“I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking),” the feature film debut from directors Kelley Kali and Angelique Molina, is a timely pandemic-era story that illuminates the reality facing many people. Deciding to focus their storytelling on two females gives the film a deeper emotional weightiness that turns a very simple premise into something more complex. It’s a story of tenacity, love, and strength that’s both sad yet extremely hopeful.
Recently widowed Danny (Kali) has been left with little money and has been living with her young daughter Wes (Wesley Moss) in a tent on the side of the road. Danny has been able to explain away their situation by saying they’ve been camping for fun, but realizes Wes needs more stability. Only $200 shy of a deposit needed to secure a small apartment, she spends one frantic day roller skating around Los Angeles trying to collect the cash. A series of mishaps await, but the determined mother never gives up.
Danny is a very sympathetic character, a strong woman who is trying so hard to make ends meet and striving to provide a better life for her 8-year-old daughter. You can feel her desperation and exhaustion due to a very bad situation, and Kali is terrific at portraying the struggle of those who have been left houseless as a result of the COVID pandemic. There’s a real sense of what it must be like to fight so hard for every dollar and the reality of getting caught in a vicious cycle as Danny cruises around the city braiding hair and delivering food for cash. With no car, no food, and no home, things look bleak.
But this isn’t a depressing film: it’s actually uplifting. The comedic moments add a bit of levity, and the supporting cast provide a genuine L.A. slice-of-life with characters that feel very familiar. The screenplay (by Kali, Molina, and Roma Kong) is the film’s greatest strength, with honest dialogue and situations that almost make it feel like a documentary.
“I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking)” is one of those micro-budget movies that has a lot to say, and says it well. It’s an inspiring story of a woman who never gives up, even when life constantly throws obstacles in her way.
By: Louisa Moore