Dan Sallitt / 2019 / 94 / USA

Winner of a 2021 Gotham Award for Best Screenplay, Dan Sallitt’s Fourteen is a beautifully realized story of a friendship between two young women. Mara and Jo, in their twenties, have been close friends since middle school. Jo, the more outgoing figure, is a social worker who runs through a series of brief but intense relationships. Mara, a less splashy personality than Jo, bounces among teacher aide jobs while trying to land a position in elementary education, and writes fiction in her spare time. She too has a transient romantic life, though she seems to settle down after meeting Adam, a mild-mannered software developer. It soon becomes apparent that Jo, despite her intellectual gifts, is unreliable in her professional life, losing and acquiring jobs at a troubling rate. Substance abuse may be responsible for Jo’s instability… but some observers suspect a deeper problem. Over the course of a decade, the more stable Mara sometimes tries to help, sometimes backs away to preserve herself, but never leaves behind her powerful childhood connection with Jo.


Caterina, a short film by Dan Sallitt (2019, 17 minutes)

Sallitt on Set, a making-of documentary by Ricky D’Ambrose (2020, 12 minutes)

• Theatrical Trailer


→ Read Dan Sallitt’s 10/10 list


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  • “A vast vision of two friends and the fault lines between them. Brilliant... Transcends the conventional form of independent-film realism to realize a philosophical, personal cinema that seems created, fresh and whole, from start to finish.”

    — Richard Brody, The New Yorker
  • “A mighty independent feature… An instant-classic tale of a difficult friendship…. This is a movie in which the two women at the center seem to pull off the impossible.”

    — K. Austin Collins, Vanity Fair
  • “Three and a half stars (out of four)! What I love about the film, among other aspects, is how the wry verbal wit of the early conversations suggests a mordant comedy, almost a working-class variation on the films of Whit Stillman."

    — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
  • "With the Oscars expanding its horizons this year, it’ll be interesting to see if anyone gives worthier performances than Tallie Medel as a frustrated teacher’s aid, and Norma Kuhling as her magnetic but unstable childhood friend."

    — David Ehrlich, Indiewire
  • “The rare movie that intelligently and compassionately honors the push-pull dynamic between two young women.”

    — Melissa Anderson, 4Columns
  • “A story of intimate friendship written and directed with a subtle touch by Dan Sallitt…. intellectual and loving… a bittersweet character drama.”

    — Teo Bugbee, The New York Times
  • "I hope casting agents and other industry types see Fourteen because I want them to see Norma Kuhling. She takes this strong role, by writer-director Dan Sallitt, and hits it exactly right."

    — Mick LaSalle, SF Chronicle
  • “A highly affecting portrait of female friendship.”

    — David Ehrlich, Indiewire
  • “Two outstanding performances... Medel is marvelous, utterly engaging. Kuhling is a knockout."

    — Neil Young, Hollywood Reporter
  • “A wonderful, subtly devastating film from a voice in American independent cinema that will hopefully become better known."

    — Ian Mantgani, Little White Lies
  • “A beautifully understated portrait of two lifelong friends.”

    — Jordan Cronk, Film Comment
  • “A bittersweet breakup movie. It’s rare in cinema to see such a fine-grained portrait of friendship, particularly a spiky female one."

    — Jamie Dunn, Sight & Sound

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