REVIEW: “Acidman” (2023)

“Acidman” is built around a rather familiar father-daughter story. But director Alex Lehmann uses two stellar lead performances to infuse his modest yet genuinely heartfelt story with warmth and pathos. Co-written by Lehmann and Chris Dowling, “Acidman” premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival and is now set for its official release. Fans of intimate indies will certainly want to check this one out.

This earnest and thoughtful two-hander is driven by the sublime duo of Dianna Agron and Thomas Haden Church. Agron plays Maggie, a young woman who tracks and then travels 2,000 miles to check on her estranged father Lloyd (Church). She also has some important news to share – news that she’s struggling to come to grips with. In her mind she feels that reconnecting with her father will in some way give her clarity she desperately needs.

Lloyd (flawlessly played by Church) is a former engineer turned conspiracy theorist who lives alone with his German short-haired pointer named Migo way up in the mountains in the middle of nowhere. These days he spends his time shooting video of what he believes are UFOs and working on ways to communicate with the extraterrestrial visitors during their “interplanetary drive-bys“. His unusual beliefs have led to him being dubbed “Acidman” by some local delinquents from the nearest town.

Image Courtesy of Brainstorm Media

Most of what we learn about both Maggie and Lloyd comes through their conversations and interactions with each other. As father and daughter attempt to reconnect it provides us with a clearer picture of their lives, their emotions, and (in some cases) their motivations. We learn that Lloyd also has a son named Bucky; that there’s some tension between Maggie and her husband Ben, and that Maggie is worried about her father’s health – a concern that proves justified the more time we spend with them.

Again, this isn’t the first movie to deal with fractured families or lost souls. “Acidman” joins a long line of intimate character-driven dramas with similar interests. But the authenticity of its central relationship and the textured chemistry we witness draws us in. And there are enough variations to each of their personal journeys, as well as a compelling connecting tissue between father and daughter, that set it apart.

“Acidman” could have opened up its characters a bit more and gave a deeper insight into to what brought Maggie and Lloyd to the places they are now. But it’s hard to fuss too much about Lehmann’s choices. He shows good instincts in giving his two leads plenty of room to work. And he and Dowling put together a script that maintains a steady focus while packing some real feeling within its relatively small frame. “Acidman” is now showing in select theaters and on VOD.


6 thoughts on “REVIEW: “Acidman” (2023)

  1. This is the first I’ve heard of this one. I do have a soft spot for Diana Agron though. She seems so sweet. I might catch it if it ends up on streaming.

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