Film Still From "Suze"


March 28, 2024
Mary Grace Gallagher

I don’t know why, but watching the movie “Suze” reminded me of Amy Schumer’s skit featuring grande dames of comedy, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Julia Louis-Dreyfus toasting the latter’s “last fuckable day” with champagne and pastries. There on screen was another beautiful actress of a certain age, Michaela Watkins, wiping sweat off her brow, popping Ambien and bidding farewell to her youthful vitality.

But instead of cheers and collegial laughter, the title character in “Suze,” who prefers to be called “Susan,” is making the transition into perimenopause in isolation.

“What if I don’t want things to wind down?” Susan pleads with her doctor, who offers little relief in the midst of her coinciding crises of hormonal imbalance and loss of her only daughter, Brooke (Sara Waislass) as she departs for college.

Written and directed by the husband-and-wife team Dane Clark and Linsey Stewart, “Suze” delves into the sorrow of abandonment and the transformative power of human connection.

Watkins is the emotional center of the film, with her warmth and relatability. Most of the low-key comedy derives from scenes with Brooke’s ex-boyfriend, Gage, played by Charlie Gillespie as a lovable goofball whose heart is also broken with Brooke’s departure.

“It’s kinda funny, huh, Suze,” he says using her unwanted nickname. “How we both got left by the same person.”

“Yeah,” she replies. “It’s hilarious.”

For most of the film, Watkins plays the scorned woman, wounded and desperate and sometimes wearing out the “empty-nester” trope of leaving one unanswered message after another on her daughter’s voicemail.

Both the middle-aged and teen-aged characters could use some therapy, or at least something stronger than the weak menopausal tea prescribed by Susan’s doctor. Between an impulsive road trip and some late-night grilled-cheese sandwiches, they ultimately find a sense of purpose.

It’s in these quiet moments of the film when Gillespie, with his scraggly hair and tattooed pecs,  transcends his role as “foil” to Watkins’ frumpy mother figure that the story offers its audience the solace of some champagne and pastry to help that Ambien go down.  

Feature Film: "Suze"
Purchase Your Tickets Today!

Purchase Tickets
Feature Narrative. 93 min.