like Adventureland and The Runaways, but this year, she’s pulling double duty with two new premieres. First up, Stewart stars in Rose Glass’ crime drama Love Lies Bleeding, playing a reclusive gym manager who falls for a bodybuilder (Katy O’Brian). Plus, she and Beef Emmy winner Steven Yeun co-star in Sam and Andy Zuchero’s mysterious sci-fi film Love Me, about a buoy and a satellite who fall in love years after humanity’s extinction. — D.C.
Thelma might be the movie we didn’t know we wanted or needed — and it stands a really good shot at being the audience favorite this year. At 94 years old, Oscar nominee June Squibb finds herself as leading lady for the first time in her seven-decade career…and she does so in a Mission: Impossible-inspired action movie, where she sets out to find the people who stole her money via a phone scam. Based on the real-life experience of writer and first-time director Josh Margolin’s own grandmother, and also starring Parker Posey, Clark Gregg, Fred Hechinger, and Shaft legend Richard Roundtree in his final performance, Thelma promises laughs, a nonagenarian action star, and perhaps even some tears. This one is a must see! — Gerrad Hall
Mississippi Grind and Captain Marvel directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck return with this buzzy anthology story. Set in 1987 Oakland, Freaky Tales weaves four interconnected stories, including a hip-hop duo reaching for fame and teen punks battling Nazi skinheads. The stacked cast includes Pedro Pascal, Jay Ellis, Dominique Thorne, and longtime Boden/Fleck collaborator Ben Mendelsohn. — D.C.
Steven Soderbergh is no stranger to horror. Remember when he shot 2018’s Unsane entirely on an iPhone? Now the filmmaker is moving into the haunted house genre, directing Lucy Liu, Julia Fox, and Chris Sullivan in a story about a suburban family terrorized by an unseen entity. Soderbergh has remained tight-lipped on plot details, but it’s probably a safe bet that this one’s going to be spooky. — D.C.
“A Different Man”
We stan a Sebastian Stan transformation. After becoming Tommy Lee in Pam & Tommy, but before we see him as young Donald Trump in The Apprentice (which is way more ick than this next character), the Marvel actor is losing himself again in A Different Man. Written and directed by Aaron Schimberg, the film stars Stan as Edward, an actor who undergoes a drastic medical procedure to radically change his disfigured face. Stan already shared a peek at all the prosthetics utilized for his dramatic “before” look, but his screen-ready “after” appearance comes at a cost. Edward loses out on the role he feels he was born to play and becomes obsessed with reclaiming what was lost. — Nick Romano
“In the Summers”
Told over several years, this story centers on a loving father — played by Latin music superstar and multiple Grammy winner Residente in his first starring role — and his two daughters who live in California with their mother but stay with him for part of the summer at his home in New Mexico. At first ecstatic if not nervous for his daughters’ visit, later trips reveal his issues with alcohol and drugs — and the increasing desire of his children (eventually played by Lío Mehiel and Sasha Calle) to be anywhere else but there. — G.H.
Saoirse Ronan? Sign me up. In this film from director Nora Fingscheidt (The Unforgivable) — who co-wrote the script with Amy Liptrot, based on her best-selling memoir — the four-time Oscar nominee explores the emotional, mental, and physical depths of alcoholism and recovery. Playing Rona, the actress embodies a smart and promising biology student who returns home to Scotland’s secluded Orkney Islands after 10 years in London. In the city, her life spiraled in troubling ways that even she doesn’t completely recall. Back home, Rona at first runs from her demons but eventually faces them as she tries to find a way to be happy and sober, all the while helping her bipolar father tend to their farm and livestock. — G.H.
“Will & Harper”
Will Ferrell may be best known for playing Ricky Bobby or Buddy the Elf, but the comedian stars in this heartfelt documentary as himself, sharing the screen with longtime friend Harper Steele. Ferrell and Steele have been pals for 30 years, and when Steele came out as a trans woman in 2022, the two BFFs decided to embark on a cross-country road trip together. The result is a charming road movie, directed by Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar’s Josh Greenbaum. — D.C.
“A Real Pain”
Fleishman Is in Trouble‘s Jesse Eisenberg is back behind (and in front of) the camera, while Kieran Culkin is back on the big screen after the final season of Succession. The pair play cousins David and Benji, whose late grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, posthumously gives them a trip to Poland to see the town where she grew up. With this physical representation of their family history serving as a backdrop, old tensions between the mismatched family members return to the surface. A Real Pain, also written by Eisenberg, is the second film he’s directed since 2022’s When You Finish Saving the World. — N.R.