(director/writer: Christy Hall; cinematographer: Phedon Papamichael; editor: Lisa Zeno Churgin; music: Dickon Hinchliffe; cast: Dakota Johnson (Girlie), Sean Penn (Will Clark), Shannon Gannon (Driver), Marcos A. Gonzalez (Taxi Attendant); Runtime: 101; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Terry Dougas, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Ro Donnelly, Dakota Johnson, Christy Hall, Paris Kassidokoslas-Latsis; Rhea Films; 2023)

“An offbeat two-hander conversational pic, featuring a brilliant Sean Penn and a superb Dakota Johnson.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An offbeat two-hander conversational pic, featuring a brilliant low-key performance by Sean Penn and a superb under the radar one by Dakota Johnson. It’s wonderfully directed and written by the first-timer in feature films, the playwright, Christy Hall.

It’s set entirely in a New York City taxi at night, that’s in traffic gridlock (due to construction and a traffic accident on a NYC highway). The charming, veteran, opinionated cabbie, Will Clark (Sean Penn), takes his young woman passenger, a successful computer programmer, known only as girlie, (Dakota Johnson), to Manhattan after leaving the JFK airport.

On her cell phone, her married lover pleads for her to send him nude pics and visit him while his wife is away.

Girlie opens up and tells the receptive driver her traumatic secrets from the past that she wouldn’t ordinarily tell strangers.

One of the many topics they discuss is on sexual politics.

For the most part, the lengthy conversations seemed to have a natural flow and were unforced. The passenger is even complimented by the driver on how little she’s on the cell phone, which enables them to communicate.

It should be noted that most of the movie was shot in a studio.

It played at Telluride.