Ham on Rye
Ham on Rye
Director: Tyler Taormina
Runtime: 85 minutes
Cast: Haley Bodell, Cole Devine, Audrey Boos, Gabriella Herrera, Adam Torres, Sam Hernandez, Luke Darga, Blake Borders, Timothy Taylor, Gregory Falatek, Laura Wernette, David Croley Broyles, Henry Nolin, Hal Rothwell, Grant McLellan, Dan Jablons with special appearances from Lori Beth Denberg, Danny Tamberelli, Clayton Snyder, Aaron Schwartz
Synopsis: A bizarre rite of passage at the local deli determines the fate of a generation of teenagers, l eading some to escape their suburban town and dooming others to remain.
In his feature debut, director and writer Tyler Taormina and co-writer Eric Berger deliver in Ham on Rye a scathing commentary not just on the suburbs, but on the realities faced by high schoolers all over.
A wonderful cast of suburban teens face a rite of passage—fraught with anxiety and desire—that starts in the world of Richard Linklater and ends in that of David Lynch. Tyler Taormina’s sly but surprisingly touching debut plays with and then upends the clichés of American end-of-school comedies.
Ham on Rye is a surreal, dream-like a coming-of-age comedy which is in turns unsettling and unnerving. Centred on the skittish excitement of youth and the strange horror of entering adulthood, the film has an expansive ensemble of over one hundred performers, including non-actors, musicians, 90’s Nickelodeon child stars, and more, to explore a suburban community’s relationship with a prom-like ritual and the decay of the human spirit. The film begins with crowd-pleasing spirit as a group of Generation Z suburban teens face a rite of passage—fraught with anxiety and desire. The whole sequence is beautifully captured in moments with cinematography by Carson Lund that at times resembles an Impressionist painting.
Atmospheric music by Deuter and a strong indy score underline the mood.
For its second half, the film fades gradually into a curious dystopia, where Tyler Taormina and co-writer Eric Berger have delivered a scathing commentary not just on the suburbs, but on the realities faced by high school students everywhere. Some kids head off to college or off into the world while another group gets “left behind”. What follows is the void between those who leave and those who remain. In Ham on Rye that void even exists within families.
With opening and closing sequences in the community park, the film shows young children playing and running around, jumping and laughing while the accompanying adults are just existing, and it seems to pose questions of how much control we have over our lives and fates?
Streaming on MUBI
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