Selected Press for Margarita Happy Hour

VARIETY – Dennis Harvey

“…writer-director Ilya Chaiken’s debut feature is a surprisingly in-depth, wistful look at outgrowing a youth-only subculture… MARGARITA HAPPY HOUR could parlay fest gigs and favorable word-of-mouth into deserved sleeper status.”

MR. SHOWBIZ – Andrew Strickman
“First-time feature director Ilya Chaiken has created a compelling, unique story about motherhood and relationships among the underground art and music scenes of New York with MARGARITA HAPPY HOUR, as yet our favorite dramatic film of the [Sundance] festival.”

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL REVIEWS:
“A well-received drama when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, MARGARITA HAPPY HOUR is an entertainingly realistic, promising debut from writer-director Ilya Chaiken...  Chaiken and an excellent cast of relative unknowns ease one into the tumultuous, sometimes volatile milieu in which Zelda is struggling to find herself.”

LA WEEKLY – Hazel-Dawn Dumpert:
“Chaiken’s feature debut is an elegiac tribute to the passage of womanhood from carefree self-rule to rigorous baby love… she has an excellent feel for the grace notes of real life, the sacredness of female friendship, and the precarious balance between love for oneself and for others.”

INDIEWIRE – Anthony Kaufman:
“…Ilya Chaiken's "Margarita Happy Hour" is probably the best film to come out of New York's East Village filmmaking community… [Larry] Fessenden delivering a genuine performance… Eleanor Hutchins gives a complexity and beauty to the film's protagonist, Zelda, a young mother growing out of her bohemian surroundings.”

FILMMAKER MAGAZINE – Rolf Gibbs
Fest Circuit – LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
"... Ilya Chaiken’s MARGARITA HAPPY HOUR and Denis Villeneuve’s MAELSTROM stood out as two of the fest’s strongest films."

FILM FESTIVAL REPORTER – Rick Hamner
SUNDANCE 2001
“Most promising debut of the festival was Ilya Chaiken’s MARGARITA HAPPY HOUR. Centered by a rigorously honest performance from Eleanor Hutchins... Chaiken gives us a fearlessly unsentimental look at the world around her… and it marks the emergence of a director with soul enough to stay true and heart enough to go the distance. Only a fool should ask for anything more.”

FILMCRITIC.COM – Jeremiah Kipp
4 Stars
"MARGARITA HAPPY HOUR is a rarity in movies – as though the narrative has begun long before the opening reel and will continue after the closing credits end. A full world has been presented onscreen… how many times do you watch a movie feeling like the characters actually had lives outside of the screenplay?”

NEWSDAY - John Anderson
3 Stars
"Smart, funny, knowing and well- acted... Altmanesque coordination of the various strands of dialogue generated during happy hour is brilliant... refreshingly honest and entertaining... plenty of humor... Hutchins gives a thoroughly convincing performance as Zelda... Fessenden does a terrific job of making Max both sympathetic and a rank reprobate... a terrific Holly Ramos... entirely engaging and true."

NEW YORK POST -  Megan Turner
3 Stars
"Cheers to a truly authentic indie! ...assured feature debut... a tough-love look at the lives of five hipster women... Hutchins is a bright new talent... a lively cast imbues Brooklyn's underground art scene with veracity and vitality... a joyful celebration of female friendship and an unusually honest look at newly responsible young women."

TV GUIDE  - Maitland McDonagh
3 and a half stars
"sharply observed- darkly comic drama- on target... Fessenden's Max is a complex tangle of contradictory impulses... a small, poignant gem!"

NEW YORK TIMES - Dave Kehr
"Chaiken's "Margarita Happy Hour" is an independent feature with sure sociological instincts... one substratum of New York society that has not previously been documented... an evocative, accurate observation of a distinctive milieu... lively, convincing dialogue.

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