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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

I Saw The TV Glow (2024) - Lost in Transmission

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5 Stars)

Released 05-03-2024

Watched 06-28-2024

Reviewed 07-05-2024

Rented from Apple TV+



"Soon, you won't remember anything. Your real name, your superpowers, you won't even remember that you're dying."


I Saw The TV Glow, directed by Jane Schoenbrun, attempts to weave a complex narrative around themes of identity, reality, and self-discovery but falls short of delivering a cohesive and engaging experience. Starring Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine, the film follows Owen and Maddy, two troubled friends whose bond over a TV show spirals into a surreal exploration of their realities.


The film opens promisingly in 1996, with young Owen and Maddy finding solace in the TV show The Pink Opaque. Fast forward a few years, and Owen’s life is marred by personal loss and confusion about his identity, while Maddy’s life takes a darker turn. The narrative dives into the bizarre as Maddy claims to have entered the show’s world, urging Owen to join her in a quest that blurs the lines between reality and fiction.


Despite its intriguing premise, I Saw The TV Glow suffers from a lack of clarity and pacing issues. The movie’s attempt to serve as an allegory for the transgender experience is not immediately apparent without additional context from the director’s interviews. This lack of accessibility undermines its potential impact, leaving viewers puzzled rather than enlightened.


Unfortunately, the horror elements fail to deliver genuine scares or tension, often feeling disjointed and secondary to the film’s existential musings. The performances by Smith and Lundy-Paine are commendable, but they are not enough to save the film from its narrative shortcomings. The supporting cast, including Helena Howard and Fred Durst, add little depth to the convoluted story.


The film’s heavy reliance on references to other media, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twin Peaks, feels more like a distraction than a meaningful enhancement. While these nods might appeal to fans of those shows, they do little to advance the film’s unique identity or thematic depth.

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