David Magdael dmagdael@dmagpr.com
Tommy Tang ttang@dmagpr.com


“Sensitive and surprising… a film whose emotional reality seems to evolve before your eyes… Observantly edited, the movie mingles the perspectives of many family members without casting judgment, developing an aching poignancy that recalls recent family dramas like AFTERSUN and RETURN TO SEOUL… a mature reckoning with love, hurt, independence, and hard-won wisdom.”

Nicolas Rapold
The New York Times Critic's Pick

“SAM NOW is remarkable not only for its powerful subject matter and the restrained, intelligent way it examines its key players, but for how it simultaneously reaches the audience and everyone involved in the story… This is one of the year’s best films.”

Matt Zoller Seitz

“Reed Harkness has made a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime film. Filled with intimate family footage, Sam Now feels like a novel or a well-crafted drama, but it’s all too true. It’s a truly artistic documentary, which should be seen and embraced by discerning audiences in North America and abroad.”

Marc Glassman
POV Magazine

“★★★★ (out of four) It’s the kind of film that haunts you, in the best of ways… this real-life story heads in unexpected directions, and that in watching it you will be both frustrated by imperfect human behavior and dazzled by the strength of family love. And, through the magic of cameras, it lets you watch Sam grow up: an ever-giggling little boy; a lanky teen running through a green field as if in pursuit of something elusive; a kind-eyed man gazing into his brother’s lens and trying to make the world make sense. Twenty-five years in the making, this warmhearted, generous film is a quiet masterpiece — the very specific story of one family, but one in which many of us can find our own.”

Moira Macdonald
The Seattle Times

“9/10. What Harkness has done here is truly remarkable, finessing a moving and technically rich piece out of thin air. It helps that his story has mystery dropped into it from nowhere, but the big takeaway is that he is a born filmmaker with an unerring instinct for corralling the chaos of life into a good story. What emerges is a sensitive yet gripping voyage into a sort of American HEART OF DARKNESS, with a dramatic separation as its Congo. You can only admire the bravery of Harkness and his brother as they set out to find their mother dressed as a thrift store Black Panther. The story that emerges is unique and not quickly forgotten. The tale is leavened brilliantly by a soundtrack crammed with blistering punk, gutsy garage, and pensive Americana. The photography is excellent. Especially the dream-like Super 8.  The extended family is thoughtfully presented and universally great, bringing a lot of color and interesting perspectives to the riddle at the heart of their lives, and never once feeling misused.”

Perry Norton
Film Threat

“There are very few projects as impactful as SAM NOW. Balancing a dynamic energy with haunting emotions, the film is a focused slice of real life that captures a truth so powerful and complex that it simply can’t be fully understood in the realm of fiction. The feature is touching in all the right ways and stands tall as one of the best films of the year.”

Carson Timar

“4.5 stars. A haunting, yet poignant and moving film, SAM NOW is one of 2023’s best documentaries… I am struck by how gentle and affirming the film is while also grappling with difficult traumatic events.”

Mike Ward
Should I See It

“The movie comes alive once the mystery appears to have been solved. What follows is a remarkably complex exploration of fractured family dynamics that calls to mind Maggie Gyllenhaal’s THE LOST DAUGHTER in its nonjudgmental gaze and naked vulnerability.”

Matt Fagerholm

“This quietly powerful film is a way for Harkness to reopen some of his family’s wounds, but always with the understanding that the more he pokes and digs, the longer it may take to heal.”

Noel Murray
Los Angeles Times

“SAM NOW is rarely as dark or as heavy as it sounds, since Harkness, with expert assistance from editor Jason Reid—with whom he grew up in Seattle—keeps the pace lively, mixes film stocks artfully, and fills the soundtrack with high-powered selections from local acts, like the Sonics, the Wailers, and Dead Moon… It’s one of the finest documentaries to emerge from the Pacific Northwest and one of the very best of the year.”

Kathy Fennessy
Video Librarian

 SAM NOW | Press Coverage Playlist on YouTube

WESTDOC | Reed Harkness, Sam Harkness and Jason Reid Interview by Chuck Braverman