If there’s one word that unites many of the movies making their debuts at the Sundance Film Festival this year, that’s probably the best: Hilariously, beautifully, tragically awkward.
Imagine you’re a teenage kid in the merciless grip of puberty and your “new dad” turns to you one day and — by way of trying to help you manage your expectations with girls — informed you that, sorry … you’re kind of ugly.
Or picture a 30-something, book-loving lonelyheart who ventures to a British resort where people are hired to reenact Jane Austen’s novels, and all you really, really, really want is to convince one of the Mr. Darcys to have sex with you.
And frankly, “awkward” doesn’t quite cover it for the movie about two moms who are longtime friends … and who each start having an affair with the other one’s son.
These are three of the roughly 120 feature films at the festival, which starts today and runs through Jan. 27.
It’s hard to tell from the outset which movies might break through to become the next Beasts of the Southern Wild, but here are 13 worth a look: