Imprint Reviews: To Leslie


Imprint Staff watched To Leslie (2022) at the Princess Twin Cinemas in Uptown Waterloo. Keep reading to find out what we thought — and whether or not you might enjoy the film yourself. 

Synopsis: After winning the lottery, Texan single mother and alcoholic Leslie loses all her winnings. When offered the chance to begin her life anew, she must wrestle with the addiction that threatens to destroy her or dig herself deeper in the tunnel she’s buried in. 

Imprint rating scale: 

★ – Abysmal

★★ – Mediocre

★★★ – Good 

★★★★ – Excellent

★★★★★ – Perfect 


Eduardo Matzumiya, Head Copyeditor

Star Rating: ½ star

Would recommend: No

Fell asleep twice while watching this in the theatre.

Spending one-and-a-half hours watching someone continuously make terrible decisions only to be granted a half-baked redemption arc in the last 20 minutes of the film makes for a lousy viewing experience. Especially when the film moves at a glacial pace and in the most predictable manner possible, making that hour-and-a-half feel more like three. Watching this genuinely felt like my time was being wasted.

The main character proves untrustworthy from the get-go and has self-destructive tendencies, but she gets a happy ending regardless. This film encompasses the absolute worst traits of Oscar bait.

Charlie Dickson, Opinions Editor 

Star Rating: ★★★★

Would recommend: Yes

It is a certain type of horror watching someone, whom you may love, hate, or even have no feelings towards whatsoever, take actions that they themselves have seemingly no control over, to their own detriment, hurting those around them in the process. To Leslie is a deeply emotional story about trauma; about love, or lack thereof; about forgiveness; and most of all, about addiction. Leslie’s alcoholism has destroyed her life, and this movie is a two-hour glimpse into the consequences of that. Most elements of the movie were well-done, keeping me engaged and involved with the characters, though anxiously so. The only critique I would offer is regarding the end — an unrealistic fairy tale ending with little to no explanation as to why her situation has drastically improved, a very different tone than the rest of the film. Overall, however, it was heartbreaking, exactly the intention of the filmmaker I believe. 

Nadia Khan, Arts & Life Editor 

Star Rating: ★★

Would recommend: No

In between long sequences of Leslie staring out blankly from behind brightly-lit bars and breathlessly whispering lines like, “I need to know I’m good,” many of the film’s attempts at portraying addiction fall flat due to a glaring lack of subtlety. Andrea Riseborough and scene-stealer Marc Maron, the latter of whom plays the ever-patient Sweeney, do the best they can with the uneven script they’re given. They offer rare moments that are heart-wrenching without being hackneyed. Ultimately though, there’s just not much saving that can be done when an unnecessary romance and deus ex machina appear in typical Hollywood fashion. 

It’s a real shame. To Leslie started off as a film that could’ve been something special — but instead, it became saccharine. 

Abhiraj Lamba, Managing Editor 

Star Rating: ★★.5

Would recommend? Probably not

To Leslie has a fairly weak screenplay, which is compensated for by strong direction and stronger acting performances. However, there is only so much the director and actors can do when the basic building blocks lack structural integrity. To Leslie failed to adhere to the most elementary rule of writing: “Show, don’t tell.” While the basic story itself had potential, the movie, as a whole, was rife with unexplained and often unnecessary plot points — the worst example of which was a romantic subplot that added nothing to the story except cheapening what was perhaps the protagonist’s most consequential relationship in the film. Surprise Oscar nominee Andrea Riseborough’s performance was the best thing about this film. Riseborough brought the rather one-dimensionally written character of Leslie to life and gave the character some much needed nuance, through her surprisingly convincing delivery of otherwise unconvincing dialogue, as well as by bringing an additional layer to the character through body language alone. Marc Maron, in his supporting role as Sweeney, really brought some main character energy to the show. Without a firm foundation, the film struggled to find itself, but director Michael Morris managed to somewhat salvage it.