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We're All Going to the World's Fair
Anna Cobb appears in <i>We’re All Going to the World’s Fair</i> by Jane Schoenbrun, an official selection of the NEXT section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Daniel Patrick Carbone.

Movie Reviews

[Sundance ’21] ‘We’re All Going to the World’s Fair’ review: Perfectly captures Generation Z teen?

Like Eighth Grade.

We’re All Going to the World’s Fair can make a strong argument for capturing being a teenager in today’s internet world better than any other film. Making its premiere in the NEXT section at the Sundance Film Festival, the film is about a teenage girl named Casey. She lives in a rural town and one day she decides to take part in an online game. What follows is a horror movie for the digital age.

The film is going to polarize audiences. It moves at a glacial pace. World’s Fair is one of those art pieces that revels in making audiences watch the screen. (In her introduction for the world premiere, director Jane Schoenbrun all but begged the audience not to get bored with the movie.) Many times, the movie also seems more concerned with being random and artsy than it does with telling a story.

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World’s Fair does some really neat things involving the online game. For example, Casey’s videos are a big part of the film. The audience will be constantly asking if they are real or a show for Casey’s viewers. Once the story starts to come together, it is also becomes clear this is a movie with a message. The common theme of technology keeping people apart is found, but there are also some deeper ideas at play.

[Sundance '21] 'We're All Going to the World's Fair' review: Perfectly captures Generation Z teen?

That being said, too much of the movie seems disconnected. World’s Fair is as much a collection of isolated clips as it is a complete film. It touches on themes of loneliness and acceptance, but it gets so metaphor heavy at times, it becomes more of a chore to watch than anything else. There is big difference between being obscure and provoking thought.

Ultimately for most, things will never quite click the way they should. The film is trying to touch on some very important themes, but ironically does not seem to have the patience to do so in any meaningful way. We’re All Going to the World’s Fair proves it is impossible to make a movie about emotions when all feelings have been drained from it.

Continue to check out AIPT for our ongoing coverage of the Sundance Film Festival.

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