Darren Le Gallo’s feature directorial debut, Sam & Kate, is a tearjerker drama billed as a romantic comedy. While the film fails to make anyone laugh, it does feature Hollywood legends Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek acting alongside their real-life respective children. With a better script and direction, this could have been a poignant drama about human nature, love, and family.
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Where can you watch Sam & Kate in the UAE?
Sam & Kate is now streaming on OSN+ in the UAE. Subscribing to OSN+ is AED 35 per month, but keep looking for yearly deals that drop the pricing considerably. There is also a free seven-day trial to decide if you’d like to be a paying subscriber.
Gifted artist Sam (Jake Hoffman) is forced to move back to his hometown and take a job at the local chocolate factory to look after his ageing, ill-tempered dad, Bill (Dustin Hoffman). As much as Sam wants Bill’s approval, the former keeps his son at arm’s length and even insists he calls him by his first name instead of “dad.”
Bookshop owner Kate (Schuyler Fisk) is very close to her mom, Tina (Sissy Spacek), who has a slight hoarding problem. By slight, I mean Tina keeps the deplorable state of her home a secret from her loved ones.
When Sam first runs into Kate at the bookshop, he’s immediately smitten and awkwardly asks her out, only to be unceremoniously rejected. Lucky for him, Kate and her mom go to the same church as Sam and his dad. So when the foursome runs into each other, romances start to brew, with Bill showing interest in Tina and Sam trying to convince Kate to accept his coffee invitation.
Of course, there’s more to these characters than meets the eye. Kate is hiding a painful past, Tina is hiding her hoarding condition, Sam is hiding resentment from having to give up his creative career to look after his ungrateful father, and Bill is hiding how empty he feels after his wife’s death.
Star performances almost outweigh the mediocre script
The best part about Sam & Kate is the excellent performances given by the four main cast members, who, at this point, can be considered Hollywood royalty. Casting Hoffman and Spacek with their children adds fun to watch and authentic chemistry to their characters. The romantic storylines also work thanks to how well the cast mesh with one another.
While set around the Christmas period, Sam & Kate isn’t as much of a seasonal movie as it is a character study of its four primary characters. Despite the title referring to the two youngsters, the movie is equally centered on Bill and Tina’s characters.
This is a sweet dramedy with (mostly) likeable characters where the stakes never go any higher than what most of us would experience in our day-to-day. It’s predictable, yet comforting. It’s sad, but nothing out of reach of the mundane. It’s romantic but not over the top. It’s an okay film that tries to stir strong emotions while keeping viewers detached and apathetic from the on-screen drama.
Sam & Kate tells a sweet story about mothers and daughters and sons and fathers, but aside from its cast, there’s not enough to the story to keep viewers engaged. This is the type of movie where by the time anything of note happens, a good part of the audience would have fallen asleep on their sofa.
Lori C. is an entertainment writer who studied Film and Television at University. She watches and reviews films and series from most genres, but some of her favourites include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, The Handmaid’s Tale, Westworld, and True Blood.