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‘Sam & Kate’ Review: It’s a Family Affair

Darren Le Gallo’s drama stars two real-life parent-child duos — Dustin and Jake Hoffman, and Sissy Spacek and Schuyler Fisk — as lonely small-towners looking for love.

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Jake Hoffman hugs Schuyler Fisk. Behind them are trees and a road.

By Devika Girish

“Sam & Kate” is the kind of film in which a car breakdown kindles a romance, fireworks provide the backdrop for a first kiss and a misplaced box (almost) ends a relationship.

It’s a story about serendipity, except the signs from the universe that drive Darren Le Gallo’s film, a drama about finding love after loss, feel a little too … plotted. Twists of fate lose their magic when they’re obvious as clumsy script contrivances.

If there’s a ring of truth to the film, it’s in the casting. The movie stars two real-life parent-child pairs: Dustin Hoffman and Jake Hoffman play a father-son duo, Bill and Sam, while Schuyler Fisk and Sissy Spacek appear as Kate and her mother, Tina. Sam is an aspiring artist who has returned to his hometown to take care of the ailing, cantankerous Bill; Kate, a bookstore owner, is grieving a personal tragedy (the details are revealed gradually) and trying to manage Tina’s hoarding problem.

Sam asks Kate out and is gently turned away, but — per the fantasies of many a spurned man — he persists, and she finally gives in.

Sam and Kate are such broad archetypes that it’s hard to feel the depth of their scars or the spark of their chemistry. The younger Hoffman’s messy hair and hangdog face do little to explain why, exactly, Sam is such a sad sack. The effervescent Fisk is mostly tasked with smiling sadly — until, of course, Sam draws Kate out of her shell with his supposed charms.

The parents, however, fill out their thin roles with an authentic melancholy that “Sam & Kate” struggles otherwise to muster. Underneath Bill’s orneriness and Tina’s neuroses, one glimpses two aging actors confronting their own mortality with touching candor.

Sam & Kate Rated R for crass language and some scenes of pot smoking. Running time: 1 hour 44 minutes. In theaters.

Sam & Kate Review: A Heartwarming Dramedy with a Standout Cast

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Sam & Kate is a new drama-comedy feature film from director Darren Le Gallo that stars Jake Hoffman ( The Wolf of Wall Street ), Schuyler Fisk ( Castle Rock ), Dustin Hoffman ( The Graduate , Rain Man ), Sissy Spacek ( Carrie ), and Henry Thomas ( E.T. the Extraterrestrial , The Haunting of Hill House ). The film follows father-and-son duo Sam and Bill (played by the Hoffmans), who live together and have a close relationship that often has them both stuck in their own ways, even as Sam takes care of Bill through a myriad of health issues. In an accidental meeting, the two come upon Kate (Fisk) and Tina (Spacek), a mother and daughter who are also sessile in their own lives. Through new friendships, the four find themselves learning new paths in their lives, and unlocking emotions that have been tucked away for years.

The film premiered at the Austin Film Festival earlier this year, and releases on November 11th, 2022, in select theaters.

A "Family" Film

Sam-and-Kate-1

One of the shining areas of Sam & Kate comes from the incredible chemistry of its actors and performances. All the characters' emotions feel real, which makes sense due to the fact that not only are Bill and Sam played by real-life father and son, Dustin and Jake Hoffman , but Kate and Tina, the love interests of Bill and Sam, are played by real-life mother and daughter, Sissy Spacek and Schuyler Fisk. The latter two have acted together before, as Fisk played the younger version of Spacek in Hulu's Castle Rock .

The back-and-forth banter is real; the tears are genuine, and the hugs pull on the heartstrings, as the two duos are able to put their real love for their parents and children on screen. Fisk and Jake Hoffman are especially memorable, being handed the torches by two legendary actors, and keeping the audience focused on their story. Both actors have their own emotionally raw and incredible moments that are burned into the audience's brains well after the film ends.

Related: Dustin Hoffman Joins Star-Studded Cast of Francis Ford Coppola's Megalopolis

The Old Guard Still Has It

Sam and Kate (2)

Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek may not be the popular names they once were in Hollywood, but Hoffman is a seven-time Academy Award nominee , and a two-time winner for Best Actor ( Rain Man and Kramer vs. Kramer ), while Spacek is a six-time nominee, and won for Best Actress ( Coal Miner's Daughter ). Even well into their 70s and 80s, the two deliver powerhouse performances in Sam & Kate . Hoffman is still able to seamlessly weave between the dramatic and the comedic, making Bill both extremely lovable, while still capturing the frigid sadness of an aging man trying to find meaning after the death of his spouse. Spacek is still able to unlock the laid-back, yet instantly serious calm that she's presented throughout her 50+ year career. Both actors play off of one another brilliantly, making the audience wish they'd seen the duo team-up in their acting primes. Regardless, Hoffman and Spacek are iconic, and they still continue to do phenomenal work.

From Grief Comes Forward Progress

Sam and Kate

The story of Sam & Kate covers many different areas on the spectrum of sadness and grief. Bill, having previously lost his wife, is stuck in his ways, and reluctant to venture into anything new, while simultaneously belittling his son for doing the same. Sam is affected in a completely different way, as his sense of purposelessness and self-loathing have kept him from becoming who and what he truly wants to be. Kate is still recovering from a devastating loss in her life, and a reluctance to move forward, and Tina suffers from a mixture of disability and pride, not allowing herself to be helped by anyone. The four characters show that while bad things can and do happen, sometimes it takes the right connection with the right person to move forward out of a rut. It's an important lesson to remember for everyone, and the film does a great job of reminding us of that.

Related: The Best Acting Performances in Horror Movies, Ranked

A Nice Comedy Balance

Sam and Kate

Although the film is marketed as a comedy, it's mostly an emotionally-driven drama. However, there are a lot of fantastic comedic moments that help offset the rough moments in the film, mostly at the hands of Dustin Hoffman's character, Bill. Obviously, Bill has been through his share of traumatic experiences, but there are many times when his wittiness and humor shine through to carry the moment into the light, particularly in the back-and-forth chatter with his son. People often forget that Hoffman does extremely well in comedic films and that he shined in Hook , Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, Meet the Fockers , and as Master Shifu in the Kung Fu Panda franchise .

Henry Thomas also does a great job of bringing some humor to the film. Thomas portrays Sam's best friend, Ron, who works with Sam, and encourages him to take the needed steps to fulfill himself. It's nice to see Thomas in a more light-hearted role, especially after his run in several of Mike Flanagan's horror shows , like Midnight Mass and the upcoming The Fall of the House of Usher .

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Sam & Kate Reviews

sam & kate movie reviews

Sam and Kate is a deeply unassuming dramedy that offers no great revelations about the human condition, but doesn’t intend to. It’s lightly poignant fodder made for adult viewers weary of spectacle

Full Review | Aug 11, 2023

As you'd expect from generations of Hollywood royalty, it's beautifully acted throughout.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5 | Apr 18, 2023

sam & kate movie reviews

Dull conversations and lackluster scenes prevent Sam & Kate from being the great romantic dramedy that it wants to be. The acting is admirable though, and the film's best moments make up for any flaws. The movie is better at depicting grief than romance.

Full Review | Dec 7, 2022

This is pretty good. I would say the casting is a trick, but it's a natural.

Full Review | Nov 30, 2022

sam & kate movie reviews

Parents and kids working together adds to an overall sense of niceness that suffuses Sam and Kate as its characters sort through challenges many people face in an ordinary world.

No one wears a cape, but all four of these people, says LeGallo, who wrote the script, are heroes. They’ve survived to this point overcoming personal obstacles. Now fate brings them together and it’s not as obvious as you might think.

Full Review | Nov 22, 2022

sam & kate movie reviews

Two generations of talent provide the warmth and charm for this enjoyable romantic comedy.

Full Review | Original Score: 7/10 | Nov 18, 2022

sam & kate movie reviews

There’s a sweetness to the story that doesn’t overwhelm but there’s also more than a couple of narrative contrivances that simply don’t ring true.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4.0 | Nov 16, 2022

sam & kate movie reviews

The storyline may make it a fine choice for adult children to watch with their parents or grandparents, but there's not much here to entertain teens.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5 | Nov 15, 2022

It’s good to see a couple of family members working so closely together and it’s nice to see that such great actors as Hoffman and Spacek have inspired their children.

