SXSW Festival: ‘I’m Fine (Thanks For Asking)’ Review

When a recently widowed mother becomes houseless, she convinces her 8-year-old daughter that they are only camping for fun while working to get them off the streets.

We are introduced to Danny and Wes, a mother and daughter who are camping on the outskirts of the city, and as we begin learning, it’s more of a permanent situation for the pair. Danny struggles since the loss of her husband Sam, and she is trying her best to get them off the streets. She makes a promise to Wes that they will be living in a house soon, and Danny struggles, from a client that wouldn’t pay to being late to another, she might not be able to fulfill that promise.

Next, the manager of the apartment gave her an extension to get the deposit to him. We see Danny hustling, She is working for a Postmates style company, but she is doing it on rollerblades with the caveat. She is rushing from place to place, trying to deliver the food to make enough for the deposit.

Kelley Kali directing IM FINE on set Photo Credit Maud Lauren

Parenting is hard, and the cost is high but even more so when you are doing it alone. You always want to give your kids more than what you had, and that also has an enormous amount of sacrifice and selflessness. With Danny, pride is playing a factor, and you can relate to that because she doesn’t want any handouts either.

In particular, Kelley Kali’s writing and direction stand out massively. It was how she began the journey where she emotionally attaches you to Danny and Wes’s journey. Danny is attempting to overcome all these obstacles, and you are rooting for her to succeed, and when she doesn’t, you feel those emotions along with her. It was a testament to Kali’s writing for which you are invested.

With this being Kelley Kali’s first feature screenplay, I was impressed. Her direction and writing are captivating, moving and how she ties you through Danny’s journey is beautiful. But, another highlight was her performance as Danny. She was the trifecta here, writing, directing, and starring, and she knocked all three out of the ballpark. Her performance is beautiful, heartfelt, and something I hope gets recognized.

As the film comes to a close, you are left in a puddle of tears as this emotionally charged journey gives us hope and happiness.

The Verdict:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Kelley Kali gives the trifecta with a moving script, great work behind the camera, and stunning performance.

Check out my interview with Kelley and Deon

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