The Red Carpets of the 2024 Chicago Critics Film Festival | Festivals & Awards
Movie Reviews

The Red Carpets of the 2024 Chicago Critics Film Festival | Festivals & Awards

On the red carpet outside the Music Box Theatre, Adlon—whose acclaimed FX series “Better Things,” which followed a single mother raising three daughters in Los Angeles, frequently drew inspiration from her own life—reflected on working with Glazer and Jon Rabinowitz, who co-wrote “Babes,” while ensuring her own voice as a filmmaker shone through on the screen.

“Naturally, I think I bring all of the things that have made me, up to this day, into everything I do,” Adlon told On “Babes,” though, she was less concerned with making the script personal to her own experiences of motherhood than with putting her protective instincts to use on set. “As the shepherd and director of the whole piece, it’s my responsibility to protect it: to protect the characters, the relationships, the story, and the comedy.”

While directing “Babes,” Adlon studied each scene carefully while leaving room for spontaneity. “What I like to do is organically see the world around me, and see the people that are part of the scene, including background actors, and make sure it all becomes part of the piece,” she said. “You just have to be open, not rigid—you have to be fluid.”

Though “Babes” is Adlon’s feature directorial debut, she’s well-established as a director on the small screen; after helming two episodes of the first season of “Better Things,” Adlon went on to direct every episode of its remaining four seasons. Adlon’s still “excited” about what she achieved across “Better Things,” but the opportunity to “present this one, beautiful present to everybody” in the form of a feature film was one Adlon seized eagerly.

“It’s got all of the feelings, shifts, and earnings of many seasons of television, put into one film,” Adlon said. “So I feel energized by the whole aspect of that and hopeful that people will want to keep making films.” Before heading inside, Adlon added, “the fact that it’s in this theater is the cherry on top.”

On Monday, KiKi Layne walked the red carpet at the Music Box ahead of a screening of “Dandelion,” a musical drama written and directed by Nicole Riegel (“Holler“). 

Layne, who also executive-produced, stars as a struggling Cincinnati singer-songwriter who reluctantly takes a gig at a motorcycle rally in South Dakota, only to fall for a charismatic guitarist (Thomas Doherty) and embark on a journey toward discovering her own voice. 

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