Diehard fans of the actress Judith Light — and there are many — will no doubt remember her trailblazing turn as Karen Wolek on “One Life to Live,” a role she played from 1977-1983. Originally presented as a two-dimensional gold-digging vixen, Light’s performance turned the character into a fan favorite. In a pivotal 1979 episode, the character reveals on the witness stand her secret life as a sex worker, an early sympathetic depiction of the profession that was largely free from negative stereotypes. Whether or not audiences remember the historic moment, Light’s turn as a fading soap opera star in Jen Tullock and Hannah Pearl Utt’s family comedy, “Before You Know It,” is sure to delight fans young and old.
The movie premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival to largely warm reviews, and the newly released trailer offers a glimpse of the creative duo’s quirky wit. (While Utt directs; they wrote the script together, and both co-star.)
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Per the official synopsis: “Stage manager Rachel Gurner still lives in her childhood apartment — along with her off-kilter actress sister, Jackie; eccentric playwright father Mel; and deadpan preteen niece Dodge — above the tiny theatre they own and operate. Level-headed and turtleneck-wearing Rachel is the only thing standing between her family and utter chaos. Then, in the wake of a sudden family tragedy, Rachel and Jackie learn their presumed-deceased mother is actually alive and thriving as a soap-opera star. Now the sisters’ already-precarious balance turns upside down, and Rachel must figure out how to liberate herself from this surreal imbroglio.”
Utt and Tullock play the leading sisters, and they are bolstered by an impressive cast that includes Mandy Patinkin, Mike Colter, Alec Baldwin, and of course, Light.
In her warm review out of Sundance, IndieWire’s Kate Erbland wrote: “A quirky, slightly off-kilter feature about a wacky family and the stunted people who populate it…’Before You Know It’ doesn’t balk at quirkiness, but it never uses it as a crutch or the only way to process the story. … The result is still a low-key charmer that promises great things from the pair.”
1091 will release “Before You Know It” in select theaters on August 30. Check out the exceedingly delightful trailer below.