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CORA BORA

I Vortex Media  I July 12, 2024 I 92 mins. I

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81%

* As of 7/12/24

Starring:  Megan Stalter, Caitlin Reilly, Chelsea Peretti, Heather Elizabeth Morris, Manny Jacinto

Directed By: Simon Horsman

Cora (Megan Stalter) senses her open relationship is on the rocks. When the struggling musician and messy millennial goes home to Portland to win her girlfriend back, she realizes it's much more than her love life that needs salvaging.

REVIEW BY: Darren Zakus - 7/15/24

RATING 3.5 out of 5

Cora Bora succeeds thanks to an absolutely charming performance from Megan Stalter in the lead role, making an unlikable character sympathetic to viewers, and a smart screenplay that is hilarious and poignant that makes this small film a winner.

 

Growing up and fully embracing adulthood is hard, even more so when you are following a dream in an industry that is notoriously tough to make it in. And that is where we find our main character Cora at the start of the film. She’s living in Los Angeles, playing open mics trying to make it as a musician songwriter, while also enjoying the freedom of her open relationship with her longtime girlfriend. But after she decides to return home to surprise her girlfriend for her graduation, Cora is forced to face the cracks in the facade that is her life. Her relationship is in fact incredibly rocky, her relationships are strained to say the least, and she’s more of a black cloud on the whole event rather than the joyous surprise she thought she would be. It’s all explored in a great screenplay by Rhianon Jones that is full of hilarious comedic moments, but it is the tender exploration of grief and rejection that makes it an effective screenplay and moving character piece that is bound to connect with all viewers on some level as you watch Cora begin to take responsibility for her actions and work at being a more positive force in life.

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There is no denying that the character of Cora is a somewhat unlikable character between her treatment of others, self-centeredness and unwelcoming demeanor. But, with the lead performance of Megan Stalter, she makes Cora one beautiful character full of flaws, heart and humour that invests the audience in the film. From the second you meet Cora, Stalter unapologetically embodies this young woman struggling to make it as a musician in Los Angeles who finds herself back in her hometown to celebrate her girlfriend’s graduation, forcing to come to terms with her life decisions and her past. It comes as no surprise that Stalter is hilarious as Cora, but it is the humanity that she brings to the character that makes her so much more than the trainwreck you initially meet. There is a quiet heartbreak informing Stalter’s performance in every scene, creating a sympathetic individual that despite all her bad decisions, you cannot help but feel for at every turn of the film. So when Cora’s past is revealed in the third act, the light in which the audience views the character shifts and the brilliance of Stalter’s performance shines, leaving a lasting impression on viewers. It’s an impressive performance that is sure to earn Stalter critical praise, some even already dubbing her the new queen of screwball comedy, and I can’t help but to agree with that statement wholeheartedly. The supporting cast has some wonderful talents including Jojo T. Gibbs, Manny Jacinto, Heather Morris, Ayden Mayeri, Margaret Cho, Chelsea Peretti, Thomas Mann and Chrissie Fit, all of whom have great moments with Stalter and help make this little film something special.


While this small film is sure to be missed this summer movie season by many moviegoers who are only seeing the larger blockbuster event films, for those who discover Cora Bora, they are in for a true treat. Its exploration of growing up, grief and relationships within the modern era leads to some great laughter and moments of self realization and development that make for a good film, but it is the winning lead performance of Megan Stalter that results in Cora Bora being an unapologetically and absolutely delightful viewing.

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