Magically Sorting Through Grief: Marvelous and The Black Hole Can Heal Your Heart
Film: Marvelous and The Black Hole
Director: Kate Tsang
Category: Feature – Dramatic
Being a teenager is hard enough, but dealing with grief is no help. Marvelous and The Black Hole brings a sweet coming-of-age story about Sammy Ko (Miya Cech) finding the best way to cope with grief after her mother passes away, which just happens to be learning sleight of hand magic. Featuring a strong cast including Rhea Perlman (Cheers, Matilda) and Leonard Nam (Westworld), Marvelous and The Black Hole will warm your heart and show you that some magic is real.
Sammy is an angsty teen, wearing all black and tattooing small X’s on herself with a sewing needle and some ink, she has no interest in much besides being angry. When her father Angus (Leonard Nam) can’t deal with Sammy getting into trouble anymore, he gives her an ultimatum: sign up for a summer class at the local community college or go to summer boot camp for bad kids. Not wanting to be trapped and reformed at camp, Sammy elects to take an entrepreneurship business class at the college. On her first day, Sammy is surrounded by adults in college as the only disinterested kid in the room. She leaves class and gets caught tattooing herself in the bathroom by Margot (Rhea Perlman) and skipping class. Instead of turning Sammy in, Margot recognizes all that anger inside of Sammy that she herself had as a child, so Margot takes Sammy under her wing. Enlisting Sammy as her assistant, the Marvelous Margot puts on a magic show for the kids in the college’s daycare, which amazes even the hardened Sammy. After missing her class, the professor asks where she had been, and Sammy says she has chosen magic as her business for her class project, which the professor unwillingly accepts with some convincing from Margot. The film then follows Sammy as she loses her anger to learn magic from the Marvelous Margot and her magician friends, and to find herself in her grief.
Rhea Perlman is such a delight as Margot, she brings a zany attitude with a lot of love behind it to balance out an incredible performance from Miya Cech as Sammy. Cech is a force for a new actor, and she can totally hold her own with the senior members of the cast and brings so much life to what could have been a one-note, angry character. In the most emotionally intense scenes, Cech and Perlman play the heart of this film so well, showing that grief can manifest in many different forms when you lose a loved one.
Director Kate Tsang tells a beautiful story on finding your people, your passion, and learning how to move on and cope in positive ways, even when that seems impossible because you don’t want to let go and lose everything. Marvelous and The Black Hole fills a unique space in coming-of-age films in dealing with a bigger concept than just growing up, like grief, in such a profound way. You can use your grief for anger or you can use it to become better than you were before, and luckily Sammy learns to choose the latter.
Review Score: 4/5
Where Can You Watch: No details on where you can watch yet, but the film has its own T witter (link: https://twitter.com/mbhmovie) you can check in with for updates.
Bonus content: Check out the Q&A with director Kate Tsang and cast members Miya Cech (Sammy Ko), Rhea Perlman (Margot), and Leonard Nam (Angus Ko) on the Sundance Film Festival Youtube channel. Miya Cech is a shining star on the rise, and Rhea Perlman is such a gem. Watch here