To Leslie

A must-see dramatic film that is the surprise hit of 2022-2023.

To Leslie

This is simply a captivating film from beginning to end. Andrea Riseborough, who just received a best actress Oscar nomination, gives an enchanting performance as Leslie, a single mother whose life is destroyed by her alcohol addiction. Having won $190,000 in a lottery when her son was young, she squanders her money as she is reduced to drinking morning to night.

In the process she has alienated everyone. Her son James (Owen Teague) throws her out of his apartment when she steals money from a roommate and hides booze under her bed. Her old friend Nancy (Allison Janney) is forced to do the same thing. No one can tolerate her.

Left to live off the street with one suitcase, Leslie hustles vulnerable men in bars on a daily basis. Dancing on the edge of destruction, she is saved when Sweeney, played memorably by Marc Maron, offers her room and board at a motel he manages with his friend Royal (Andre Royo). Sweeney is a caring man clearly reliving his past.

The rest of this powerful film centers on Sweeney’s kind efforts to help Leslie. Though she cleans rooms she continues to drink. Despite this, Sweeney knows that under Leslie’s drunken exterior is a kind, decent woman worth saving.

There are two great scenes that stand out. The first involves a local dance where Sweeney and Leslie acknowledge a relationship that offers hope to both of them.

The second scene deals with Leslie convincing Sweeney to help her open an ice cream stand that has been abandoned. In the process Leslie is able to confront her many weaknesses and mistakes as she reconnects with those she loves.

You will see no better movie this year.