Full Review | Nov 15, 2022

sam & kate movie reviews

There's nothing terribly original going on here, but writer-director Darren Le Gallo and his ace cast infuse the film with the charm of a comfy armchair by a cracking fireplace.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5 | Nov 15, 2022

sam & kate movie reviews

Hoffman, Spacek (and their kids) enliven sweet, but slight, generational romance.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4 | Nov 14, 2022

sam & kate movie reviews

Dustin Hoffman & Sissy Spacek unfortunately are not playing the title characters. Their instant, natural chemistry cannot be replicated by their real-life children whose roles are too awkwardly distant to survive a shift into a hoarder storyline.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4 | Nov 14, 2022

sam & kate movie reviews

Predictable, mawkish and shallow relationship feel-good family drama.

Full Review | Original Score: C+ | Nov 14, 2022

sam & kate movie reviews

“Sam & Kate” may be the cinematic equivalent of comfort food, but there’s a reason people seek out comfort food – it makes them feel good, and “Sam & Kate” sure will make you feel good.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5 | Nov 12, 2022

sam & kate movie reviews

Better with the in-between moments...When the chaacters are just interacting quietly they convey a great deal and the events interrupt the delicacy of those scenes.

Full Review | Original Score: B | Nov 11, 2022

... doesn’t give the parallel courtships much depth or complexity, although there are snippets where all four actors shine, particularly in its portrayal of seniors finding love.

Full Review | Nov 11, 2022

sam & kate movie reviews

In naming the film Sam & Kate instead of Bill & Tina, Le Gallo seems to have been trying to pass the baton from one generation to the next, but he forgot to come up with a good story in the process.

sam & kate movie reviews

Mother and daughter Sissy Spacek and Schuyler Fisk are mother and daughter opposite Dustin Hoffman and Jake Hoffman. Perfs are solid and while a bit dour, the film offers gentle respite from the noise of provocative, demanding awards season entries.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4 | Nov 11, 2022

sam & kate movie reviews

These lessons are all fine and good, but it takes well over an hour into the 110-minute run time for “Sam & Kate” to reveal any conflict worth paying attention to.

‘Sam & Kate' Review: Dustin Hoffman & Sissy Spacek's Kids Steal The Spotlight From Their Parents in Excellent Drama

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There are so many movies about love. There are so many movies about grief. These two subjects lend themselves to stories quite well because at some point, whether we like it or not, we all will experience these things. Not only are love and loss universal themes, but they are also malleable, bending and twisting to our unique circumstances. Hollywood has a habit of romanticizing love and loss, favoring drama over authenticity. Sam & Kate , however, isn’t like other films. This delightful breath of fresh air evades certain tropes, leans into others, and exceeds expectations.

While everything harmonizes in this movie, with an honest script, sharp direction, and dynamic characters, the casting is what makes it really sing. Darren Le Gallo ’s feature directorial debut follows the intermingling of two dysfunctional parent-child relationships. Bill ( Dustin Hoffman ) is an easily irritated but mostly caring older man who is frustrated with his current circumstances. His heart troubles and overall habits (smoking, eating, drinking) are putting his already poor health at an even greater risk, and his adult son Sam (brilliantly played by his real-life son Jake Hoffman ) has moved back in with him to keep a closer watch on his old man.

Sam isn’t exactly thrilled to be back home in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the country. When he’s not taking his dad to the doctor, he’s working his shift at the chocolate factory and working on his impressive sketches that never see the light of day. This father-son dynamic is quite endearing (Sam calls his father “Bill” per his dad’s request) and their bond is further cemented by the shared trauma of losing a wife and mother to cancer. Despite their frequent bumping of heads when Sam tries to sneak any form of nutrition into Bill’s diet (don’t tell him it’s tofu bacon) and Bill’s constant comments about Sam’s future, it’s clear the pair cares deeply for each other.

sam and kate jake hoffman schuyler fisk

RELATED: 'Sam & Kate' Trailer: Dustin Hoffman & Sissy Spacek Team Up With Their Real Children for Cozy Rom-Com

We meet the other half of the film’s title when Sam walks past a local antique bookstore. In the window is Kate ( Schuyler Fisk ), the girl-next-door-type owner who likes to focus her attention on anything but herself. Though Sam initially lets his self-doubt get the better of him and walks past the entrance, he backpedals and enters the store. Their meet-cute—which Sam did his best to organically orchestrate—drips with chemistry while also remaining incredibly realistic. What’s refreshing and charming is how upfront both are right away. “I was wondering if I could call you, we could hang out?” Sam says with a hesitant smile after speaking to Kate for under five minutes. “I’m not really dating right now,” Kate says after a beat, to which Sam replies, “That’s perfect, because I’m not dating anyone right now.” Though this elicits a smile from Kate, it’s ultimately no dice for Sam. Kate isn’t playing “hard to get” to create a sense of intrigue or mystery, but is rather working through some of her own trauma that is delicately revealed later in the film. Given these two characters are the title of the movie, it’s safe to assume that they would be crossing paths again.

Sam & Kate doesn’t lean too much into stereotypical rom-com moments, but the times it does, it works. And let’s be clear: this is not a romantic comedy. It's less of a “love” story and more of a “life” story that happens to feature budding romances that come about when you both least expect it and most need it. Chance encounters are a common occurrence in this film, which is convenient from a storytelling perspective, but thanks to Le Gallo's beautifully curated world and genuine care for his characters, these run-ins flow very well. After Christmas Eve mass, Bill prepares to confront the driver who took his usual parking spot, only to learn that it’s Tina ( Sissy Spacek ), a woman who used to sing in the choir. It just so happens that Tina is accompanied by her daughter, Kate, which leads to a delightfully awkward reunion between the titular pair and kicks the narrative into gear. Spacek is also Schuyler’s mother in real life, and, similar to the Hoffmans, their effortless rapport is simply a joy to watch.

Sparks fly for Tina and Bill, though both are reluctant to light the fire. They are angry and scared at their loss of control in life and get irrationally possessive and frustrated over benign things. Bill, for example, doesn’t understand why it was decided that red lights mean “stop” and green means “go,” much to Sam’s exhaustion. Tina and Bill often take their grievances out on their children who are simply trying to help. Tina is a hoarder (or as she prefers to be called, a “collector”), and Bill feels suffocated by his health changes. Though it’s hard, both are able to let go of their pent-up stresses when they are together, making for beautiful moments of connection. It’s on a candlelit date where we learn a bit more about Bill and Tina’s past and hear them speak sweetly about their children. Spacek and Hoffman speak with hesitation, almost guilty for enjoying the moment. It even takes Tina to say, “Let’s just not worry about anything for a minute,” for the pair to really enjoy the moment.

sam-and-kate-dustin-hoffman-jake-hoffman

While the Hollywood legends don’t disappoint, it’s their children who steal the spotlight. Being able to hold your own in—let alone carry — a movie alongside those heavyweights is no easy feat, but it’s especially impressive considering Schuyler and Jake are not household names. Their one-on-one interactions, almost always initiated by Sam, are unabashedly vulnerable and deep without at all feeling contrived. It doesn’t feel like you are watching a movie but rather eavesdropping on their coffee date. Or as Sam so smoothly puts it to a skeptical Kate, “Not a date, just a friendly chat with caffeine.” Le Gallo’s dialogue for Sam and Kate is genuine, playful, and consistently captivating, and Jake and Schuyler do it justice. The authenticity spills from their mouths, complete with all the necessary pauses and mannerisms to demonstrate that they are getting increasingly comfortable with the other.

These intimate interactions serve as a respite from life’s at-times mundane reality. Sam is fed up with his job at the chocolate factory picking out the “imperfect” candies with his eccentric buddy Ron (hilariously played by E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 's Henry Thomas , who also wrote and performed certain songs on the soundtrack). Kate, though she owns the quaint yet successful bookstore, still feels something is missing. It isn’t until they take charge of their unique narratives that their lives start to mold into the ones they deserved all along.

Sam & Kate reminds us that life is unpredictable in the best and worst of ways, and that you shouldn't wait to pursue who or what you are passionate about.

