Visually stunning. Uncomfortable. Relatable. Eerily beautiful. Conflicting.
A film about creative types, written by and starring Kelly McCormack and directed by Wendy Morgan in her feature debut, Sugar Daddy takes the glamorized “starving artist” myth and exposes the realities of that life like a hungover 30-something in the glaring sunlight at 7am. Sugar Daddy fortuitously benefited from Morgan’s previous experience directing music videos with her gorgeous ability to capture passion and music, as well as transitioning seamlessly between memories and fantasies, and stark realities.
It’s easy to focus on the breathtaking performance from McCormack – who has talent (and glitter) oozing out of every orifice – but Sugar Daddy also presents all too real, and honestly messy, conversations about feminism, autonomy, and the currency of relationships. McCormack’s Darren is a 25-year old artist and musician struggling to turn her dreams into a viable career. Her attempt to forge this path leads her to becoming a sugar baby. Although a story like this could conveniently results in an unlikable protagonist, and Darren does make mistakes, especially as she pushes away her support system, it would be an oversimplification to blame only D for the challenges she faces. As a female creative viewers, it’s refreshing to see a genuine portrayal of a woman accustomed to questioning whether the men in her life actually care for her, believe in her, wish her success, or if they’re just trying to get in her pants. An unfortunate challenge women face in every field.
With a fantastically talented female team behind the camera, and a stacked cast including Canadian staples like Amanda Brugel, Aaron Ashmore, Noam Jenkins, and Jess Salguiero, Sugar Daddy is expectantly compelling. But a special note must be made for consistent bad-guy Colm Feore who takes a surprisingly believable turn as a gracious (and oddly uncreepy) Sugar Daddy.
Sugar Daddy is available now on Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, and YouTube Movies.
— Yael Tygiel
Darren, a young talented musician, dreams of making music like nobody has before. But she’s broke. Desperate for cash, she signs up to a paid-dating website, throwing herself down a dark path that shapes her music with it.