Amber Sealey’s Out of My Mind had a Sundance Film Festival audience feeling all the feels Friday as the Disney+ title had its world premiere at the Library Center Theatre.
The film casts first-time performer Phoebe-Ray Taylor as Melody Brooks, a sixth grader navigating school as a nonverbal wheelchair user with cerebral palsy. With the help of assistive technology and her devoted allies, Melody shows that what she has to say is more important than how she says it in a fight to be put in a mainstream classroom.
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Taylor stars alongside Luke Kirby, Rosemarie DeWitt, Judith Light, Michael Chernus, Courtney Taylor and others. Jennifer Aniston, who offers her voiceover talents through narration, took to Instagram Stories to praise the film on the occasion of its world premiere. (Aniston was not present in Park City but her history with Sundance dates back to The Good Girl and Friends with Money.) “I am so proud to be a part of Out of My Mind,” she shared. “This is such a special film.”
Audiences agreed, greeting Sealey’s film with two standing ovations, one attendee tells The Hollywood Reporter. Another took to X (formerly Twitter) to share, “We were all wrecked!! Laughing and crying. What a film. What a movie.”
— Tony Gapastione 🎥 (@tonygapastione) January 19, 2024
Out of My Mind is a Disney original movie, a Big Beach and Participant Production in association with Everywhere Studios. Sealey comes to the project after having directed No Man of God, No Light and No Land Anywhere, How to Cheat, A Plus D and the short How Does It Start, the latter of which premiered at Sundance in 2019. Her Out of My Mind team includes screenwriter Daniel Stiepleman, who adapted from a novel by Sharon M. Draper, producers Peter Saraf, Robert Kessel, Dan Angel and Michael B. Clark, and executive producers Eddie Rubin, Alex Turtletaub, Brian Gott, David Calvert Jones, Tom Mazza, Leah Holzer and Jeff Skoll of Participant, which had a role in financing the film. Music superstar Linda Perry handled the score.
Sundance debuted the film as part of its family matinee program and the official selection entry states, “Director Amber Sealey crafts a world around Melody that is all too familiar; at once full of love, fun, and opportunity, yet systemically unfair to those who are different. Actor Phoebe-Rae Taylor, who similarly lives with cerebral palsy, embodies Melody from a place of authenticity and heart.”
Disney+ will release Out of My Mind later this year.
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