The Mitchells vs. The Machines
I firmly believe that the most challenging films to make are family films. You need to achieve the perfect balance of being accessible and appropriate for children while being nuanced for adults. It’s incredibly challenging, and it’s why most modern family films are really just for kids. However, The Mitchells vs. The Machines is genuinely a film for everybody. Following Katie (Abbie Jacobson) on her family road trip to college in the wake of a robot apocalypse, the film subverts the tired “kids versus adults” cliche of family films to tell a touching story of growing up. With the robot attacks as a backdrop, both her and her father Rick (Danny McBride) learn to reevaluate their relationship with each other during Katie’s transition to college. It’s a mature approach, as neither of them is villainous or uncaring; they’re just having a tough time understanding each other and need to learn how to see each other in a new light.
Of course, the film is still hilarious. Katie’s mom Linda (Maya Rudolph), is charming as one of the most realistic and badass movie moms of the year. Katie’s younger brother, Aaron (writer/director Mike Rianda), is hysterically weird. Olivia Coleman is having the time of her life as the sinister PAL, trying to destroy the human race. The animation perfectly captures Katie’s creative movie nerd mindset, reminiscent of a sketchbook while still delivering the intense action the story needed. Mike Rianda’s work on Gravity Falls and his usage of the animation technology from Spider-Man Into The Spider-Verse explains how both the film’s writing and style were stellar. The Mitchelle’s vs. The Machines is the perfect film for a family movie night, and I’m confident people of all ages will enjoy it for many years to come.