Podtalk, Review: Actor KiKi Layne on Blossoming in ‘Dandelion’

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CHICAGO – Growth from a young and rising actor is defined by KiKi Layne. After getting her big break as Tish in “If Beale Street Could Talk” from 2018, she has build her resume in both independent (“Native Son”) and tentpole (“Coming 2 America”) films, and showcases her music talent as the title character in “Dandelion,” which opens Friday, July 12th.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Dandelion (KiKi Layne) is a struggling Cincinnati singer-songwriter in a downward spiral, including dead end gigs and a mother who needs caregiving. When she takes a last-ditch-effort gig at a motorcycle rally in South Dakota she meets Casey (Thomas Doherty), a guitarist who walked away from his dream long ago. As Dandelion joins Casey’s nomadic group of struggling musicians, the kindred spirits make music together and strike up a whirlwind romance.

The film is a passionate meditation on young love and the sensitive artist trying to interpret it. The love is as much about the title character’s unrelenting ardor toward music as coupling with misplaced emotions. The story is deliberate and beautifully filmed, and reaches its destinations through that defiant, unquenchable need to create. Layne is a standout as she negotiates all the varied emotions and music craft along the journey, and director Nicole Riegel (“Holler”) creates a cinematic palette of contemplative scenery and reflective character studies. Just dandy.

KiKi Layne in ‘Dandelion’
Photo credit: IFC Films

KiKi Layne began her career in Chicago after graduating from the Theatre School at DePaul University with a role on “Chicago Med.” Filmmaker Barry Jenkins cast her in “If Beale Street Could Talk” in 2018, and she has since appeared in “Native Son” (2019), “The Old Guard” (2020) and “Don’t Worry Darling” (2022). “Dandelion” is her first lead role.

In a Podtalk with Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com, KiKi Layne talks about “Dandelion” and her career so far …

Trailer, “Dandelion” …

For the Red Carpet photos of KiKi Layne by Joe Arce of HollywoodChicago.com at the Chicago Critics Film Festival, CLICK HERE.

For a Podcast discussion of Dandelion from Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com on Ian Simmon’s KICKING THE SEAT YouTube channel, CLICK HERE.

”Dandelion” is in theaters on July 12th. Featuring KiKi Layne, Thomas Doherty, Melanie Nicholls-King and Grace Kaiser. Written and directed by Nicole Riegel. Rated “R”

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Critic/Writer

© 2024 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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