FFirst feature director Tyler Taormina dreamed of making his way into a very strange and intriguing film: a Gen-Z reverie about life and fate, somewhere between The Prom and The Purge. The movie never behaves like it’s more than a realistic coming-of-age drama, but something else happens.
Haley (Haley Bodell) is part of a clique of popular high school kids in a bland suburban town who are preparing to participate in a local tradition. She and other girls wear flowing, sacrificial white dresses and prepare to head to a local grocery store called Monty’s – along with a whole host of other kids – for what appears to be a pairing ritual, like a dance without music or dance. But there’s a lot to be done about it, and Haley can’t quite persuade herself that she wants to join us.
Ham on Rye is a satirical parable of conformism and aspiration, and is aimed at anyone who, as an adult, remembers when their life and romantic chances were arbitrarily decided by a few events that happened. during their teens and early twenties. And there is also another layer. Ham on Rye takes a dark, subversive look at the idea of ââbreaking free from your boring suburban hometown and entering the glamorous adult world beyond. This is the theme of so many films, and it is perhaps the dominant theme of Hollywood itself. So many films succumb to romantic fantasy that the way to do it is to be a rebel, a free-thinker, a defender of standards.
Yet this film, in its surrealist way, is ominously about something closer to the non-surreal truth: The people who came out of their boring, Philistine hometowns were largely the competent conformists, at least outwardly and temporarily. They were the ones who worked hard, got good grades, and made it to college, where their individuality could finally blossom. Taormina’s meditation on all of this could be compared to Yorgos Lanthimos or Gus Van Sant, but it’s a very individual work, as frightening as a ghost story.