Margarita Happy Hour

Director: Ilya Chaiken
Screenwriters: Ilya Chaiken

Institute History

  • 2001 Sundance Film Festival


As the gritty, rock-star seducing gals of last year struggle to hold onto their former personas as bohemian sirens, Margarita Happy Hour is mostly about life after the party. This is not the upscale world of the Sex and the City set. In the late afternoon hours of half-priced drink specials, Zelda and her circle of disreputable mothers discuss Medicaid and abortions, curse their own mothers, and struggle to find the support in each other that is lacking from their men.

Confined to the bedroom she shares with her boyfriend, who aspires to be a starving poet, Zelda coos her baby to sleep while the Brooklyn loft she shares with a group of would-be artists vibrates to the beat of the newest, loudest music. With her best friend in recovery from a drug-infested "scenester" lifestyle, the unwed mother becomes the lone beacon of responsibility and maternal instinct in the household. But as the end of happy hour approaches, Zelda must decide whether to stick with the father of her child or break away from the seductive and crazy lifestyle.

The arresting and talented Eleanor Hutchins ravishes the screen with her uncommon style and authentic edge, and writer/director Ilya Chaiken's tapestry frames a complex portrait of a new breed of single mothers. With a striking visual sensibility, Margarita Happy Hour resonates with poignancy that transports you into a realm gently swathed in pathos and humor.

— Chantal Van Riet

Screening Details

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