In order for “Let’s Make a Movie” to be half as good as it is, it really had to cast the right performer for the character of Cassie Thompson, and director Elana A. Mudgan accomplishes that task with Hallie York. Granted, “Let’s Make a Movie” is a really good and entertaining dramedy about the obstacles of filmmaking, but Hallie York really is the heart and soul of the film. On surface level, York doesn’t seem like a polished actress, but York really manages to carry the film with her portrayal of the troubled and conflicted young Cassie, who is struggling to find a direction in her life. Badgered by her parents to find something useful to do with her life, Cassie quits her job to work on an indie film that she is convinced will grant her success as a film director.
What makes Cassie such an interesting protagonist is that deep down she is a very flawed individual who the viewer can watch without disliking at any time. Realistically her path to Hollywood success will be long and arduous but she’s under the impression that directing one film will grant her instant success and fame. York is often fearless and funny in the role as Cassie Thompson, often spending much of the film trying to catch up with her impossible expectations with life, and dealing with a film crew of folks that are odd and difficult to work with. “Let’s Make a Movie” could have easily been a flat look at the problems behind the prospect of directing independent films.
However, thanks to the cast and Mudgan’s often clever writing, the film excels in being interesting and very entertaining. I was very interested in finding out what eventually would become of Cassie’s movie, in the end. And I was also interested to find out when she’d realize that making this film was a downhill battle considering most of her mistakes are apparent. Certain cast members give somewhat flat performances, but thankfully it never bogs the film down. I enjoyed the supporting performance from Omar Baig as the video game obsessed editor Zeke, as well as Jonathan Fernandez as Cassie’s friend and confidante throughout the course of the story.
The final half is a bit contrived with the turn of events involving character Cassie, but all things considered Mudgan saves it by setting the character Cassie back on an interesting course with an ending teeming with an interesting question mark for a character beginning their journey. Star Hallie York really has an every girl quality that helps her turn the character of Cassie in to someone we can root for, and in the end “Let’s Make a Movie” is a charming and entertaining indie film about making indie films. I had a lot of fun with it and I hope to see more from Elana A. Mudgan in the future.