Stuck (2019) – Summary, Review (with Spoilers)

Stuck (2019) - Poster featuring Giancarlo Esposito, Ashanti, Arden Cho, Omar Chaparro, Amy Madigan and Gerard Canonico
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Led by Giancarlo Esposito, the emotional, sometimes comical, Stuck shows what happens when people are forced to interact and be held accountable face to face.


Director(s) Michael Berry
Screenplay By Michael Berry
Date Released 4/19/2019
Genre(s) Musical, Drama
Good If You Like Musicals Like The Phantom of The Opera, Nightmare Before Christmas, and RENT

Seeing Characters Confront Their Assumptions & Prejudice About Each Other

Isn’t For You If You Want To Get To Know A Character Past The Trauma They Are Dealing With

Looking For Insightful Thoughts About Race Interactions Or Other Social Topics

Noted Cast
Lloyd Giancarlo Esposito
Caleb Gerard Canonico
Alicia Arden Cho
Ramon Omar Chaparro
Mariella Alexa Garzon
Sue Amy Madigan
Eve Ashanti
Maggie Reyna De Courcy

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Stuck (2019) Plot Summary

In NYC, on the MTA, six strangers find themselves stuck together as their train suddenly stops moving. Each one is in a rush, except Lloyd who lives in the train car they are all sharing. And it is him who begins to spark conversation as he sings, moves about, and starts sparking people’s personalities. Though, as when strangers are forced to converse usually, especially in New York, some don’t appreciate the silence being broken. No matter how much they probably need to speak to someone.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Did we learn why Lloyd was in the position he’s in?

Highlights

The Music

Caleb (Gerard Canonico), Lloyd (Giancarlo Esposito), Ramon (Omar Chaparro) turning the other way as Alice pees.
Caleb (Gerard Canonico), Lloyd (Giancarlo Esposito), Ramon (Omar Chaparro)

Specifically, there is a need to highlight Giancarlo Esposito who, when it comes to noting The Phantom of the Opera, Nightmare Before Christmas, even RENT, it’s because of him. The way he sings slinks between the Phantom himself if not Nightmare Before Christmas’ Oogie Boogieman. Making it so, even if you don’t know the songs, he gives this taste of familiarity which helps ease you into the style of Stuck.

Though his co-stars are no slouch. Gerald Canonico’s first song, about the Magnificent Maggie, while nothing like Esposito’s tunes, present to you something different but welcomed in time. And though I can’t say every last song you’ll be streaming or buying off your favorite vendor, some will get stuck in your head – no pun intended.

It’ll Get You Emotional

Taking note of how you won’t necessarily fall in love with everyone’s voice or song, there remains each character getting a chance to tell you a piece of their story. For some, like Ramon, played by Omar Chaparro, you’ll feel like you get his whole story. One which, as he notes how hard he works for his family and so his daughter, Mariella, can dance, it may tickle a tear out of your eye.

Then, as we learn about the anniversary of something which happened to Sue, what Alicia recently went through, and this mixes in with their songs, it puts you in a mood. Not the kind of mood which may make you cry so much it hurts but you may well up a little bit. You may even cry if you relate or are an emotional person.

On The Fence

Characters Only Let You In But So Much

When it comes to getting to know characters, you may feel like you are getting an elevator pitch. Which is fine since it makes you feel like you get the gist. However, if you are the type who really likes getting to know a character in and out, you may feel like you barely went past the surface.

Yet, you come to realize that the main reason anyone says anything is because they feel confronted and judged and so, they’re willing to say what they need to get people to back off. Even Lloyd does this after a while, and he seems to be social not just to survive, but because he enjoys interacting with people. However, when Caleb asks him questions about his life, he gets antagonistic. Mind you, the questions were rude but between Caleb’s approach, Alicia’s comments, and the snowball that makes, it pushes you to eventually realize you are only going to get a taste of each person. Similar to you having to draw in strangers you’d meet in the real world.

When It Comes To Conversations, It Speeds Through The Hard Ones

Similar to how you may not enjoy how quickly characters open up about themselves and then close themselves off, their conversations may leave you wanting more as well. Whether it is the perception of Black people, specifically Black women; who is and who is not privileged and fortunate; alongside the topic of undocumented immigrants, big topics are shrunk into four-minute or less. Which, considering how diverse the group is, it pushes you to want to hear multiple sides. Yet, each one usually gets shut down when someone is offended. Leading to art imitating life and leaving all participants frustrated.

Ramon’s Song

Ramon (Omar Chaparro) in the movie Stuck.
Ramon (Omar Chaparro)

This is a minor thing, which borderline feels like hairsplitting – Ramon’s song doesn’t have subtitles. It is noted by Lloyd it is more about understanding based off feeling more than knowing his words, but then Sue talks to him in Spanish, and we see subtitles. Leading you to ask, why include subtitles for two to three sentences, of little importance, yet not provide them for the song which develops Ramon’s character? For even though his emotions and acting will make it so you don’t need to know Spanish to translate, it makes it so you may feel you missed out on something.

Stuck (2019) Overall: Mixed (Divisive)

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The main issue you might have with Stuck is that it keeps you on a need to know basis. Rather than do as most movies do and allow you insight beyond what the characters know about each other, it makes you the seventh person in the train car. Thus allowing you to experience the realness of the situation and feel how rooted this movie is. Especially as you witness everyone being defensive, cagey, and aloof. Even to the point of questioning, until you see the credits, what was this person or that person’s name? But, despite the wall some characters have up, it isn’t so bad it’ll keep you from committing to their shared story as a whole.

Leading to why the mixed label: The music and eccentricities of Lloyd bring you into the movie quick. However, with you getting only quick glances beyond the wall everyone puts up, it makes you feel isolated as Caleb claims to be. Leaving you with mixed feelings since, while it is cool you feel part of the movie in a way, it reminds you of the frustration of feeling like you are on the verge of knowing someone and then they get to their destination and become a ghost in your memories. Something that some may like the idea of but others may find a tad bit frustrating.

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1 COMMENT

  1. This was the most intelligent well thought out review I have read. Thank you. BTW, I agree about the subtitles… LOL

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