SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL – In Megan Park's "My Old Ass," eighteen-year-old Elliott, played by Maisy Stella, takes some getting used to. She is a young, self-absorbed woman who is focused on going to college. She frequently acts dismissively, especially toward her family who farms cranberries in a tiny town. The film is a brilliantly insightful coming-of-age comedy largely aimed at young adult audiences, directed by Canadian actor-turned-auteur Megan Park. Adults may find Stella's headstrong nature difficult to tolerate, but overall, the movie is excellent, and Elliott grows on you. Early on, Park cleverly sets up a supernatural element in which Elliott, high on hallucinations, meets her 39-year-old self, played by Aubrey Plaza.
In addition to giving the character more nuance, Plaza's experienced acting allows her to play the older Elliott and give her younger self valuable advice. The story also includes an enigmatic order to "avoid Chad," which heightens the suspense around Elliott's encounters with Chad, a charming stranger. The movie incorporates drug use, dangerous behavior, and casual swearing while navigating issues of teenage desire, sexual identity, and rebellion. Park writes a narrative that strikes a mix between humor, poignancy, and a hint of nostalgia by drawing on her own life experiences. In this singular and deeply moving movie, the landscapes and an unexpected turn completely reinterpret the genre, highlighting the lessons that younger and older generations can learn from one another.