The quietly stirring, exquisitely photographed Columbus is an art house gem that beautifully illuminates not only the architecture of a small Indiana town, but also the characters who inhabit it.

When a renowned architecture scholar falls suddenly ill during a speaking tour, his son Jin (John Cho) finds himself stranded in Columbus, Indiana – a small Midwestern city celebrated for its many significant modernist buildings. Jin strikes up a friendship with Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), a young architecture enthusiast who works at the local library. As their intimacy develops, Jin and Casey explore both the town and their conflicted emotions: Jin’s estranged relationship with his father, and Casey’s reluctance to leave Columbus and her mother.

With its naturalistic rhythms and empathy for the complexities of families, debut director Kogonada’s Columbus unfolds as a gently drifting, deeply absorbing conversation. With strong supporting turns from Parker Posey, Rory Culkin, and Michelle Forbes, Columbus is also a showcase for its director’s striking eye for the way physical space can affect emotions for a safer place to dream.

Reviews

Rarely will images of mighty concrete and stone dwellings set against tranquil waters or a gentle spring shower resonate so powerfully as those on display every day in the southern Indiana city of Columbus, captured so breathtakingly in the film.
As much as anything, the movie is about the zen-like stillness and symmetry of the mid-century architecture that serves as the film’s backdrop.