Sam & Kate is now playing in theaters.

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Sam & kate, common sense media reviewers.

sam & kate movie reviews

Pot-positive drama about family isn't intended for teens.

Sam & Kate Movie Poster

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Themes of loving family members despite their flaw

Both title characters are adults who are taking ca

All main characters are White (some are Jewish), t

Plot is about two developing romances, and there's

Strong language includes "a--holes," "damn," "dumb

A can of Budweiser is shown with half of the label

All of the characters smoke, whether it be cigars,

Parents need to know that Sam & Kate is a dramedy starring father-son pair Dustin and Jake Hoffman and mother-daughter duo Sissy Spacek and Schuyler Fisk. The storyline follows two adult children who are taking care of their aging parents, with both the older characters and the younger ones pursuing…

Positive Messages

Themes of loving family members despite their flaws and getting a second chance at love.

Positive Role Models

Both title characters are adults who are taking care of their aging parents; they treat them with kindness, empathy, and compassion, despite each parent's frustrating behaviors.

Diverse Representations

All main characters are White (some are Jewish), though there's a close interracial friendship. A man is shown to be vulnerable, sweet, caring. Female business owner. Romance between senior citizens. One character is dealing with a mental behavior disorder and gets support.

Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.

Sex, Romance & Nudity

Plot is about two developing romances, and there's kissing, hand-holding, and dancing. Sex is implied by seeing a couple in bed together after the fact, as well as a verbal reference. Sexual euphemisms expressed with harshness between characters.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.

Strong language includes "a--holes," "damn," "dumbass," "hell," "s--t," "f--k." Sexual slang, used to shame a man. Also "jerk," "idiot," "schmuck."

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.

Products & Purchases

A can of Budweiser is shown with half of the label visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

All of the characters smoke, whether it be cigars, pot, or cigarettes. Marijuana is shown in an overwhelmingly positive light, with 2/3 of the characters smoking it and talking about or visually demonstrating the benefits. Characters drink wine and beer, including at a bar.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Sam & Kate is a dramedy starring father-son pair Dustin and Jake Hoffman and mother-daughter duo Sissy Spacek and Schuyler Fisk . The storyline follows two adult children who are taking care of their aging parents, with both the older characters and the younger ones pursuing romances. Expect flirting, dating, kissing, and implied sex (characters are shown in bed together after the fact). All of the characters smoke, whether it's cigars, pot, or cigarettes. The pot use in particular is presented very positively. Counter-stereotypical portrayals include a man who's sensitive, caring, and emotional. The film also offers a compassionate look at a mental behavior disorder. And it addresses loss, including the loss of a child. There's some swearing and insult language ("a--holes," "f--k," etc.), as well as sexual slang. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails .

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What's the Story?

When SAM & KATE initially meet, they don't realize how much they have in common. Both are the sole caretakers of their aging parents, Bill ( Dustin Hoffman ) and Tina ( Sissy Spacek ). When Bill and Tina start pursuing a romantic relationship, it pulls Sam ( Jake Hoffman ) and Kate ( Schuyler Fisk ) together, too.

Is It Any Good?

On its face, this is a sweet romance about a couple of 40ish adults trying to live their lives while managing difficult parents who are getting toward the end of theirs. But on another level, Sam & Kate feels like it has an agenda of promoting cannabis use among adults. One of viewers' first glimpses into the life of Sam, a fantastic character brought to life with gentle complexity by Jake Hoffman, is him schlepping through his menial job in a chocolate factory. We don't know much about his life prior to this, just that he was an artist who put his professional aspirations on hold to come back to his small hometown to care for his aging father. On break, he and his musician friend, Ron ( Henry Thomas ), smoke pot. His dad reprimands him for his pot use and, later, the fact that he's high does have a consequence -- but it's not emphasized. What is glowingly highlighted is two older women talking secretively about how marijuana offers benefits. And when one of them tries it, the sky parts and sunshine lights her face -- just a few puffs, and it seems she's healed of all that ails her.

Whether or not extolling pot use was writer-director Darren Le Gallo's intent is beside the point: Sam & Kate isn't really for kids. The storyline may make it a fine choice for adult children to watch with their parents or grandparents, but there's not much here to entertain teens. Adults may be tickled by seeing Dustin and Jake Hoffman playing father and son, and Spacek and Fisk playing mother and daughter. Those relationships, not to mention the actors' physical similarities, create a wonderful familiarity and authenticity. What's even more fun is that while, yes, of course, the Academy Award-winning actors give fantastic performances, their 40-year-old progeny are the ones you can't keep your eyes off of. Jake Hoffman and Fisk are both working actors, but Le Gallo really gives them their moment to shine here -- and they run with it. When they smile, it reaches into your soul and leaves you wanting to see more from these two talents.

Talk to Your Kids About ...

Families can talk about how Sam & Kate portrays smoking and drug use . Are they glamorized? Are there realistic consequences? Why does that matter?

Three acting families are involved in this film: the Hoffmans, the Spacek-Fisks, and writer-director Darren Le Gallo and his wife, Amy Adams , who executive-produces. When family members work together, do you see it negatively (i.e., as nepotism), or do you like seeing families working together? How do you think the familiarity affects the final product in Sam & Kate ?

Are Bill and Tina stereotypical love interests? What about Sam and Kate? Why or why not? Why is positive representation of all kinds important?

How do Sam and Kate treat their parents with empathy and compassion ? What's the difference between these two life skills, and why are they important?

Movie Details

  • In theaters : November 11, 2022
  • On DVD or streaming : February 1, 2023
  • Cast : Jake Hoffman , Schuyler Fisk , Dustin Hoffman , Sissy Spacek
  • Director : Darren Le Gallo
  • Inclusion Information : Female actors
  • Studio : Vertical Entertainment
  • Genre : Drama
  • Character Strengths : Compassion , Empathy
  • Run time : 110 minutes
  • MPAA rating : R
  • MPAA explanation : some drug use and language
  • Last updated : June 10, 2024

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

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‘Sam & Kate’ Review: Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek Family Project Disappoints

It’s fun to watch these legends play parents to their real-life offspring, but this rom-com offers little beyond that central gimmick

Sam & Kate

“Sam & Kate” is a family affair, which is essentially the entire conceit for the film’s existence. Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek play Bill and Tina, while Jake Hoffman and Schuyler Fisk (Spacek’s daughter with production designer Jack Fisk) play their respective kids, Sam and Kate. It’s the story of young adults and their challenging relationships with their quirky aging parents, fumbling toward a kind of grace in spite of their pasts.

The appeal of the film is its gimmick: watching two legendary actors who defined New Hollywood in the 1970s playing parents to their own children and the unique chemistry that comes from that. It also helps that the kids look a lot like their parents. 

But Hoffman and Fisk aren’t carbon copies of their parents, and neither have their careers. Both have been acting since childhood, but Hoffman has gone the indie route, having directed the feature “Asthma,” while also appearing in such films as “Wolf of Wall Street.” Fisk was somewhat of a Y2K ingenue, starring in “Snow Day” and “Orange County,” before pursuing a music career in the mid-aughts and slowly returning to acting in the past few years. 

Dustin Hoffman Francis Ford Coppola Megalopolis

It’s also a family affair behind the scenes, as “Sam & Kate” is the directorial debut of actor and painter Darren Le Gallo, who is married to Amy Adams, who serves as executive producer on the film. Le Gallo wrote and directed “Sam & Kate,” which has a low-key, understated energy, melancholy tone and languid pace, slowly, eventually, making its way to the point.

One has to wonder if Le Gallo’s idea for the film was to put these actors together with a few plot points (and an idea to incorporate Fisk’s musical talents) and then let them improvise the entire thing, because the script does not give the cast much to work with, and the internal structure of each scene feels flabby and disorganized. 

Crafted in a slightly different register (with more light, color and humor), this story could work as an easily digestible holiday movie (and frankly, that version sounds more fun). Sam has recently returned home to his small town, leaving behind a career in comic books, to care for his ornery father Bill. He works at a chocolate factory and otherwise gets stoned and sketches.

sam & kate movie reviews

On Christmas Eve, he spots Kate in the window of her bookshop and instantly falls hard; his awkward flirting doesn’t get him very far, but he and Bill always seem to be there when Kate and Tina are in a pinch, needing a ride home from church or offering to fix Kate’s car in exchange for a home-cooked meal. 

