Katie Says Goodbye
1h 28min | Drama | 7 June 2019 in select theaters
Synopsis: Katie (Olivia Cooke), a kindhearted 17-year-old waitress living in a malice-filled trailer park, sells her body to regulars in an attempt to help her self-centered mother and fulfill her dream of a better life elsewhere. When she falls in love, a heartbreaking chain of events will test her fortitude and determine her future.
Review: What first caught my eye about the emotional drama, KATIE SAYS GOODBYE, was that actress Olivia Cooke was attached to it. I have been a fan of Cooke’s since Me, Earle and the Dying Girl then she solidified me as a fan with her role as Emma on the Bates Motel series. Though Katie Says Goodbye was shot earlier than her most recent films this one truly shows the depth of talent Olivia has. The story rides squarely on her shoulders and she delivers the subject matter – which could have come across as salacious – with professional poise and dignity.
We first meet Katie (Olivia Cooke) as she is trying to comfort her good-for-nothing mother (Mireille Enos) in their trailer park home. This compassion and rosy demeanor is displayed by Katie throughout the entire film. If anyone had the excuse to be depressed and mad at the word it is her. She could sit around blaming everyone for the hand she has been dealt; using her circumstances as a scape-goat for bitterness and angst. But instead we see a character who finds joy in being joyful. She meets everyone with a kind word and a smile. She returns even the most hateful words with politeness and respect. At first you think she has to be delusional – and maybe there is something there – but I believe she has resolved that life will get better if she stays positive.
At the core of the story is Katie’s decision to sell herself sexually to the regulars at the diner where she works in order to save up money to move to California. But even in these moments you see a young girl trying to find a means to an end. She is not crude or perverse. She handles these customers with the same professionalism as the ones in the diner ordering coffee. It is impossible to judge her. You feel for her for sure but it is with the same caring and compassion that extends to others. When she falls in love with a new resident with a troubled past she is willing to give all that up for him. But life slowly engulfs her and begins to unravel.
The supporting cast in this film rally around Cooke and deliver roles that allow her to move and breath in her character. Along with Enos the film boasts Mary Steenburgen, Jim Belushi, and Christopher Abbott. It is unrated but certainly for mature audiences due to adult themes, language, and brief nudity. KATIE SAYS GOODBYE is wonderfully written and directed by Wayne Roberts who gives us a film that is touching and heartbreaking. Yet it also shows that even though life can suck the life out of you how you respond to your situation is totally up to you.