By Don Morton
When You Finish Saving the World
January 30, 2024
This is the story of two people, smart, talented and, as it happens, related, whose lives are going off the rails, and they have no idea why.
Evelyn (Julianne Moore), humorless and a tad self-righteous, runs a shelter for victims of domestic abuse. Her son Ziggy (Finn Wolfhard), a bit full of himself, strums bubblegum folk ditties for an online fanbase of 20,000 adoring tweeners, and will remind you of this repeatedly. The two have pretty much given up trying to understand each other’s values. Their shared problem, though by definition they could not know it, is a colossal lack of self-awareness.
They each look for a replacement for the other. Ziggy tries to make his vacuous tunes more political in a failed attempt to make points with a pretty, socially engaged classmate. Evelyn, envious of the bond she sees between a mother and her teenage son at her shelter, inserts herself into the relationship, insisting she can get him into a good university. Snag: he’d rather fix cars and is very good at it. Both mom and son make asses of themselves. Jesse Eisenberg’s finely observed directorial debut is assured, moving, and relevant. What I liked best was how he wound things up without melodrama in a way that rings totally true. An emerging talent. (88 min)
Check it out now in theaters.