29th Philadelphia Film Festival: ‘Pink Skies Ahead’ Reviewed

by Rachel Bellwoar

Pink Skies Ahead

Written and Directed by Kelly Oxford

While most people have probably heard of the walk and talk from TV shows like ER and The West Wing, the drive and talk is a less celebrated phenomena. Pink Skies Ahead opens with a drive and talk scene to introduce viewers to Winona (Jessica Barden). It’s less the driving and the talking that’s important, however, than who Winona is talking to and why we can’t see who’s in the passenger seat.

Winona is at a crossroads in her life. She just dropped out of college. She works for her dad (Better Call Saul’s Michael McKean) in a glorified position. She still sees her pediatrician (would that all doctors were Henry Winkler) and, according to him, she probably has an anxiety disorder.

There are some great scenes in this movie. Fans of Barden from Netflix’s The End of the F***ing World might need a moment to adjust to the accent (it’s a lot like watching Julia Garner in Dirty John after watching her in The Americans) but she really brings a strength and resilience to the character who never lets people make her question her self-worth.

The film is also on target when it comes to presenting the stigma that exists around mental illness. Marcia Gay Harden plays Winona’s mom and the film lets you form an impression of Winona’s parents that turns out to be incomplete. There’s a sense, though, with the ending that Winona isn’t any better off than she was at the beginning of Pink Skies Ahead, and while I wasn’t looking for resolution, I was looking for that.

The 29th Philadelphia Film Fesitval ran from October 23rd to November 2nd.

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