Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival

SEE FOR ME, directed by Randall Okita and written by Adam Yorke and Tommy Gushue, is a thriller with the tension ratcheted up to eleven. It stars Skyler Davenport, Kim Coates, and Jessica Parker Kennedy in a story about a visually impaired young woman, Sophie Scott (Skyler Davenport), cat sitting for a wealthy, recently divorced woman when a home invasion occurs. Her only help is from Kelly (Jessica Parker Kennedy) on her recently installed See For Me app on her phone. The film is well-paced throughout and, once the drama begins, has a first-person shooter vibe from video games.

There are comparisons to Hush but SEE FOR ME creatively gives us different twists. The film doesn’t give us the “good girl in peril” story. Instead, Sophie is angry, rude, and untrustworthy. She exploits how the world sees her, a blind white girl, to get away with petty theft. Because Sophie believes she can no longer compete in skiing competitions now that she is blind, Sophie is resentful. She fights for her independence, despite the attempts of so many to coddle her. The banter and arguing between her and Kelly, when she initially uses the See For Me app because she accidentally gets locked out of the home, is filled with attitude from both of them.

The acting is excellent all around. It’s not flat, and we understand Sophie’s anger and fears. Skyler Davenport shines in the role and nails the myriad emotions that Sophie experiences. The actors who play the criminals, George Tchortov as Otis, Pascal Langdale as Ernie, and Joe Pingue as Dave, are each exciting characters. We have the one who’s filled with bloodlust, the more level-headed one, and the “how did I end up in this situation” one. All helmed by the boss and voice on the phone.

When the trio of robbers breaks in, the buildup of when they will collide with Sophie will have your nerves shredded. We also quickly realize that Sophie using her disability as a shield will be especially helpful in this situation. Without it, the story may have ended promptly, given Otis’s desire to kill her off. As Kelly helps her, the film becomes a first-person shooter-style story that is unexpected and thrilling. The dialogue elevates the story, particularly when the voice on the phone converses with the robbers and Sophie. It’s my favorite scene.

The one complaint is not with the movie, but accessibility for the movie, as the film did not have closed captions for streaming. Not sure if this is an issue with Tribeca this year or the film. But to have a movie about a visually impaired woman in danger yet not have captions for the hearing impaired is both ableist and insensitive. Accessibility should not be an additional feature but a standard. There are disabled viewers, just as there are disabled critics. To ignore entire swaths of the market implies they are not worthy of access, and that is a serious issue that needs to be addressed going forward.

Overall, SEE FOR ME is not only a lively watch, but it has also added twists beyond the standard fare of the genre of a home invasion. There is a moral question of right and wrong explored because Sophie takes these jobs for opportunities to steal from wealthier people. The robbers are doing what she does, just not on a petty theft level. SEE FOR ME not only says don’t underestimate the visually impaired but also don’t equate disabled with a flawless character. People are people regardless, and we are all capable of moral and legal missteps.

SEE FOR ME had its online world premiere at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival.

 

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