SXSW 2023 review: Dillon Tucker’s ‘PURE O’ makes the invisible visible.


Cooper is a screenwriter/musician who also works as a rehab counselor. Recently diagnosed with a form of OCD, he must navigate his new engagement, an ailing loved one, his clients, and his unpredictable compulsions. Writer-director Dillon Tucker‘s semi-autobiographical SXSW 2023 film PURE O makes the invisible disability visible.

PURE O focuses on the importance of support. We watch Copper surround himself with others in the same position. But the film also delivers unfiltered conversations between lovers. They are messy and real. Anyone in a grownup relationship has said or heard those words. It’s not sugar-coated, and I appreciate that.

Hope Lauren, as Emily, is a fun, down-to-earth, supportive partner. Her vulnerability with Dorr makes for a sweet pair. She handles Emily’s loaded circumstances like a pro. Her singing voice is also delicious. Daniel Dorr is charming as Cooper. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He is unafraid to leave it all onscreen. That is what this role demands. His chemistry with Lauren is perfect. They are genuinely cute together.

I’m on the cusp of Gen X and millennials, but I’ll be damned if you label me the latter. I am fully aware that I grew up with an undiagnosed anxiety disorder. For as long as I can remember, my irrational fears and body-shaking anxiety has hindered parts of my life. Motherhood exacerbated everything, which I hear is “normal.” Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed I do nothing. I am frozen. I have to say I am the only one in my family not in therapy or on meds. Someday I think they might help. On other days I’m weirdly proud I’m “managing” without either. That is a symptom of my upbringing. PURE O resonated with me on a level I never expected. Certain scenes, particularly the immersion therapy session, elevated my heart rate and made me squirm immediately.

Dillon Tucker’s original songs are fantastic. Tight handheld closeups place the viewer in the manic mindset of Cooper. The intersection of rehab counseling and Cooper’s therapy sessions proves intriguing and complicated. This device is necessary to see the work in action and appreciate the nuance of addiction and mental health. It also calls attention to others’ perceptions of us. The intense scene between Cooper and aggressive patient Brandon illustrates the importance of making invisible disabilities visible. Sure, with an almost two-hour runtime, PURE O may benefit from a few cuts. But Tucker’s storytelling curveballs create an undeniably compelling narrative. PURE O gives those of us living in quiet anguish a loud voice.

Film Screenings

Mar 13, 2023
Mar 15, 2023
Mar 16, 2023



Dillon Tucker

Executive Producer:

Jay Burnley, Stephan Paternot, Jeremy Walton & David Lyons


Ricky Fosheim, Dillon Tucker, Ray Lee


Dillon Tucker


Ricky Fosheim


Dillon Tucker

Sound Designer:

Nick Jimenez


Dillon Tucker

Principal Cast:

Daniel Dorr, Hope Lauren, Landry Bender, Jeffery A. Baker, Candice Renee, Breon Gorman, Tim Landfield, Isaac Nippert, Devon Martinez, Clint James

Additional Credits:

Additional Music: Caleb Veazy, Sound Mixer: Harry Goldstein, Sound Mixer: Steve William Gonzalez, Sound Mixer: Andres Guerra, Sound Mixer: Donavyn Suffel, B Camera Operator: Bryon Morse, B Camera Operator: David Rivera, Production Assistant: Andrew Fosheim, Production Assistant: Andres Tovar, Production Assistant: Vera Weber

Review: ‘Elizabeth Blue’ is Gold!

Elizabeth Blue

Theatrical Release: September 22, 2017

Guest review from Reel Reviews Over Brews

Recently released from a psychiatric hospital, Elizabeth (Anna Schafer) returns to her Los Angeles apartment where she lives with her fiancé, Grant (Ryan Vincent). With the guidance of her new psychiatrist, Dr. Bowman (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and the unfaltering support of Grant, Elizabeth works at regaining control of her mental stability and her life as she begins to plan their wedding. Struggling to navigate daily voices, hallucinations, anxiety, failing medications and her judgmental, unsupportive mother, Carol (Kathleen Quinlan), Elizabeth fears that Grant will leave her as she clings to hope that love will truly conquer all – even mental illness.

Wow… Give Elizabeth Blue all the awards. For Vincent Sabella’s first film, he absolutely nailed it! Mental illness is no joke and Elizabeth Blue shows you that. This is an intimate look into struggling with a mental illness like never seen before. We always see/hear stories about people not taking their medications because they “feel fine and healthy” and this brings us face to face with that struggle through the eyes of Elizabeth. It was very powerful and left us moved by the performances. Anna Schafer as Elizabeth was excellent! She had us completely caught up in her story and her struggle with schizophrenia and OCD. This movie will definitely put her on the map. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Kathleen Quinlan were also great in their selective roles! Everyone knows someone who is, or is themselves, affected by mental illness so this movie will impact everyone in a different way. There are a few scenes we felt could have been cleaned up a bit because they were dragging on, but all in all, that is just nit picking for complaints. It is a must see for everyone. Our jaws are still on the ground! Elizabeth Blue is GOLD!

*Anyone can experience mental health problems. Friends and family can make all the difference in a person’s recovery process. If a friend or family member is showing signs of a mental health problem or reaching out to you for help, offer support.*

Reel ROB Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars

Post Credits Scene: No

We want to thank our friends at Reel News Daily for allowing us to do this guest review for them!