I have seen movies where I can say, “Well, I liked all of it except for the ending” and still come away with an overall favorable impression. Then there are some movies where the ending was so bad, it ruins the entire viewing experience for me.
Such is the case with 2020’s Come True.
Which is a shame, because it is only in the final quarter, maybe third, that the wheels start to come off. If the picture had been lacking before that point, I probably wouldn’t have been so upset about the ending. But it is the promise demonstrated until then that makes an unfortunate ending have such an impact.
The film stars Julia Sarah Stone as a high school student who tries to avoid a woman I assume is her mother, even to the extent of spending each night sleeping elsewhere. Sometimes, that is a sleeping bag nestled into the bottom curve of a playground slide. I kept wondering “Why there?”. I also spent too much time speculating the likelihood the character ever wakes up on the ground at the base of the slide.
This is the first time I have seen Stone in anything, and she delivers a strong performance here. She is in nearly every scene and she has good command of the screen.
The only thing I can say I found disturbing about her performance is she looks like a pre-teen. This wouldn’t be such an issue, if it wasn’t for a sex scene she’s in. Oh, and that is with a guy who was stalking her earlier in the film. Yep, that.
The plot concerns a sleep study Stone comes to participate in. Makes sense, as she tries everything she can to avoid sleeping at home and she’ll get paid, to boot.
I had a strong suspicious the filmmakers were trying to channel an early Cronenberg vibe here, and I applaud them for that. We have a slightly dodgy sleep experiment going on in an otherwise empty Brutalist office building, and the sleepers wear suits that had me wondering if this was secretly a second sequel to Tron.
Turns out this study is using cutting edge technology that records dreams. I like that idea, and the low-resolution analog playback of those dreams is suitably unnerving. We also see some dreams from her perspective whilst asleep and, while also creepy, I couldn’t get past the above-average, but not perfect, CGI to really immerse myself in the moment.
Even weirder, all of the study participants are having similar dreams. Eventually, these shared dream experiences will converge in the scariest scene in the movie.
Unfortunately, the movie keeps going beyond that and gets increasingly ridiculous. In what should have been a deeply unnerving set piece near the end, two researchers are watching Stone’s dreams on a portable monitor while she sleepwalks right out of whatever city this is, through a suburb and into the countryside. This trio looks ridiculous, but they conveniently don’t seem to encounter anybody, let alone anybody who would ask them what the hell they’re doing. All I could think of is, they’ll have to walk all that way back.
Finally, the movie doesn’t just faceplant—it starts digging furiously to try to reach a new low. Then, when the final image on the screen puts the last nail in the coffin, it conveniently shovels the dirt back onto itself.
It is only because there’s such a good 2/3 of a movie that the ending of Come True pissed me off as much as it did. If it had been largely mediocre, I could have easily dismissed the whole affair. As it is, I came away hating this movie.
Dir: Anthony Scott Burns
Starring Julia Sarah Stone, Landon Liboiron
Watched on blu-ray