In one of those classic rom-com tropes, it seems like months pass, but it’s only New Year’s Eve by the time Sam ropes the cagey Kate into a roller-skating date (although the week between Christmas and New Years’ does seem longer than usual). Despite her mysterious hang-ups, Sam and Kate start a halting but sweet romance. Bill and Tina seem destined for the same outcome, enjoying a New Year’s dinner date, but Tina’s got secrets of her own, and Bill’s failing health and grief over losing his wife dooms the relationship before it starts. 

tootsie dustin hoffman

Part of the message of “Sam & Kate” deals with people learning to extricate themselves from their parent’s issues, which can be hard if you’re living with them or otherwise in close proximity. But not everything can be blamed on dear old mom and dad, and the second half of that lesson is getting over your own baggage in order to show up for the right person. 

These lessons are all fine and good, but it takes well over an hour into the 110-minute run time for “Sam & Kate” to reveal any conflict worth paying attention to. That first hour is a meandering mope fest of Sam asking for Kate’s number and getting turned down. But then we finally get to the interesting stuff, the treatment is simply bizarre. Music cues and camera movements tell us something is dark or foreboding, thematically, but what’s then revealed isn’t all that shocking, and the characters’ outsize reactions to those reveals make little sense.

It’s clear in the aesthetically and emotionally stripped-down “Sam & Kate” that Le Gallo is going for something that resonates as achingly human and authentic in his treatment of the challenges and obstacles that people face in everyday life, often through stoicism or shutting down. Fisk and Hoffman (the younger) make a fine pair on screen with a natural chemistry; it’s nice to see her back in a romantic leading role. You just wish the two had more substantive material to work with. In fact, the Hallmark holiday version of this film would likely have been more entertaining, or at least shorter. 

“Sam & Kate” opens in US theaters Nov. 11 via Vertical Releasing.

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Sam & Kate

Working seven years to get his feature writing and directorial debut Sam & Kate just right, Darren Le Gallo not only has created a touching and engaging family drama but he also as managed to cast a couple of famous acting families to pull it off in style. In addition to that, Le Gallo’s own wife, six-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams, adds to the familial aspect of the film by serving as one of a small village of executive producers involved in bringing it all to the screen.

sam & kate movie reviews

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The bonus here is seeing both of its stars’ accomplished offspring believably taking on the title roles and hitting it out of the park on their own merits. Although on the surface this might sound like gimmick casting, it turns out to be anything but that, with stirring turns by both Dustin’s son Jake Hoffman ( The Wolf of Wall Street, The Irishman ) and Spacek’s daughter Schuyler Fisk ( Orange County ). They drive the story of two older kids now dealing with the sometimes heartbreaking task of helping an elderly parent, while trying to put their own lives back together against all odds.

In a perhaps too convenient plot device, father and son Bill and Sam are brought to the rescue after Kate and mom Tina’s (Sissy Spacek) car ignition goes dead in the church parking lot after services all attended. This leads to a dinner invite and some unexpected sparks between Bill and Tina, even a tentative dance that doesn’t end well when Bill collapses after a few too many drinks. Meanwhile, come New Year’s Eve Sam convinces Kate to join him on a friends outing to the roller rink. Her resistance to his awkward pursuit starts cracking at the same time Bill works up the nerve to ask Tina to a restaurant date.

At this point the traumas of their past start colliding with the present, and the tone turns a bit dark with revelations that explain much — maybe too much. Fortunately, Le Gallo is blessed with this cast that knows how to play melodramatic situations with subtlety, even as it appears the emotional overload of it all could overwhelm the simple human story of one generation looking after another — and vice versa. Le Gallo knows it is that very human touch that is most important here, particularly in a touching sequence where Sam makes a huge mistake and accidentally misplaces a key memento of Kate’s.

This is the kind of film that it is best to just let unfold in front of you without too much information. It earns its tears (and a few laughs) honestly, and tells a story of family ties in an America that seems out of the past, but one that it is greatly missed.

Hoffman and Spacek are wonderful together, two pros still at the top of their game. The younger Hoffman, who looks remarkably like his father in his earlier years, sweetly plays Sam as an infectious but good-natured man wearing his heart and self-doubt on his sleeve. Fisk is just terrific here, and like her real-life mom seems incapable of a false note. She also is a talented musician, which becomes a key part of Kate’s own past, paying it off with a lovely rendition of an original song, “Life After,” that she also wrote. Among the supporting cast, Henry Thomas (yes, Elliot from E.T .) is fun as a guitar-strumming co-worker of Sam’s, and Elizabeth Becka makes the most of a few scenes as a church friend of Tina’s.

Vertical releases Sam & Kate in theaters on November 11. Check out my video review above with scenes from the film.

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sam & kate movie reviews

Movie Review: Oscar Winners Spacek and Hoffman — and their children — lift “Sam & Kate”

sam & kate movie reviews

Sweet, slow and unassuming, “Sam & Kate” is a romantic melodrama that came into being because two Oscar winners relished the chance to act on screen with their acting progeny. So whatever sparks Sissy Spacek and Dustin Hoffman set off in their scenes together are augmented by the pleasure of their kids playing the long-suffering offspring of two very different and sometimes difficult — downright prickly — elderly parents.

A small town in Georgia is the setting. How small? Well, somehow, the folks who might be the only resident Jews there have a church they’re not shy about attending, especially when Christmas programs roll around.

Hoffman plays Bill, a widowed curmudgeon inclined to stir up trouble, even from the seat of a store-provided scooter at their local home improvement warehouse.

“You don’t like me but I like YOU,” is his re-assurance that his kvetching and kvelling to the only employee on duty is all in good fun.

Jake Hoffman is long-suffering Sam, who is over 30, still lives with the old man, still works at the local candy factory and still takes weed brakes with his musician stoner pal (Henry Thomas ) and still has no direction in his life and no clue what to do when he first casts his eyes on the lovely bookstore owner with the long, auburn hair.

Kate ( Schulyer Fisk ) has an electric smile and a friendly manner, even when she’s shooting down this persistent not-really-a-customer who clumsily makes his desire for her phone number obvious.

“I’m not really dating right now.”

But that church, and that Christmas sermon and performance gives him another chance. Not exactly. Kate’s car won’t start, stranding her and her mom Tina (Spacek) after the service. Jake is quick…to let his mechanically-inclined dad take a look, and just as quick to let Dad suggest that they give the ladies a lift, as it’s not just a dead battery.

Thus begin two sort-of courtships, with bluff and temperamental Bill charmed by the ethereal Tina, and Sam wholly smitten with Tina’s daughter.

But you know how romances and rom-coms work, especially the ones labeled “melodramatic.” We need “obstacles.” Everybody has her or his “secret.” Everybody has “issues.” Some seem solvable, within the 110 minutes of this should-be-90-minute dramedy. Some won’t.

sam & kate movie reviews

The young couple gets most of the screen time here, even if their accomplished parents out-sizzle and outshine them, especially in the early going.

Hoffman the elder is amusingly brittle and snippy about his “talented” son. “Maybe some day he’ll do something with it.” Bill shrugs off doctor’s orders and knows his days are limited.

“I’m on GRAVY time!”

The father-son arguments here can seem contrived, but relatable. It’s the mother-daughter disagreements that ring truest, downright triggering. Their “secrets” are the bigger ones.

Thomas, the “E.T.” kid, leans into his supporting role and lays back in his line-readings, creating a fun “local character” in just a few scenes. If you’ve not followed the fact that he now sings and plays guitar, you’re in for a treat.

There are just enough of those treats in the painfully “out of your league, dude” attempted courtship of Sam and Kate, and in the sparkle of Spacek and the bite of Hoffman to make this sweet nothing of a movie worth your while.

The character arcs are predictable, and abruptly traversed at times in actor-turned writer-director Darren Le Gallo’s debut feature. Yes, he got lucky with his casting. Yes, few are likely to get that lucky a second time, in that regard.

