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Sundance 2018 Review: ‘White Rabbit’

Sundance 2018 Review: ‘White Rabbit’

White Rabbit, Sundance, Sundance 2018, Vivian Bang, Korean

“If I don’t find a way to express myself, I’ll go insane,” Sophia (Vivian Bang) exclaims, which gives you an indication of how important her art is to her. The art itself is performative and oddball, whether it be planting face-first into some cheese doodles for social media, or performing monologues with a portable microphone at Whole Foods. Regardless, Sophia is passionate about expression. White Rabbit explores this passion through her art, relationships, and her daily grind in the way that’s both random and heartfelt.

Fresh from a breakup, Sophia is trying to live her life as a Korean-born artist in LA. As all artists have to eat, she starts doing odd jobs on TaskRabbit to take care of herself. She has an angry encounter with a Black woman named Victoria and they repeatedly run into each other afterwards. Eventually, they strike up a friendship, which turns into unrequited feelings for Sophia.

Vivian Bang’s voice shines through as her character mainly because she co-wrote the screenplay. But the commitment she displays as Sophia is felt on screen. Lending her voice to the writing also explains the interactions she has with other Asian women during the film. It’s very rare to get an Asian lead in the first place, much less a group of them as friends interacting. So it was refreshing to see her get advice from women who looked like her and have a support system through the LA grind.

Victoria (Nana Ghana) and her relationship also stands out. While Victoria doesn’t return Sophia’s romantic feelings, to see a woman of color’s love grow for another woman of color is wonderful. The montage of them hanging out is handled with such care and sweetness, that you want them to be together. The eventual confrontation of Sophia’s feelings is both hilarious and heartbreaking, but you end up still being grateful for the (almost) dates they had in prior scenes.

White Rabbit is a whirlwind of expression and feelings. With quirkiness at its center, the story itself can feel aimless and without a purpose. But truly, it reflects its lead’s journey towards meaning. Sophia said it herself, that she has to find a way to express how she feels–and with this film we see it in every aspect of her life.

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