Top 40% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2002 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


Robin Tunney, Tim Blake Nelson, Nora Dunn, Jason Priestley, Brad Hunt, Lindsay Crouse, Liz Phair

Non-Cast Credits

Finn Taylor, Jeff Boortz, Laurie Miller, Steven Siebert, Johnny Wow, Mark Burton, Barry Stone, Rick LeCompte, Don Day, Charles Raggio


Finn Taylor returns to Sundance (his debut, Dream with the Fishes, bowed at the 1997 Film Festival) with this playful and cleverly subversive genre-twisting delectation. As much a thriller as a love story, Cherish is an entirely original reworking of the romantic comedy that manages to delight even while bringing you to the edge of your seat in perilous suspense.

Zoe Adler is a 20-something, love-starved animator who is running away from herself and reality. She compulsively avoids being home alone and spends countless hours listening to KXCH "Cherish" radio, losing herself in a syrupy romantic fantasy of 1970s and 80s pop songs. When she manages a three-martini cocktail with the object of her latest romantic obsession, she ends up driving a hijacked car and mowing down a policeman. For this, she is unfairly incarcerated in the electronic bracelet program and is trapped in her apartment for two years. With only reclusive bracelet officer Daly to provide uneasy company, Zoe sheds her rose-colored glasses to find a new meaning for love and self-worth and becomes her won superhero when she realizes she is being stalked.

At every turn, Taylor plays against genre conventions, using the sentimental tunes of Hall and Oates, Human League, and Soft Cell to imbue fantasy and crime scenes with humor and irony. Robin Tunney and Tim Blake Nelson deliver wonderful performances as lost characters who are twisted out of proportion by romantic obsession. They are the pop music monsters that Tipper Gore's parental advisory warnings failed to catch.


Shari Frilot (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.