But as long as their are little lives worth a little intense scrutiny, there’ll be indie films like “Sam & Kate,” pleasant diversions that give legendary stars the indulgence of a victory lap, this time with their kids along for the ride.

sam & kate movie reviews

Rating:  R for some drug use and (profanity).

Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Sissy Spacek, Schuyler Fisk, Jake Hoffman and Henry Thomas.

Credits: Scripted and directed by Darren Le Gallo. A Vertical release.

Running time: 1:50

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‘Sam & Kate’ Review: Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek Family Project Disappoints

  • Oops! Something went wrong. Please try again later. More content below

“Sam & Kate” is a family affair, which is essentially the entire conceit for the film’s existence. Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek play Bill and Tina, while Jake Hoffman and Schuyler Fisk (Spacek’s daughter with production designer Jack Fisk ) play their respective kids, Sam and Kate. It’s the story of young adults and their challenging relationships with their quirky aging parents, fumbling toward a kind of grace in spite of their pasts.

The appeal of the film is its gimmick: watching two legendary actors who defined New Hollywood in the 1970s playing parents to their own children and the unique chemistry that comes from that. It also helps that the kids look a lot like their parents.

But Hoffman and Fisk aren’t carbon copies of their parents, and neither have their careers. Both have been acting since childhood, but Hoffman has gone the indie route, having directed the feature “Asthma,” while also appearing in such films as “Wolf of Wall Street.” Fisk was somewhat of a Y2K ingenue, starring in “Snow Day” and “Orange County,” before pursuing a music career in the mid-aughts and slowly returning to acting in the past few years.

Also Read: Dustin Hoffman Joins Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Megalopolis’

It’s also a family affair behind the scenes, as “Sam & Kate” is the directorial debut of actor and painter Darren Le Gallo, who is married to Amy Adams, who serves as executive producer on the film. Le Gallo wrote and directed “Sam & Kate,” which has a low-key, understated energy, melancholy tone and languid pace, slowly, eventually, making its way to the point.

One has to wonder if Le Gallo’s idea for the film was to put these actors together with a few plot points (and an idea to incorporate Fisk’s musical talents) and then let them improvise the entire thing, because the script does not give the cast much to work with, and the internal structure of each scene feels flabby and disorganized.

Crafted in a slightly different register (with more light, color and humor), this story could work as an easily digestible holiday movie (and frankly, that version sounds more fun). Sam has recently returned home to his small town, leaving behind a career in comic books, to care for his ornery father Bill. He works at a chocolate factory and otherwise gets stoned and sketches.

Also Read: Rachael Leigh Cook and ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’ Cast Stage a Reunion (Photo)

On Christmas Eve, he spots Kate in the window of her bookshop and instantly falls hard; his awkward flirting doesn’t get him very far, but he and Bill always seem to be there when Kate and Tina are in a pinch, needing a ride home from church or offering to fix Kate’s car in exchange for a home-cooked meal.

In one of those classic rom-com tropes, it seems like months pass, but it’s only New Year’s Eve by the time Sam ropes the cagey Kate into a roller-skating date (although the week between Christmas and New Years’ does seem longer than usual). Despite her mysterious hang-ups, Sam and Kate start a halting but sweet romance. Bill and Tina seem destined for the same outcome, enjoying a New Year’s dinner date, but Tina’s got secrets of her own, and Bill’s failing health and grief over losing his wife dooms the relationship before it starts.

Also Read: How ‘Tootsie’ Director Sydney Pollack Tricked Dustin Hoffman Into Behaving on the Famously Fraught Set (Exclusive Book Excerpt)

Part of the message of “Sam & Kate” deals with people learning to extricate themselves from their parent’s issues, which can be hard if you’re living with them or otherwise in close proximity. But not everything can be blamed on dear old mom and dad, and the second half of that lesson is getting over your own baggage in order to show up for the right person.

These lessons are all fine and good, but it takes well over an hour into the 110-minute run time for “Sam & Kate” to reveal any conflict worth paying attention to. That first hour is a meandering mope fest of Sam asking for Kate’s number and getting turned down. But then we finally get to the interesting stuff, the treatment is simply bizarre. Music cues and camera movements tell us something is dark or foreboding, thematically, but what’s then revealed isn’t all that shocking, and the characters’ outsize reactions to those reveals make little sense.

It’s clear in the aesthetically and emotionally stripped-down “Sam & Kate” that Le Gallo is going for something that resonates as achingly human and authentic in his treatment of the challenges and obstacles that people face in everyday life, often through stoicism or shutting down. Fisk and Hoffman (the younger) make a fine pair on screen with a natural chemistry; it’s nice to see her back in a romantic leading role. You just wish the two had more substantive material to work with. In fact, the Hallmark holiday version of this film would likely have been more entertaining, or at least shorter.

“Sam & Kate” opens in US theaters Nov. 11 via Vertical Releasing.

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Sam & Kate

Where to watch

Sam & kate.

Directed by Darren Le Gallo

It's hard raising parents.

Bill is an ailing larger-than-life father being taken care of by his son Sam, who has returned home to care for him. While home, Sam falls for a local woman, Kate. At the same time, Bill starts to fall for her mom, Tina.

Jake Hoffman Schuyler Fisk Sissy Spacek Dustin Hoffman Henry Thomas Elizabeth Faith Ludlow Dylan McNamara Elizabeth Becka Larry Larson DeMorris Stroud Pat Dortch Tyler Labine Steven Allen

Director Director

Darren Le Gallo

Producers Producers

Steven Allen Cindy Bru Ben Shields Catlin Ford Corbett Darren Le Gallo Orian Williams

Writer Writer

Editor editor.

Dominic LaPerriere

Cinematography Cinematography

Frankie DeMarco

Executive Producers Exec. Producers

Amy Adams Vanessa Yao Guo Michael Jefferson Nathan Klingher Stacy O'Neil Ryan Donnell Smith Ryan Winterstern

Production Design Production Design

Jennifer Dehghan

Set Decoration Set Decoration

Stunts stunts, composer composer.

Roger O'Donnell

Sound Sound

Lucas Clyde

Costume Design Costume Design

Dani Phelps

Makeup Makeup

Laura Godwin Stacy Lockhart

Hairstyling Hairstyling

Randa Squillacote Anna Williams

Volition Media Partners Thomasville Pictures Story in The Sky Buffalo 8 Kodiak Pictures New Legend Entertainment

Primary Language

Spoken languages.

English Portuguese French Spanish

Releases by Date

Theatrical limited, 11 nov 2022, 18 nov 2022, 18 jan 2024, 26 jun 2023, releases by country.

  • Theatrical 15
  • Theatrical limited R

110 mins   More at IMDb TMDb Report this page

Popular reviews

JBird

Review by JBird ★★½

Spend some time with Sam & Kate, Whose parents are not doing great. Instead of leave, On New Year's Eve, Each pair will go on a date.

Meyoan

Review by Meyoan ★★★★

Unbelievable Chemistry between the Father and his Son & the Mother and her Daughter💯! Such an amazing casting💖!

Oh wait a minute🤔, They're in fact Father-Son & Mother-Daughter in REAL LIFE AS WELL🧐😯!

Believe me, I only found out when the credits started rolling😁👀.

B E R T

Review by B E R T ★★★

Cute lil movie. Sissy Spacek was the reason I watched and she was great to see, wonderful to see her acting alongside her daughter who is the spitting image of her.

Jake Alda Coffey

Review by Jake Alda Coffey ★★★

SAM & KATE is a cute but pretty forgettable rom com. I liked the concept of casting real life son of Dustin Hoffman as his son and real life daughter of Sissy Spacek as her daughter. The whole cast had great chemistry which is what made this somewhat enjoyable. Beyond that, it’s a very generic indie romcom that I’ll soon forget I’ve seen. 

2022 RANKED

Superargo

Review by Superargo ★★ 2

Okay, here’s something. You know how, whenever you start a movie on Peacock, it does that “here’s 90 seconds of ads first, then you can watch your movie uninterrupted!” thing? How come, whenever it does that, at least half the fucking ads are for Peacock? That’s like ordering a pizza from Pizza Hut and them saying “we’ll give you your pizza, but first you’ve gotta watch a bunch of Pizza Hut commercials.” Advertising is a weird fucking industry, man.

