The recent crop of COVID-19 inspired films has proven that banking on an ongoing global pandemic is, at its best, not a very smart idea. From mainstream titles such as Locked Down and Songbird to festival bets on the likes of How It Ends and SXSW’s own The End of Us, we have been subjected to it all: mopey drama, sketchy sci-fi, uninspired comedy and distasteful romcom. Recovery, however, pleasantly breaks the mould of the predictable pandemic flick with a charming lead duo and a script that understands how to exploit without being exploitative. 

Days after celebrating her 30th birthday and drunkenly gushing over all the incredible things the next year had in store, 4th-grade teacher Jamie (Whitney Call) is hit by a now very familiar wall of bricks. With the rapidly rising number of cases suffocating the care sector, the teacher soon receives a letter alerting her that the nursing home currently housing her grandmother has registered a breach. Aware of the urgency of the situation, Jamie packs the car and enlists Blake (Mallory Everton), her sister and housemate, to drive across the country to rescue their beloved Nana before she is exposed.

As soon as Recovery detaches itself from the pandemic setup, transitioning into a full-on road movie, it feels deliciously fresh. The dynamic between Jamie and Blake is carved from the most joyful aspects of sisterhood, the comfort they find in one another homely and warm. Comedy here is not harvested from misery but from a script that is clearly aware of the sensibility of the subject without sinking into carefulness, the characters made relatable yet free of the often heavy dose of eagerness that comes with portrayals of contemporary young women.

All in all, Recovery proves not that COVID films should be done, but that they can be done – and that’s quite the feat.



CAST: Baize Busan, Allison Torem, Austin Pendleton

DIRECTOR: Bradley Grant Smith

WRITER: Bradley Grant Smith

SYNOPSIS: Two estranged sisters go in search of their uncle, a mysterious figure who may hold the key to their father’s suicide and their family’s unhappiness.