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Columbus is a 2017 American drama film written and directed by Kogonada. The film stars John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson. The film premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and was released in the United States on August 4, 2017, by the Sundance Institute.

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Kogonada
Produced by
  • Danielle Renfrew Behrens
  • Aaron Boyd
  • Giulia Caruso
  • Ki Jin Kim
  • Andrew Miano
  • Chris Weitz
Written by Kogonada
Music by Hammock
Cinematography Elisha Christian
Edited by Kogonada
  • Depth of Field
  • Nonetheless Productions
  • Superlative Films
Distributed by Sundance Institute
Release date
  • January 22, 2017 (2017-01-22) (Sundance)
  • August 4, 2017 (2017-08-04) (United States)
Running time
104 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1 million[2]



A successful Korean-American man finds himself stuck in Columbus, Indiana, where his estranged architect father is in a coma. The man meets a young woman who plans to stay in Columbus with her mother, a recovering addict, instead of pursuing her own dreams. Together, the two explore the various architectural buildings in Columbus, all the while discovering in each other what they hope to be.


  • John Cho as Jin, an American who lives and works in Korea translating literature
  • Haley Lu Richardson as Casey, a young woman caring for her mother all the while dreaming of a future as an architect
  • Parker Posey as Eleanor, Jin's father’s longtime assistant, for whom Jin has harbored feelings in the past.
  • Rory Culkin as Gabriel, a Doctoral student and coworker friend of Casey's
  • Michelle Forbes as Maria, Casey's working-class mother, who is a recovering drug addict
  • Jim Dougherty as Aaron
  • Erin Allegretti as Emma, a high school friend of Casey.
  • Rosalyn R. Ross as Christine
  • Lindsey Shope as Sarah
  • Shani Salyers Stiles as Vanessa


The film began shooting July 31, 2016 and concluded August 20, 2016.[3] The film was shot on location in Columbus, Indiana over 18 days.[4]


Among the architectural buildings present in the story are the Irwin Union Bank building and the Miller House by Eero Saarinen and the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library by I. M. Pei.[5]


The film premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2017.[1][6] The film was released on August 4, 2017, by the Sundance Institute.[7]

Box officeEdit

Columbus had an opening weekend gross of $28,800 from two theaters, one located in New York City and the other located in Los Angeles, averaging $14,400 per theater.[8] In its second weekend of release, Columbus grossed $44,460 from seven theaters, averaging $6,351 per theater.[9] In its third weekend of release, Columbus grossed $44,450 from twelve theaters, averaging $3,705 per theater.[10]

In Columbus, Indiana, the setting of the film, Columbus sold a record breaking 8,953 tickets over the course of a six-week local run playing at the "YES Cinema". The previous record holder was The King's Speech with 3,700 tickets sold over a nine-week run.[11]

Critical responseEdit

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 98% based on 87 reviews, with an average rating of 8.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Wonderfully acted and artfully composed, Columbus balances the clean lines of architecture against the messiness of love, with tenderly moving results."[12] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 89 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[13]

Haley Lu Richardson received praise for her performance in the film with Brian Formo of Collider writing "Richardson puts the story on her shoulders and elevates the film into a beguiling, thin air. She lends the beautiful but empty buildings a beating heart"[14] while Oliver Jones of The New York Observer commended Richardson's "naturalism".[15] John Cho received praise as well, with Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly writing that "Cho gives Jin a real warmth and empathy".[16] Other critics, such as Geoff Berkshire of Variety, directed praise toward the leading pair of Cho and Richardson together with Berkshire writing that "At the center of it all, amid the buildings, are Cho and Richardson. One veteran demonstrating his untapped ability as a captivatingly sincere leading man, and one relative newcomer proving her ability of holding the screen with maximum soulfulness in a minimalist drama. Together they form an unexpected, but perfectly constructed, pair."[6]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone opened his glowing review saying "How do you make a ravishing romance about architecture? You'll find the answer with Kogonada, the video essayist and critic whose debut feature, Columbus, is a spellbinder." Wrapping up his review, Travers concluded that "Columbus is a whisper-soft debut from Kogonada that nonetheless results in something unique and unforgettable. It's pure cinema." [17]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
Gotham Independent Film Awards November 27, 2017 Best Actress Haley Lu Richardson Nominated [18]
Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award Kogonada Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
Golden Tomato Awards January 3, 2018 Best Drama Movie 2017 Columbus 5th Place [19]
Independent Spirit Awards March 3, 2018 Best First Feature Columbus Nominated [20]
Best First Screenplay Kogonada Nominated
Best Cinematography Elisha Christian Nominated
Piaget Producers Award Giulia Caruso and Ki Jin Kim Nominated

Top Ten ListsEdit

Columbus was listed as one of the best films of the year by several critics. This is a sampling.[21][22]


  1. ^ a b Boyd van Hoeij (27 January 2017). "'Columbus' Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 17 June 2017. 
  2. ^ "Columbus (2017)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 5, 2017. 
  3. ^ ‘Columbus’ independent film puts city’s landmarks in Hollywood spotlight
  4. ^ Brian Brooks (2017-08-04). "Sundance Hits 'Step' & Taylor Sheridan's 'Wind River' Blow Into Theaters – Specialty B.O. Preview". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-08-04. 
  5. ^ O'Malley, Sheila (April 20, 2018). "Columbus – Review". Ebertfest: Roger Ebert's Film Festival. 
  6. ^ a b Geoff Berkshire (2017-01-29). "'Columbus' Film Review: John Cho's Indie Romance". Variety. Retrieved 2017-06-17. 
  7. ^ Blair, Brian (2017-05-04). "Sundance to help distribute 'Columbus' movie". Retrieved 2017-06-17. 
  8. ^ Brooks, Brian (2017-08-06). "Taylor Sheridan's 'Wind River' Opens Robust – Specialty Box Office". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-08-24. 
  9. ^ Brooks, Brian (2017-08-13). "'Ingrid Goes West' Scores A Top 2017 Average – Specialty Box Office". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-08-24. 
  10. ^ Brooks, Brian (2017-08-20). "Samuel Goldwyn's 'Gook' Tops Newcomers – Specialty Box Office". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-08-24. 
  11. ^ Blair, Brian (2017-10-16). "Record-setting local run of 'Columbus' ends — for now". TheRepublic. Retrieved 2017-10-18. 
  12. ^ "Columbus (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved August 15, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Columbus reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved August 15, 2017. 
  14. ^ "'Columbus' Review: Haley Lu Richardson Lends Immense Heart to Architecture Porn | BAMFest". Collider. Retrieved June 28, 2017. 
  15. ^ Oliver Jones (2017-08-03). "Quiet 'Columbus' is a Cinematic Love Story for Modernist Architecture". Observer. Retrieved 2017-08-24. 
  16. ^ Chris Nashawaty (2017-08-04). "'Columbus' is a charming and beautiful indie debut: EW review". Retrieved 2017-08-24. 
  17. ^ Travers, Peter (2017-08-03). "Peter Travers: 'Columbus' Is a Modern-Day 'Before Sunrise'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-08-24. 
  18. ^ Erbland, Kate (October 19, 2017). "'Get Out' Leads 2017 Gotham Awards Nominations". IndieWire. Retrieved October 19, 2017. 
  19. ^ "Golden Tomato Awards - Best of 2017". Rotten Tomatoes. January 3, 2017. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  20. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 21, 2017). "Spirit Award Nominations: 'Call Me By Your Name', 'Lady Bird', 'Get Out', 'The Rider', 'Florida Project' Best Pics". Deadline. Retrieved November 21, 2017. 
  21. ^ "Best of 2017: Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Retrieved 2017-12-19. 
  22. ^ "Sam Mauro's Top 10 Favorite Movies of 2017". Retrieved 2017-12-29. 

Additional SourcesEdit

External linksEdit