Monday, April 30, 2018

Talking Tribeca: All These Small Moments

I’ve had the pleasure this year of screening a number of selections from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which takes place April 18th-29th.

All These Small Moments
Directed by Melissa Miller Costanzo
Spotlight Narrative

Many people become friends as a result of their similar daily interactions, be it a neighbor, a parent whose child goes to the same school or plays the same sport, a waiter or vendor, or anything else. Often, the relationship begins in an unspoken or unrecognized way, where paths cross repeatedly and conversation eventually erupts, leading to the development of an unexpected relationship based merely on the same schedule. Eventually, when circumstances change and that routine ceases, either the interaction continues purposely at a new place or a new level, or it evaporates completely.

Howie (Brendan Meyer) rides the bus with his brother Simon (Sam McCarthy) to school every day, and he can’t take his eyes off Odessa (Jemima Kirke), who always sits in the same seat just a few rows ahead of him. As his parents Carla (Molly Ringwald) and Tom (Brian d’Arcy James) behave increasingly hostilely to each other and their marriage shows signs of breaking down, Howie tries to stay focused on school, meeting a girl named Lindsay (Harley Quinn Smith) who clearly likes him but can’t possibly compete with this alluring older woman who intrigues him every morning.

Director Melissa Miller Costanzo discusses the film

This is the kind of story that features the whole family, with established actors Ringwald and James receiving top billing but young stars McCarthy and Meyer in particular getting just as much, if not more, screen time. Howie is the one who is pining for a woman he doesn’t even know, while Carla is yearning for something more in her marriage that the entirely absent Tom isn’t providing. Simon doesn’t express much, but the fact that everything is crumbling clearly gets to him. As its title suggests, this film is about moments, and its sum is a collection of assorted scenes from the lives of these four people.

Stars Brendan Meyer and Sam McCarthy discuss the film

Meyer and McCarthy were present at a Q and A following a screening of the film at Tribeca and received a very deservingly warm reception for their breakthrough performances, making these teenagers feel real and relatable. Ringwald and James accomplish the same for the older generation and Kirke, in one of her most muted turns to date, plays Odessa exactly as she should appear to an admiring teenage boy, which helps gives the film the structure it needs. While not all of its storylines are resolved to an empathetically satisfactory degree, and the film seems to rush towards its conclusion without much warning, this is a fine and enjoyable film with some great moments, big and small.


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