An internet sex worker convinces her reclusive neighbor to road-trip across North America for a rendezvous with visitors from a distant galaxy.
Set during the COVID-19 pandemic, Peter has made a point of avoiding substantial interaction with others, and his prickly nature keeps anyone firmly at arm’s length. But when his neighbor, Winona, convinces him to accompany her on a road trip across the US and Canada to reunite with the aliens that abducted her years earlier, he quickly learns that there’s not much room to hide in the car. While on the road, Peter will be forced to confront his own insecurities and fears. The two embark on an illegal border crossing, encounter extraterrestrial traffic cops, and seek answers to existential questions. What else could you expect from a movie where the main character holds an Anton Chekhov collection for most of the runtime? UNIDENTIFIED OBJECTS is an intimate argument about identity and social obligation wrapped inside a UFO movie. This high concept is grounded by the actor who plays Peter, Matthew August Jeffers, as he and the script allow Peter to be mean, difficult, and even outright wrong while laser-focusing on the circumstances that have brought the character to this point. As a gay man with dwarfism, Peter is extremely aware of the ways other people categorize him, and much of the film sees him wrestle with his own existence in a world that too often rejects him. What draws me in most about Peter, and Jeffers’ performance, is his consistent anger and his absolute right to lash out at the world around him. This is not a movie with nice, palatable people that always make the most polite or kind choices, and it’s better and more authentic for this. Even without the possibility of aliens, UNIDENTIFIED OBJECTS chronicles a country and a man grappling with the failings of institutions and leaders, left wondering if there is any way forward that doesn’t involve leaving the galaxy altogether. (AUSTIN KING)
Closed Captions [CC]