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A beginner’s guide to A24

A beginner’s guide to A24

A beginner’s guide to A24
July 24
14:00 2022

By now, it’s nearly impossible to not at least recognize the name “A24.” A favorite of film buffs and casual moviegoers alike, the indie production company has seen a surge in popularity over the past several years.

With a multitude of box office hits, it can be intimidating to try to get into the now highly revered list of films. Instead of procrastinating the inevitable introduction to A24, here’s a short list of films old and new to help build anyone’s Letterboxd profile.

“Room” (2015)

Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, “Room” collected four Academy Award nominations in 2016. Brie Larson’s win for Best Actress was well-deserved for her moving performance in one of A24’s most well-known productions.

“Room” finds its story in the life of a young woman, Joy, who has been held in captivity for seven years. She lives in a Room, her captor’s shed, with her 5-year-old son Jack. Born into captivity, Jack has yet to see anything beyond the space’s four walls. After their eventual escape, both Joy and Jack struggle to integrate into the outside world.

The heart of the film’s success is in its straightforward storytelling, despite its themes being so emotional and in-depth. Larry Abrahamson’s simplistic direction allows the story to unfold at a natural pace, making it easy for the audience to follow certain difficult subjects. The triumph of “Room,” although not an entirely easy watch, provides a heart-wrenching tale with beautiful progression.

“Moonlight” (2016)

One of A24’s most praised films, “Moonlight” is remembered by many for swiping the 2016 Academy Award for Best Picture from “La La Land” after an infamous mix-up. However, its critical recognition comes from the film’s cinematic mastery and skillful direction by Barry Jenkins.

An adaptation of the play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” the film chronicles the life of Chiron, a Black boy growing up in Miami. The three-part story follows Chiron as he grows, discovering his own self-identity throughout his life journey. As he ages, he battles with ideas of manhood and his own sexuality.

The construction of “Moonlight” is strong on all fronts. Its direction, acting and cinematography combine to produce an emotional film that looks beyond face-value themes. The film’s overall story digs deeper into what it’s like growing up lower class in America, offering melancholic, yet powerful commentary.

“Hereditary” (2018)

“Hereditary” stands as one of A24’s greatest horror hits. The supernatural film, like many other A24 projects, earned high critical praise. As Ari Aster’s feature directorial debut, it was mostly recognized for his artistic direction, as well as star Toni Collette’s performance.

The thriller tells the tale of the Graham family, who recently lost their matriarch, Collette’s character’s mother. Soon after the grandmother’s passing, Collette and her children begin to discover the sinister secrets behind their family history. As they encounter increasingly shocking and violent surprises. The family tries to escape their unsettling, inherited fates.

The perplexing story of the Grahams leaves little room for predictable turns. The sound and camera techniques used in “Hereditary” offer more than just classic jump scares. This film’s refined take on horror is a great example of the uniqueness found in many A24 productions.

“Everything Everywhere All At Once” (2022)

A recent release from A24, “Everything Everywhere All At Once” beat out “Hereditary” for the company’s highest-grossing film worldwide soon after it hit theaters. The sci-fi adventure film is the production company’s recent take on Hollywood’s multiverse trend. Both cinephiles and established critics have praised “Everything Everywhere” for its mind-bending mastery.

Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s direction captures Evelyn Wang, a Chinese American woman, and her family in the midst of a multiverse adventure. Wang soon discovers it’s up to her to save the world and the only way to do so is by exploring other universes. Across each parallel universe, she connects with other possible lives she could have led. The three-part chronicle takes audiences on a journey about existentialism and the Asian American identity.

“Everything Everywhere” leaves a lasting impression with its trippy, yet beautiful cinematography. The entire cast’s performances are sure to leave their marks. Namely, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan elevated performances added impactful emotion to the film. Though still one of A24’s newer productions, “Everything Everywhere” is likely to go down as one of the company’s most impressive feats.

Featured Illustration by Erika Sevilla

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Samantha Thornfelt

Samantha Thornfelt

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