“The fifth feature by revered critic, compulsive cinephile, and occasional filmmaker Dan Sallitt, Fourteen is a modest but gradually — and, in the end, greatly — affecting sketch of how even the closest of friendships can shift and wither over the years… Fourteen isn’t aspiring towards the naturalism suggested by its unfussy aesthetic, but rather trying to mine a deeper kind of truth from the friction between the rigidity of Sallitt’s framing and the casualness of his action… When lifetimes of latent drama come home to roost in the surprisingly eventful final scenes, Fourteen builds to an unsparingly lucid assessment of what two friends can take from — and carry for — each other.”
— David Ehrlich, IndieWire
Mara and Jo, in their twenties, have been close friends since middle school. Jo, the more outgoing figure, is a social worker who runs through a series of brief but intense relationships. Mara, a less splashy personality than Jo, bounces among teacher aide jobs while trying to land a position in elementary education, and writes fiction in her spare time. She too has a transient romantic life, though she seems to settle down after meeting Adam, a mild-mannered software developer. It soon becomes apparent that Jo, despite her intellectual gifts, is unreliable in her professional life, losing and acquiring jobs at a troubling rate. Substance abuse may be responsible for Jo’s instability… but some observers suspect a deeper problem. Over the course of a decade, the more stable Mara sometimes tries to help, sometimes backs away to preserve herself, but never leaves behind her powerful childhood connection with Jo.
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