Thursday, March 15, 2018

SXSW with Abe: Boundaries

I’m so excited to be attending the film festival at South by Southwest for the first time, and I’ll be posting reviews throughout the week as I see as many movies as possible!

Directed by Shana Feste

Christopher Plummer and Vera Fermiga star in the film

No person’s relationship with their parents is perfect. Those who have gotten along pleasantly for the majority of their lives without much incident will experience difficulty saying goodbye once the time comes when a parent is dying. An uncomfortable dynamic doesn’t necessarily make things any easier since there are unreconciled issues that exist and have limited time to be resolved when a fatal diagnosis is revealed or a person’s age or state reaches a point where the end seems near, and parting can be a problematic and highly emotional process.

Director Shana Feste discusses the film

Laura (Vera Farmiga) lives in Seattle with her son Henry (Lewis MacDougall) and doesn’t have a great grip on her life. She works as an executive assistant to her rich friend, feels the need to lie to her therapist, and can’t stop rescuing animals, starting out with nine furry creatures in her bed at the opening of the film. Henry is expelled from school and her father, Jack (Christopher Plummer), is kicked out of his retirement home at the same time, prompting a road trip down to Los Angeles to drop Jack off to live with Laura’s sister JoJo (Kristen Schaal), with Jack trying to unload a good amount of marijuana along the way with the help of his grandson.

Vera Farmiga, Lewis MacDougall and Yahya Abdul-Mateen discuss the film

Laura is intended to be someone who realizes that she has no control of what’s going on around her but still clings steadfastly to certain ideals about how people should behave, emphasizing humanity towards animals and reacting quizzically to her son’s penchant for drawing naked portraits of everyone he meets. She has no love for the father who always has an ulterior motive, and she sees herself as an imperfect influence for the son whose life she can shape into something great if a little off-center from the norm given his tendencies not to conform to anything around him. A road trip serves as a predictably informative and therapeutic way for these three to learn a lot about who they each are.

Vera Farmiga discusses the film

Farmiga, who spent a while on “Bates Motel” after breakout roles in films like “The Departed” and “Up in the Air,” is a very funny lead here, committed to her character’s blind passion for rescuing animals and for failing constantly to steer clear of disaster. Plummer, fresh off his third Oscar nomination at the age of 88, is typically excellent, and his comedic abilities shouldn’t be underestimated. MacDougall is a wonderful breakout, matching the two adults he shares screen time with, and the ensemble is rounded out by entertaining supporting turns from Schaal, Christopher Lloyd, and Dolly Wells. This road movie may not be fully fresh, but it’s entirely enjoyable and very clever.


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