Monday, June 14, 2021

Tribeca with Abe: No Future

I’ve had the pleasure this year of screening a number of selections virtually from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which runs June 9th-20th.

No Future
Directed by Mark Smoot and Andrew Irvine
2020 Official Selection: Features – Screening Information

The loss of a friend or loved one leaves a hole and a longing which may be extremely difficult to fill. Acquaintances who knew the same person may turn to each other for comfort, forming a new kind of relationship in the process based on shared grief and a mutual understanding of what the other is feeling. In some cases, that may be enduring and lasting, while others will be impulsive and run counter to existing dynamics and established patterns. Immersion into something that conflicts with a person’s routine and life, however instantly therapeutic, may ultimately prove damaging and problematic.

Will (Charlie Heaton) is a recovering addict and on a decent track, attending meetings frequently and maintaining a healthy relationship with Becca (Rosa Salazar). When an old friend overdoses and dies, Charlie is brought back into an all-too-familiar world, and finds a fellow griever in the form of his friend’s mother, Claire (Catherine Keener). The chance to reencounter someone from her son’s life injects a feeling of warmth and comfort into Claire’s deep sorrow, and she and Will establish an unexpected connection as they struggle to move forward with their lives in the absence of a shared loved one.

This is a relatively grim film, one that doesn’t find many opportunities for joy. What Will and Claire provide for each other is solace and nostalgia, and the fact that their relationship turns sexual speaks to a fulfillment they both need rather than either of them standing in for a best friend or child, respectively. While Claire has few people to surround her, Will’s newfound bond with Claire pulls him away from Becca, threatening one constant source of stability as he wanders back towards a place where he was dependent not on people but on substances to keep himself alert and alive.

This film features two very strong performances that make its characters feel three-dimensional and sympathetic, conveying the experiences they have had to audiences who may not have been through the same loss and utter devastation. Heaton, a more comedic ensemble player in “Stranger Things,” gives a fine dramatic turn here, while Keener, an established actress with many notable credits, taps into the desperation for a connection and some link to her deceased child that comes through emotionally and compellingly. This film’s bleak title offers a fair preview of its contents, which probe interesting territory and, like the characters, aren’t able to find an enduring way of crawling out of the misery.


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