Sorry. Where was I? Oh, yeah. SAM & KATE. Another one of those “ewwww horny old people!”/“tee hee hee old people smoking weed!” movies. I think we’re supposed to find Dustin Hoffman’s character lovably irascible, but he’s honestly kind of a scumbag.…

HunterGasaway

Review by HunterGasaway ★★★★½ 2

the first thing i said after this movie ended when I saw it at aff was, “my moms gonna love this”; and i was right! and i loved it too!!

Cathal

Review by Cathal ★★½

Sweet and predictable. Kept me interested but I think mainly because I admire Dustin Hoffman, but the rest of the cast was good too. Fun while it lasts.

Bobby Finger

Review by Bobby Finger ★★

It’s funny that a movie starring Dustin Hoffman, Dustin Hoffman’s son, Sissy Spacek, and Sissy Spacek’s daughter (in which Sissy Spacek is a hoarder) came out in 2022. A genuinely moving and lovely final minute! A shame about the previous 105.

kcjoe80

Review by kcjoe80 ★★½

Not your traditional rom-com, but more of a trauma-rom with sprinkles of comedy here and there. The relationship aspects are there, but not with the significant others, but more on the child/parent area. Both the relationships between Sam and Kate and also Bill and Tonya feel at an arms length and never really feeling comfortable with each other. I felt more in tune with Dad/Son and Mother/Daughter side of the story.

The relationship between Jake Hoffman and Schuyler Fisk never felt right. It was awkward 90% of the time and when they do actually start having feelings for each other it never felt genuine. The whole roller rink scene is really uncomfortable. Hoffman and Spacek’s story was sweet here and…

cami

Review by cami ★★½ 1

the ultimate nepotism baby movie

Cary NewYorker

Review by Cary NewYorker ★★

What started as a sweet movie of two real life parent/offspring pairs (starring Dustin and Jake Hoffman, Sissy Spacek and Schuyler Fisk) turns thunderously wrongheaded as it focuses too much on “real life” problems when it should be lighter and more romantic.   And why are the men so judgmental and the women the ones burdened with the secrets? 

And the title just compels one to say “Sam & Kate plus fate” or something like that.

Luke Bonanno

Review by Luke Bonanno ★★★½

Too good to be this obscure. Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek have two of the most proven track records of all time. Their respective adult children, especially Spacek's daughter Schuyler Fisk, fare well in the spotlight that has largely eluded them during their own long and well-earned careers. Is this likable little Christmastime romcom the greatest thing writer-director Darren Le Gallo has done besides marrying Amy Adams?

2022, Ranked

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Sam & Kate - Everything You Need To Know

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The year 2022 was a big one for romantic movies. Julia Roberts and George Clooney resumed the throne as queen and king of the rom-com in "Ticket to Paradise." Joe Wright gave us a lavish adaptation of a classic with "Cyrano," and Billy Eichner made history with the first gay rom-com to be released theatrically by a major studio, "Bros." There was the bittersweet "Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between," the sexually frank "Good Luck to You, Leo Grande," and titles like "Father of the Bride," "Persuasion," "My Policeman," and "Cha Cha Real Smooth." 

And in that mix of romance, there's "Sam & Kate," a dramedy about a father-son duo meeting a mother-daughter duo and all the sparks that fly and complications that arise as a result. With Sissy Spacek and Dustin Hoffman at the helm, the dramedy made its theatrical release on November 11. And now that it's out, we're going to dive into this unique romance that has a fun twist on family, both on the screen and in real life. Read on for everything you need to know about "Sam & Kate."

What is the plot of Sam & Kate?

Set in a small American town, "Sam & Kate" starts off with one-half of the titular duo — Sam and his grouchy dad, Bill. Sam has moved back home to take care of his aging, ailing father, although he finds himself pretty miserable working at the local chocolate factory. Still, despite his dad's cantankerous nature, the two do love each other, and Sam likes to spend his time drawing — a skill he's pretty good at — although he isn't exactly sure which direction his life needs to go.

Eventually, Sam crosses paths with bookstore owner Kate, and while he wants to take her out, Kate doesn't feel like dating anyone right now. That starts to change one Christmas, when Sam and Bill bump into Kate and her mom, Tina, in a church parking lot. Tina's car has broken down, and Bill offers to give the two a ride, which starts the relationship ball rolling between not just Sam and Kate but also Bill and Tina. As a result, the foursome must deal with their romantic entanglements, troubled pasts, and uncertain futures, including something about Tina that we won't spoil here.

Who stars in Sam & Kate?

Perhaps the biggest selling point of "Sam & Kate" is the film's all-in-the-family casting, with two huge stars at the helm. Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek play Bill and Tina, and they barely need an introduction. Between the two of them, they have three Academy Awards –  Hoffman for "Kramer vs. Kramer" and "Rain Man" and Spacek for "Coal Miner's Daughter" — and 10 more nominations.

Hoffman and Spacek's real-life children play their on-screen kids — Jake Hoffman and Schuyler Fisk as the titular Sam and Kate. It's not the first time that the actors have collaborated with their parents. Jake acted alongside the elder Hoffman in "Rain Man," "Hook," and "I Heart Huckabees," and is known for his roles in "Click" and "The Wolf of Wall Street."  Spacek and Fisk can be seen together in "Castle Rock," "The Long Walk Home," "Trading Mom," and "Hard Promises."

In addition to the main four, the film also stars Henry Thomas. He's best known for playing Elliott in "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," but since then, he's made quite a name for himself teaming up with director Mike Flanagan in works like "The Haunting of Hill House," "Doctor Sleep," "Midnight Mass," and "The Midnight Club." Other members of the cast Elizabeth Ludlow ("Peacemaker"), Tyler Labine ("Tucker and Dale vs. Evil"), Dylan McNamara ("First Kill"), and Elizabeth Becka ("She-Hulk").

Who directed and produced Sam & Kate?

"Sam & Kate" is directed, written, and co-produced by Darren Le Gallo . The romantic dramedy marks Le Gallo's directorial debut, and his credits as an actor include "Date Night" and "The Master." His other pursuits include music and painting , and he's also credited for working in the art department in "Imposter" and "The Matrix Reloaded." 

Le Gallo's wife, Amy Adams, serves as executive producer on "Sam & Kate" with Stacy O'Neil under their Bond Group Entertainment banner. Speaking with People , Le Gallo gave Adams a ton of credit for helping to inspire the film. "I had a different project that I was trying to get off the ground," he explained, "and, honestly, it was my wife that was like, 'You need to write your next thing.' So I had started to assemble the characters and such for this, some of it being lifted from my childhood growing up in the Bible Belt in Texas. Over time it started to come together."

Robert Yeoman serves as cinematographer. Yeoman is perhaps best known for his work with Wes Anderson and was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on "The Grand Budapest Hotel." "I am thrilled and humbled to have the incredible cast and Oscar-nominated cinematographer Robert Yeoman to be a part of bringing this story into a reality," said Le Gallo in a statement (via Deadline ).

What is Sam & Kate rated?

Rather than being a raunchy rom-com for teens, "Sam & Kate" is more of an adult-friedly dramedy. As a result, it should come as little surprise that the film is rated R for "some drug use and language." Marijuana is almost a character in the film, contributing to the drug use that earned the film its R. There's also a bit of cursing, including the dreaded F-bomb (via Common Sense Media ). However, as far as the R-rating goes, this one is pretty light, and there isn't any explicit sexual content or nudity. After all, with Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek in leading roles, it's a film geared toward older audiences, with a mature take on romance.

How are critics and audiences responding to Sam & Kate?

By and large, critics and audiences seem to feel basically the same way about "Sam and Kate," with the overall takeaway being, "It's pretty good!" At the time of this writing, the Dustin Hoffman/Sissy Spacek romance has 25 critical reviews on Rotten Tomatoes , giving it a score of 68%. Rich Cline of Shadows on the Wall summed up the vibe nicely, writing, "There's nothing terribly original going on here, but writer-director Darren Le Gallo and his ace cast infuse the film with the charm of a comfy armchair by a cracking fireplace." Audiences seem to feel the same way. With fewer than 50 reviews on the site, the audience score is sitting comfortably at 64%.

