Kodachrome (film)

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Kodachrome film poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed byMark Raso
Produced by
Written byJonathan Tropper
Based on"For Kodachrome Fans, Road Ends at Photo Lab in Kansas"
by A.G. Sulzberger
Music byAgatha Kaspar
CinematographyAlan Poon
Edited byGeoff Ashenhurst
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • September 8, 2017 (2017-09-08) (TIFF)
  • April 20, 2018 (2018-04-20) (United States)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States

Kodachrome is a 2017 American drama film, directed by Mark Raso, based upon a New York Times article written by A.G. Sulzberger.[1] It stars Ed Harris, Jason Sudeikis, Elizabeth Olsen, Bruce Greenwood, Wendy Crewson, and Dennis Haysbert. The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2017, and was released on April 20, 2018, by Netflix.


Matt Ryder is an A&R representative at a record label who is in danger of losing his job after his company's biggest client signs with another label. His father's assistant and nurse Zooey Kern arrives at his office and informs him that his father Ben, a famous photographer, is terminally ill. Though they have not spoken in over ten years, Ben has requested that Matt drive him to Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kansas, the last shop that still develops Kodachrome film. Ben has several undeveloped rolls he wants to have processed before he dies, and Dwayne's will stop in the near future because Kodak no longer makes the required dyes.

Matt refuses, but Ben's manager Larry, persuades him by offering to arrange a meeting between Matt and the Spare Sevens, a band he has been trying to sign to his label. Matt, Ben and Zooey start the journey, and Ben throws away Matt's GPS and insists on taking back roads so he can take photos and enjoy the scenery. In Ohio, the group makes a detour so they can visit Ben's brother Dean and Dean's wife Sarah, who were Matt's surrogate parents following his mother's death. Zooey and Matt bond over Matt's old music collection, and later a drunk Matt leans in to kiss her, but falls off the bed. He sleeps on the floor, and they end up sharing stories of their failed marriages. The next morning, Zooey is awakened by Ben, who has fallen in the bathroom and needs help to stand up. Ben irritates Dean and Sarah at breakfast by mentioning that he and Sarah once had a sexual relationship. Sarah explains that it was before she and Dean dated, which does little to assuage Dean's anger.

In Chicago, Matt gets the chance to make his pitch to the Spare Sevens, and follows his father's advice not to tell the band how great they are, but to point out what they're doing wrong and why they need Matt to fix it. Lead singer Jasper and the other band members admire Matt's nerve and begin to agree to the outlines of a deal, but start to mock Ben when he accidentally urinates on himself. Though it will probably cost him his job, Matt tells them he does not respect them and leaves the meeting to check on his father.

At their hotel, Ben expresses disappointment to Zooey that Matt did not close the deal. Zooey points out that Matt made a career-ending decision in defending his father, which leads to Ben firing her. Zooey joins Matt at a bar, where he receives several texts from his boss letting him know he has in fact been fired. They continue to drink, and then spend the night together. The next morning, Zooey calls her night with Matt a mistake and returns to New York. Matt receives no answer at Ben's door and has the hotel staff open it. Ben is unconscious on the floor, and Matt has him rushed to the hospital. The doctor tells Matt that Ben's cancer can no longer be treated, he cannot travel, and he should be placed in hospice care. That night, Ben struggles to load film into a camera, eliciting Matt's help. Through tears, Ben tells Matt that he does not expect forgiveness, but that he loves him. Matt and Ben embrace.

The next day, Matt takes Ben out of the hospital so they can finish the trip to Parsons, which will require driving nonstop overnight to make it to the photo lab in time. They drop off Ben's film at Dwayne's and as they start to leave, Ben is recognized by several patrons, most of whom are well-known photographers also on hand to get their film developed. One says he became a photographer after seeing Ben's work, and several ask to have photos taken with Ben, giving Matt insight into his father's influence and legacy. In the hotel room, Ben is cleaning his camera when he dies. Larry arrives to make funeral arrangements and Dwayne delivers the developed photos. Matt offers them to Larry, but Larry refuses, saying that Ben's wish was for Matt to take possession and curate them for a showing. At Ben's home, Matt loads the photo slides into a projector and is surprised to see dozens of pictures of himself as a little boy, many with his deceased mother, and some with his father. Zooey arrives and asks if he would like some company, then they stand together and view Ben's slides.



Harris and Sudeikis at premiere (2017)

The film had its premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.[2] Shortly after, Netflix acquired distribution rights to the film.[3] The film was released on April 20, 2018.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 71% based on 49 reviews, with a weighted average of 6.24/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Kodachrome gains richer hues due to Ed Harris' colorful performance, which is enough to enliven a solid if predictable father-son road trip drama."[5] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 57 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[6]


  1. ^ Sulzberger, A.G. (December 29, 2010). "For Kodachrome Fans, Road Ends at Photo Lab in Kansas". The New York Times. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  2. ^ Pond, Steve (August 15, 2017). "Aaron Sorkin, Brie Larson, Louis CK Movies Added to Toronto Film Festival Lineup". TheWrap. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  3. ^ Galuppo, Mia; Siegel, Tatiana (November 9, 2017). "Toronto: Netflix Acquires Elizabeth Olsen-Starrer 'Kodachrome'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  4. ^ CS (March 20, 2018). "Netflix April 2018 Movie and TV Titles Announced". ComingSoon.net. CraveOnline Media. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  5. ^ "Kodachrome (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  6. ^ "Kodachrome Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 24, 2018.

External links[edit]