Dan Sallitt / 2019 / 94 / USA

A beautifully realized story of a friendship between two young women, Fourteen is one of the most acclaimed releases of the year. 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.

Nominee, Best Screenplay, Gotham Awards, 2021


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


→ 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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