Where to watch Sam & Kate

The Darren Le Gallo-directed romance hit theaters on November 11, but it's now online if you want to watch this cozy film in the comfort of your own home. "Sam & Kate" is available to rent for $6.99 on Amazon Video , Vudu , and Redbox . Or — if you just want to spend a few extra bucks and own the Jake Hoffman/Schuyler Fisk film — you can buy "Sam & Kate" for $9.99 on those exact same sites.

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Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Sam and Kate’ on Hulu, a Gentle Dramedy About Parents and Their Adult Children Starring Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek

Where to stream:.

  • Sam & Kate
  • Stream It Or Skip It

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Stream it or skip it: ‘problemista’ on max, julio torres’ wearingly weird comedy about the immigrant experience, stream it or skip it: ‘falling like snowflakes’ on the hallmark channel, where a photographer and her ex rekindle their romance on a trip to photograph an elusive snowflake, stream it or skip it: ‘one south: portrait of a psych unit’ on hbo, a docuseries about a psych unit for college kids who are having mental health issues.

Novelty, thy name is Sam and Kate (now on Hulu): This medium-heavyweight drama stars real-life father-son duo Dustin Hoffman and Jake Hoffman as a fictional father-son duo, and real-life mother-daughter duo Sissy Spacek and Schuyler Fisk as a fictional mother-daughter duo, each working through age-appropriate romances with the other. Neat! And tidy! But credit writer/director Darren Le Gallo for giving them plenty of well-considered material that downplays the casting gimmickry in lieu of genial, realistic drama that plays to the actors’ strengths. 

SAM AND KATE : STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?

The Gist: Bill (Dustin Hoffman) tools around a discount store on a scooter, annoying the employees as his son Sam (Jake Hoffman) lounges on some marked-down patio furniture, looking not patient, but not impatient either. Sam’s used to his father’s incorrigible personality, identifiable for its stubbornness, defiance and irascible charm. He also always seems at least a little bit drunk, but it’s hard to tell for sure one way or the other. They live together for reasons that aren’t made plain, but they seem to need each other. Sam looks to be pushing 40 but works a dead-end job at a chocolate factory, smoking weed on his breaks and sketching in his notebook with enough skill that, if he pushed himself, might get him somewhere, at least in the creative-fulfillment department; all this is movie shorthand for “unfulfilled potential.” Bill, meanwhile, probably needs someone there most of the time; he has heart problems, but refuses to follow his doctor by eating clean and avoiding the beer and cigars. Notably, Sam always refers to his father as “Bill,” because Bill doesn’t believe his adult son should call him “Dad.”

It’s Christmastime. Sam stops at the local independent bookstore – they apparently live in a small town with a cute main street lined with coffee shops and the like – to get his pops a tome on gardening, and kinda clicks with the owner. That would be Kate (Fisk), who shows a big smile but sad eyes and very gently pushes back on his mildly awkward advances: “I’m not dating right now.” She seems to say that reluctantly, mind you, because there’s a spark between them that she’d rather not acknowledge, and that’s movie shorthand for “she’s probably depressed about something.” Kate doesn’t live with her mother, Tina (Spacek), possibly because there’s not much room in Tina’s house, which is piled with all the telltale signs of a hoarder. But they’re tight, and they clearly need each other for reasons that’ll slowly be revealed over the course of the movie.

Sam and Bill attend the Christmas church service, where they first interact with Kate and Tina. A few chance encounters later – like I said, small town – the guys are helping the ladies fix Kate’s car in exchange for a dinner invite. Bill and Tina dance in the living room while Sam and Kate lean in for a kiss in the kitchen until they’re interrupted by Bill’s drunken stumbling. The next day, Sam puts the cards on the table for his old man to see: “You need to get laid,” Sam says. Bill huffs. But he asks Tina to dinner for New Year’s Eve, while Sam convinces Kate that they should go – and here I pause to let you come up with a Very Cute Outing for this couple. Got one? Let’s see if it’s right: Sam convinces Kate that they should go roller skating. One date goes very well, and the other does not. Such is life, right? And life will keep playing out for the next hour or so here. 

What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: Middle-of-the-road character-driven adult dramas are like wheat pennies – you just don’t see ’em like you used to. I’ll randomly remember a couple off the top of my head: Feast of Love pops in there for some reason (it was kind of ludicrous), and Everybody’s Fine , a family drama starring Robert De Niro. I’m just grateful that Spacek isn’t finding herself in pandering junk like 80 for Brady or Book Club .

Performance Worth Watching: Spacek and the elder Hoffman do what they do, and what we know they can do. They’re typically good – deep in character, sometimes playing a bit big, sometimes pulling back. It’s a fine balance. But Fisk stands out as the cast member who holds back enough to give her character an air of mystery, and her part of the story a little more dramatic heft.

Memorable Dialogue: “You don’t like me, but I like you.” – Bill has himself pretty accurately pegged when he says this half-jokingly to an annoyed store clerk

Sex and Skin: None.

Our Take: Sam and Kate is enjoyable and involving in the moment, but a day later? Well, some of it sticks, although nobody will confuse it for Oscar bait. It’s an above-average character study in which elder folk struggle mightily to change who they are and what they do, while their children exist in a kind of meandering state of ill-defined personal identity. Bill and Tina’s problems are plain as day, and they resist addressing them. Sam and Kate’s problems are tougher to define: He needs to work on himself, but taking care of his handful of a father seems to be eating up a lot of his time. She carries pain around with her like luggage through the airport of life; it weighs her down and saps joy and prompts her to say no to a sweet, well-meaning guy when she probably should say yes. Everyone here is relatable. Change is hard; resisting it seems natural, and embracing it seems painful. So, as the wise man once said, it goes.

And that mediumweight sentiment is what keeps the film afloat. It doesn’t lean too heavily into comedy or drama, with a few predictable story beats that meet but don’t exceed expectations. Most laughs stem from Dustin Hoffman’s amusing eccentric-old-man shtick, which doesn’t challenge him as an actor, but at least keeps us entertained, and has a layer or two of complex emotional fodder (grief, self-loathing) because Hoffman doesn’t do simple. Le Gallo seems fully aware that his screenplay is nothing special, but his cast is very much so, and that they’re very much capable of elevating this type of mean-average, bittersweet melodrama to something that prompts our emotional investment. Take the scene in which a couple embraces on a park bench beneath a sky full of exploding fireworks – it’s a cliche, but beautiful nevertheless, and comforting. This is a warm, tender story about four people who we learn to appreciate for their assets and their faults. It’s a slice of life that isn’t quite real life, but is just real enough to make us give a damn.

Our Call: Sam and Kate is a deeply unassuming dramedy that offers no great revelations about the human condition, but doesn’t intend to. It’s lightly poignant fodder made for adult viewers weary of spectacle, so if that’s you, STREAM IT and appreciate the strong performances and gentle escapism it offers.

John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

  • Dustin Hoffman

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Sam & Kate Movie

It's hard raising parents

Editor Amy Renner photo

Who's Involved:

Dustin Hoffman, Schuyler Fisk, Sissy Spacek, Jake Hoffman, Darren Le Gallo

Release Date:

Friday, November 11, 2022 Limited Wednesday, February 1, 2023 Peacock

Plot: What's the story about?

When Sam returns to his small town to care for his ailing father, he soon finds himself falling for a local woman, Kate. Simultaneously, his father begins finding love with Kate's mother. But both couples must confront their past in order to make their new love work for the future.

4.75 / 5 stars ( 4 users)

Poll: Will you see Sam & Kate?

Who stars in Sam & Kate: Cast List

Jake Hoffman

Adam and Eve, Sister of the Groom  

Schuyler Fisk

I Am Reed Fish, Restless  

Dustin Hoffman

Kung Fu Panda 4, Megalopolis  

Sissy Spacek

The Fabulous Four, Get Low  

Who's making Sam & Kate: Crew List

A look at the Sam & Kate behind-the-scenes crew and production team.

Darren Le Gallo

Screenwriter

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Production Companies

Watch sam & kate trailers & videos.

Official Trailer

Official Trailer

Production: what we know about sam & kate, filming timeline.

  • 2022 - October : The film was set to Completed  status.

