The Sundance Film Festival is often laden and besotted with subtle character dramedies that follow vaguely depressed people down the path towards further depression and, perhaps ultimately, self-acceptance. And the exceedingly talented Kristen Wiig has, in the past few years, been in a number of middle-of-the-road films that could be characterized as such — Hateship/Loveship, The Skeleton Twins, and Welcome to Me.
The newest recipient of all the coveted Sundance buzz is yet another Wiig film, AbracaDeborah, which, in title alone, might sound like a similar film. Its description confirms this notion: it sees a certain depressed Deborah’s divorced, non-magical existence altered forever in a fateful moment at a county fair, and, according to The Film Stage, sees Wiig “navigate [the film’s] tonal shift surprisingly well.”
…except that the tonal shift doesn’t exist. Nor does Deborah’s sad, magical life. Nor does the film. As IndieWire’s Sam Adams — the first to bring AbracaDeborah to the non-Tweeting public — explains, Deborah is the result of various Sundance attendee-critics’ (including Flavorwire’s own Jason Bailey) elaborate, prolonged inside — then outside, when Wiig fans got ahold of the news on Twitter — joke.
Adams notes that Uproxx writer Mike Ryan started it with this simple trolling Tweet:
But by yesterday, that Tweet had sparked a line of questioning across social media that led to this:
And since Sundance Film Festival will be over this weekend, it looks like the “film” will naturally start doing the whole festival circuit:
After various people subtweeted the assorted critics behind the joke and ultimately realized it was a hoax — especially once the IndieWire article was published — some people criticized the Abracadeborah phenomenon for being cruelly deceptive:
Though the “film” itself was mostly well-received:
There was, however, that one cringe-worthy element:
Finally, interest was even piqued abroad: