The Sundance hype cycle can turn a movie from a question mark to a must-see masterpiece overnight. So when film critics started raving on Twitter last night about a Kristen Wiig movie called "AbracaDeborah," I assumed it was something I’d managed to overlook in the festival’s substantial catalogue, and started fervently searching for more information. Could this be the breakout hit of Sundance 2016?
As I shortly realized, there’s no such movie as "AbracaDeborah." The raves were part of an impromptu public in-joke, spurred by an offhand remark by Uproxx’s Mike Ryan last week and revived at the festival’s annual blogger party. But after six days, Sundance’s critics had churned out so many fervent insta-reactions and so much overheated Oscar talk that it was easy to mistake their gags for the real deal — especially since some of their made-up raves are less ridiculous than things some critics have written about actual movies.
"AbracaDeborah’s" moment has passed now: It’s the social-media equivalent of "you had to be there." But a few avid cinephiles and Wiig-heads who didn’t quite get the joke are still lighting up social media, searching for anyone who can give them more information on a movie that, real or not, still sounds pretty amazing.
Thoroughly enjoyed hanging out at #Sundance critic party last night. Best part was definitely sharing thoughts on ABRACADEBORAH.
— Scott Renshaw (@scottrenshaw) January 27, 2016
AbracaDeborah: Career best for Kristen Wiig. A statement on human loneliness. Long & well deserved standing ovation. Floored! #Sundance
— Tomris Laffly (@TomiLaffly) January 27, 2016
AbracaDeborah: Kristen Wiig in the role of a lifetime. James Marden never better. Still processing … but wow. #sundance
— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) January 27, 2016
Holy shit. AbracaDeborah. I don’t usually fall in line with festival buzz, but holy shit. #Sundance
— Rob Hunter (@FakeRobHunter) January 27, 2016
Never thought a movie about a blind magician would make me cry, but AbracaDeborah is wondrous and Kristen Wiig is revelatory. #Sundance
— Ethan Anderton (@Ethan_Anderton) January 27, 2016
Despite its name, which sounds like a kids’ party entertainer, the big buzz coming out of Sundance is AbracaDeborah.
— Si White (@siwhite0) January 27, 2016
— John Fink (@FinkJohnJ) January 27, 2016
AbracaDeborah might be Kristen Wiig’s best performance. So many layers and a lot to process. Can’t wait to revisit. #Sundance
— Jordan Raup (@jpraup) January 27, 2016
AbracaDeborah – Solid fun, Kristen up Wiig has never been better, and she’s always great. Another magician movie! What a year. #Sundance
— Alex Billington (@firstshowing) January 27, 2016
AbracaDeborah: Kristen Wiig has an award-caliber performance but it’s still the second best magic movie at this year’s #sundance
— Peter Sciretta (@slashfilm) January 27, 2016
AbracaDeborah: Wiig is fantastic, but don’t sleep on Marsden’s performance. #Sundance
— Angie J. Han (@ajhan) January 27, 2016
— Chris Bumbray (@cbumbray) January 27, 2016
Gotta jump in on the AbracaDeborah love. Let’s get the Best Supporting Actor talk going for Marsden.
— Matt Goldberg (@MattGoldberg) January 27, 2016
ABRACADEBORAH: That last shot makes the ending of ENEMY feel like "Sesame Street." I may not sleep at all tonight. #sundance
— Steve Greene (@stevebruin) January 27, 2016
Not sure if I’m allowed to say anything yet about ABRACADEBORAH, but the hype here is getting ridiculous and y’all need to chill out.
— Sean Burns (@SeanMBurns) January 27, 2016
Wow my feed is full of AbracaDeborah. Hope they add it to the P&I sked! #Sundance
— Marc Mohan (@marc_mohan) January 27, 2016
Kicking myself that I missed AbracaDeborah. Going to have to get up super early for that 8:30AM P&I. That line is going to be insane.
— Kate Erbland (@katerbland) January 27, 2016
— Tomris Laffly (@TomiLaffly) January 27, 2016
— Noel Murray (@NoelMu) January 27, 2016
— Kristin McCracken (@kmc1213) January 27, 2016
Fingers crossed that AbracaDeborah plays SXSW.
— Will Goss (@williambgoss) January 27, 2016
ABRACADEBORAH: As much as I enjoy seeing Kristen Wiig in blackface, I have a lot of problems with this biopic. #sundance
— Eric D. Snider (@EricDSnider) January 27, 2016
Apparently I need to watch AbracaDeborah, hearing nothing but great things #Sundance2016
— /Varcus (@marcmywords_91) January 27, 2016
I’ve never been as curious about a Sundance movie as I am about AbracaDeborah. No idea what it is, but I need to see it right now.
— Austin Higgins (@AustinHiggins) January 27, 2016
Seriously, what the hell is people talking about? Abracadeborah? What? Is this a joke because if it is it’s really mean!
— NewsWiig (@NewsWiig) January 27, 2016
Please, please maniacs – stop DM’ing us about whether or not there are tickets available to "AbracaDeborah"
— Sundance Fest NOW (@sundancefestnow) January 28, 2016