Sam & Kate Release Date: When was the film released?

Sam & Kate was a Limited release in 2022 on Friday, November 11, 2022 . There were 13 other movies released on the same date, including Black Panther: Wakanda Forever , Resistance: 1942 and Spirited . As a Limited release, Sam & Kate will only be shown in select movie theaters across major markets. Please check Fandango and Atom Tickets to see if the film is playing in your area.

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  • Mon., Jan. 30, 2023
  • set film release to Peacock
  • added the US film release date of February 1, 2023
  • added the tagline: "It's hard raising parents"
  • added Darren Le Gallo as screenwriter to movie credits
  • added comedy as a genre
  • added Official Trailer to movie trailers & videos
  • changed the US film release date from TBA to November 11, 2022
  • set film release to Limited
  • added Darren Le Gallo as director to movie credits
  • added Sissy Spacek as actor to movie credits

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Sam & Kate Reviews

  • 58   Metascore
  • 1 hr 50 mins
  • Drama, Family, Comedy
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Bill is an ailing larger-than-life father being taken care of by his son Sam, who has returned home to care for him. While home, Sam falls for a local woman, Kate. At the same time, Bill starts to fall for her mom, Tina.

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  6. Sam & Kate (2022)

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COMMENTS

  1. Sam & Kate

    75% Tomatometer 32 Reviews 79% Audience Score 50+ Ratings A life-affirming family dramedy starring Oscar®-winners Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek, Sam & Kate takes place in a small town in the ...

  2. 'Sam & Kate' Review: It's a Family Affair

    The movie stars two real-life parent-child pairs: Dustin Hoffman and Jake Hoffman play a father-son duo, Bill and Sam, while Schuyler Fisk and Sissy Spacek appear as Kate and her mother, Tina. Sam ...

  3. Sam & Kate (2022)

    Sam & Kate: Directed by Darren Le Gallo. With Jake Hoffman, Schuyler Fisk, Dustin Hoffman, Sissy Spacek. A son returns to his small hometown to take care of his ailing father.

  4. Sam & Kate Review: A Heartwarming Dramedy with a Standout Cast

    Sam & Kate is a new drama-comedy feature film from director Darren Le Gallo that stars Jake Hoffman ... Movie and TV Reviews. Sam & Kate (2022) Your changes have been saved. Email Is sent.

  5. Sam & Kate

    Full Review | Original Score: 3/5 | Apr 18, 2023. Dull conversations and lackluster scenes prevent Sam & Kate from being the great romantic dramedy that it wants to be. The acting is admirable ...

  6. Sam & Kate Review: Dustin Hoffman & Sissy Spacek's Kids ...

    Hollywood has a habit of romanticizing love and loss, favoring drama over authenticity. Sam & Kate, however, isn't like other films. This delightful breath of fresh air evades certain tropes ...

  7. Sam & Kate

    Bill (Dustin Hoffman) is the larger-than-life father to Sam (Jake Hoffman), who has returned home to take care of his ailing dad. While home, Sam falls for a local woman, Kate (Schuyler Fisk). And at the same time, Bill starts to fall for her mom, Tina (Sissy Spacek). But finding love is complicated and for these four, it is no different. They all must confront their past in order to make ...

  8. Sam & Kate Movie Review

    Parents say Not yet rated Rate movie. Kids say ( 1 ): On its face, this is a sweet romance about a couple of 40ish adults trying to live their lives while managing difficult parents who are getting toward the end of theirs. But on another level, Sam & Kate feels like it has an agenda of promoting cannabis use among adults.

  9. Sam & Kate Review: Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek Family Project

    November 11, 2022 @ 9:23 AM. "Sam & Kate" is a family affair, which is essentially the entire conceit for the film's existence. Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek play Bill and Tina, while Jake ...

  10. 'Sam & Kate' Review: Dustin Hoffman & Son, Sissy Spacek ...

    Vertical releases Sam & Kate in theaters on November 11. Check out my video review above with scenes from the film. Check out my video review above with scenes from the film. Must Read Stories

  11. Sam & Kate (2022)

    Although an ensemble piece, Sam (Jake Hoffman) is probably the main character in the film and has the most screen time. Perhaps ever-so-slightly over-theatrical at times, Jake has otherwise nailed the character and holds our attention. Kate also is interesting and is very mysterious about revealing her back story.

  12. Sam & Kate

    Sam & Kate is a 2022 American comedy film written and directed by Darren Le Gallo, and starring Dustin Hoffman, Sissy Spacek, Jake Hoffman and Schuyler Fisk.It is Le Gallo's feature-film directorial debut, and his wife, Amy Adams, served as an executive producer.Hoffman's real son and Spacek's real daughter play these roles in the film.

  13. Movie Review: Oscar Winners Spacek and Hoffman

    Sweet, slow and unassuming, "Sam & Kate" is a romantic melodrama that came into being because two Oscar winners relished the chance to act on screen with their acting progeny. So whatever sparks Sissy Spacek and Dustin Hoffman set off in their scenes together are augmented by the pleasure of their kids playing the long-suffering offspring of two very different and sometimes difficult ...

  14. 'Sam & Kate' Review: Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek Family ...

    November 11, 2022 · 4 min read. "Sam & Kate" is a family affair, which is essentially the entire conceit for the film's existence. Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek play Bill and Tina, while ...

  15. ‎Sam & Kate (2022) directed by Darren Le Gallo • Reviews, film + cast

    Synopsis. It's hard raising parents. Bill is an ailing larger-than-life father being taken care of by his son Sam, who has returned home to care for him. While home, Sam falls for a local woman, Kate. At the same time, Bill starts to fall for her mom, Tina. Cast.

  16. Sam & Kate

    Sam & Kate 2022, R, 110 min. Directed by Darren Le Gallo. Starring Dustin Hoffman, Sissy Spacek, Jake Hoffman, Schuyler Fisk, Tyler Labine, Henry Thomas. REVIEWED By ...

  17. Sam & Kate

    "Sam & Kate" is available to rent for $6.99 on Amazon Video, Vudu, and Redbox. Or — if you just want to spend a few extra bucks and own the Jake Hoffman/Schuyler Fisk film — you can buy "Sam ...

  18. 'Sam and Kate' Hulu Review: Stream It Or Skip It?

    Stream It Or Skip It: 'Sam and Kate' on Hulu, a Gentle Dramedy About Parents and Their Adult Children Starring Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek. By John Serba. Published Aug. 11, 2023, 4:15 p.m ...

  19. Everything You Need to Know About Sam & Kate Movie (2022)

    Across the Web. Sam & Kate in US theaters November 11, 2022 starring Jake Hoffman, Schuyler Fisk, Dustin Hoffman, Sissy Spacek. When Sam returns to his small town to care for his ailing father, he soon finds himself falling for a local woman, Kate. Simultaneously, his.

  20. 'Sam & Kate' Review: Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek Family Project

    "Sam & Kate" is a family affair, which is essentially the entire conceit for the film's existence. Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek play Bill and Tina, while Jake Hoffman and Schuyler Fisk (Spacek's daughter with production designer Jack Fisk) play their respective kids, Sam and Kate.It's the story of young adults and their challenging relationships with their quirky aging parents ...

  21. 'Sam & Kate' Flashes Upside of Star Power, Nepotism

    Stunt casting gets a bad rap, but sometimes the practice makes perfect sense. 'Sam & Kate' pairs screen legends Sissy Spacek and Dustin Hoffman with their grown children, both accomplished actors in their own right. The gambit works beautifully in this sweet and sour romance, the actors' real-life ties (and resemblances) heightening the tale's dramatic heft. Too bad 'Sam & Kate' leans into its ...

  22. Sam & Kate

    Living in a small town, Sam connects with a local woman, Kate, and starts to hit it off. At the same time, Bill starts to fall for Kate's mother, Tina. Today's Netflix Top 10 Rankings

  23. Sam & Kate (2022) Movie Reviews

    Review Submitted. GOT IT. SEE ALL OFFERS. While home, Sam falls for a local woman, Kate (Schuyler Fisk). And at the same time, Bill starts to fall for her mom, Tina (Spacek). But finding love is complicated and for these four, it is no different. They all must confront their past in order to make their new love work for the future.