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Netflix Daily Pick: ‘American Fable’ (2017)

Today's pick is a unique thriller with a clever twist starring a young talent on the rise.

American Fable is a 2017 thriller about a young girl on a family farm who makes a surreal discovery in the old silo far off the property and is forced to make a devastating choice.

Today’s Netflix Pick is an excellent little thriller wrapped around a number of great performances. Starring young Peyton Kennedy and Richard Schiff, it’s an unusual dark fantasy that challenges us in unexpected ways about who is right and who is wrong. Sometimes disturbing, it is a very well-acted and directed film layered in symbolism. It’s American Fable and it’s what you’re watching tonight. Here’s why.

THE STORY: Directed by Anne Hamilton, it follows Gitty (Peyton Kennedy), an 11-year-old girl living a pastoral life on a Wisconsin farm in the mid-1980s. She’s still young enough to believe there is no evil in the world, that her farm is the center of the universe, and her father is a man of great wisdom, and yet, there are hints to all of this that these might not be true. Her father (Kip Pardue) is a kind man, hardened, these days concerned about what he hears from President Reagan and the state of farmers in America being swallowed by corporations taking advantage of farms in foreclosure. Gitty’s cruel older brother Martin (Gavin MacIntosh) ruthlessly teases her and she knows her father and pregnant mother (Marci Miller) argue but not why. While exploring one day, she is drawn to a derelict silo deep into the property and finds a man in a suit named Jonathan (Richard Schiff) trapped within. Well-dressed, he is desperate and hungry but pleads with her not to tell anyone that he is there, that he must be her secret. But he is only one of many growing oddities in Gitty’s curiously-colored world.

American Fable
American Fable, 2017 © FC Midnight

READ MORE: Our full review of the Anne Hamilton thriller American Fable

WHY YOU NEED TO WATCH: The excellent mystery aside, Kennedy’s performance is the whole show here, a bright and energetic talent, she is deeply-affecting as a young girl slowly awakening to the evils of the real world. We remain, like her, innocent of what’s happening until it slowly dawns on us and Hamilton deftly plays with our expectations throughout, teasing us with creepy visuals and a steady thread of tension that bites increasingly more as the story progresses. Schiff is also very strong, keeping us guessing as to who and what he is, or even if he really exists. It’s truly one of the better thrillers of late and is loaded with interpretation. Don’t hesitate. It’s streaming on Netflix right now.

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