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by Karen Pecota

Jesse Eisenberg, USA 2022

Famed actor Jesse Eisenberg is a first-time director with a feature narrative in which a social service worker in a women's shelter tries to b­alance her homelife and work in WHEN YOU FINISH SAVING THE WORLD. Eisenberg said, "The movie was in some ways born of my inner conflict of the work that I do and mainstream entertainment, being so exposed to the work that's done in women's shelters and the need in social services." Adding, "The movie is kind of born of that: the conflict between art and social activism. The characters are in some ways reflective of the fight that I'm struggling with in my own mind."

Actress Julianne Moore comments about what excites her about this script and independent films, "I was really relishing this opportunity to play a character who was a human being, who didn't get it right! Who actually had a difficult time communicating, who had every intention of being the kind of parent that she wanted to be but was failing—miserably. And, was better able to communicate with someone outside her family." Adding, " I feel like this movie was rife with those moments that were incredibly illuminating and humane." Continuing, "When you make a little movie like this, you're there because this is important to you. There's no other agenda than to create this thing together."

A collaboration between these passionate and professional artists produces a relatable storyline for families with food for thought balancing family, work, and activism. It’s a timeless account of parents and children struggling to connect across the generational divide that separates them.


Evelyn (Julianne Moore) runs a shelter for survivors of domestic abuse. Angie (Eleonore Hendricks) and her son, Kyle (Billy Bryk) come into the shelter to seek refuge. Evelyn develops a unique bond with the two and decides to take Kyle under her wing, against her better judgement. Secretly, she longs for her teenage son, Ziggy (Finn Wolfhand), to be more like Kyle who has goals and aspirations that a college education will propel him toward a successful future.

Ziggy is a high school student who loves to perform original folk rock songs for an online fan base to which Evelyn is not only critical but also doesn't understand his passion or purpose. In return, Ziggy doesn't understand his mother, a passionate activist, who puts her clients before her own family members.

Evelyn and Ziggy both seek a substitute for what they long for in each other––patience, acceptance, understanding, and conversation. Their love is basically unconditional, but each struggle to find a reasonable balance to mature appropriately. Evelyn eventually takes the lead and experiences a surprise discovery with Ziggy.