C.O.G.

DIRECTOR: Kyle Patrick Alvarez

Expected to attend: director Kyle Patrick Alvarez and actor Jonathan Groff.

At long last, beloved writer David Sedaris has allowed a film to be made from one of his works! Based on a story that appears in Sedaris’s collection Naked, C.O.G. begins with a naively pompous and insecure Yale graduate named David traveling to Oregon to work as an apple picker (and changing his name to Samuel). Escaping from parental disapproval back East, he has some vague notions about the redemptive, character-building power of field labor. But after the friend he’d planned to work with abandons him, David’s ill-conceived hero’s journey leads him into increasingly surreal situations: from working the night shift at a dreary factory, to fleeing a co-worker’s peculiar and frightening seduction attempt, to living in an erstwhile beauty parlor with an unhinged born-again craftsman. These and other bizarre experiences challenge his fundamental beliefs about himself and give him a rough education in the ways of the world.

Sedaris’s tone is unmistakable: C.O.G. is a darkly comic exploration of human ignobility, vanity, and self-delusion. At the same time, the film is hopeful—it has moments of unexpected grace and remarkable beauty. Kyle Patrick Alvarez (Easier with Practice) is a subtle, thoughtful director, and the societal misfits we meet in the film (David included) are treated with tenderness.

The cast features the marvelous Jonathan Groff (Glee’s Jesse St. James and Boss’s Ian Todd) as David, along with Dean Stockwell, Corey Stoll, Dale Dickey (Winter’s Bone), and Denis O’Hare (True Blood’s Russell Edgington).

— CHARLES PURDY

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: F107

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