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Ham on Rye review – subversive satire on suburban conformity

There’s a whole other layer beneath first-time director Tyler Taormina’s apparently realist coming-of-age drama

First-time feature director Tyler Taormina has dreamed his way into a very strange and intriguing film: a Gen-Z reverie about life and fate, somewhere between The Prom and The Purge. The film never behaves as if it is anything other than a realist coming-of-age drama but there is something else going on.

Haley (Haley Bodell) is part of a clique of popular high-school kids in a bland suburban town who are preparing to take part in a local tradition. She and some other girls are wearing floaty dresses of sacrificial white and getting ready to go down to a local deli called Monty’s – along with a whole crowd of other kids – for what seems to be a pairing-off ritual, like a dance without music or dancing. But there is a lot riding on this, and Haley can’t persuade herself that she wants to join in.

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