IT MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS OF I’M FINE (THANKS FOR ASKING)!
A widowed mother lives with her daughter in a tent after becoming homeless, and tells her they are only temporarily camping. Earning money during the pandemic is becoming scarce and braiding hair to some clients and food home delivery isn’t enough for Danny to pay up front a new home to raise her daughter. And during a day we watch this struggling mother working hard to have the necessary requirements to survive. But she needs to get 200 dollars by the end of the day and needs to make a sacrifice in order to get them. Directed by Kelley Kali and Angelique Molina, I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) addresses the difficulties of surviving during a pandemic and the Sophie’s choice to leave behind her past in order to garantee the survival of her daughter in the present and future.
Even if that last sentence is somehow metaphorical, I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) is absolutely straightforward in its approach to some of the most alarming issues that are rising due to this new COVID-era. Brilliantly performed by Kali herself, the film is a devastating tale of a mother that is almost at her limit to find money to support her and her child. There are many subliminal messages around Danny’s fight for survival, especially when it comes to earn the precious money she needs. Doing honest work doesn’t seem to be paying off, and Danny tries to reconnect with old acquaintances that either don’t take it too seriously or dare to even take advantage of the situation for their own personal gain. Being a strong woman, Danny resists the temptation of earning the money from her devious friend Brooklynn’s (BK Marie) new boyfriend Chad (played by Deon Cole), and loses trust in her departed husband’s friend Jacob (Andrew Galvan) who initially seemed a well-intended and caring friend to her. Rollerskating her way exaustingly throughout the city, Danny realizes her husband’s ring may be the solution she is seeking for in order to pay up the final amount she owes to her landlord.
It’s not easy giving up a symbol that reminds you of a past lover, who sadly parted ways in the most tragic of circumstances, but for Danny, reassuring her daughter’s survival (and her own for that matter), means a sacrifice has to be made. I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) is a highly enjoyable drama that sets up Kali’s acting career to a whole new level. She is the face and the heart of the film, delivering one the most powerful performances in this SXSW Film Festival edition. Even if some of its moments don’t work as well as others sometimes, that doesn’t steal the magic of the important message that I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) wants people to receive. It makes the audience feel the struggle, not only watch a struggle. By letting its star dominate the entire film, I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) becomes believable, realistic and familiar to the audience. This is its ultimate trump card, which collects the rewards by forging a natural connection with the viewer. Although supporting characters could have been more developed in order to show how tempting it is to be earning easy money to provoke dramatic intensity, I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) is still an extremely relevant and endearing tale.
Kali is absolutely wonderful and her dedication to the role, specially her hardworking feet and high quality roller skates, is an astounding achievement. It may be short, but it sure has a big and long message that will resonate to the audiences all over the world. When a film is able to make us connect with a struggle so close to our new reality, is undeniably a piece of art that is worth anybody’s time.
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Title: I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking)
Original Title: I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking)
Runtime: 90 min.