The Reel Review


Two generations – an elderly widower, his adult son, an elderly woman and her adult daughter – become involved with one another in this romantic dramedy starring Sissy Spacek and Dustin Hoffman and their real-life children, Jake Hoffman and Schuyler Fisk.

Jake Hoffman, Schuyler Fisk and Sissy Spacek in Sam & Kate

This debut film from writer/director Darren Le Gallo is impressive in how realistic it is. It quietly leaves a footprint, as it captures the shifting family dynamics involving adult children and their aging – and oftentimes ailing – parents. Over the course of the story, details are slowly revealed about the secrets, imperfections and grief that is keeping each of four individuals stuck in their respective relationship ruts.

Jake Hoffman and Schuyler Fisk in Sam & Kate

Seeing the two Oscar winners pass the baton to their adult children, who each actually carry the emotional heavy lifting of the film, is an added bonus. The film’s easygoing pace, while slow for some viewers, is also what makes Sam & Kate so charming and relatable – especially to adult children and aging parents. Le Gallo is a writer/director to watch. Sam & Kate is a sweet tearjerker that you rarely see anymore.


Darren Le Gallo, Amy Adams and their daughter Aviana.

• Writer/director and visual artist Darren Le Gallo met Amy Adams in acting class in 2001. After several years of dating and an eight-year engagement, they married in 2015, and have a daughter Aviana, who even has a cameo in Sam & Kate. Adams was the film’s executive producer.

• Schuyler Fisk, who is a singer/songwriter as well as an actress, has been friends with actor Jake Hoffman for many years. Their parents have three Oscars between the two of them – Sissy Spacek, a 1980 Best Actress trophy for Coal Miner’s Daughter, and Dustin Hoffman two Best Actor Oscars – for 1979’s Kramer vs. Kramer and for 1988’s Rain Man. 

Sam & Kate was filmed on location in Thomasville, Georgia from February to April 2022.


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