Written & Directed By: David Gordon Green
Based On The Novel By: Stewart O’Nan
Cinematography By: Tim Orr
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Thirlby, Amy Sedaris, Tom Noonan, Nicky Katt
On a cold afternoon, with snow on the ground, the high school band is practicing for the last football game. They hear shots. Flashback a few weeks before. Arthur is a high school student, bussing at a restaurant. Annie and Barb are waitresses there – Annie was Arthur’s babysitter when he was little. She’s now separated from her husband Glenn, who’s on the wagon, starting a new job, praying to Jesus, and trying to prove he has his balance back so he can see more of their small daughter, Tara. Annie’s seeing someone else, Arthur’s parents have just separated, and Arthur is attracted to Lila, a new student at the high school. It’s a small town, people’s lives cross.
consider this a coming of age film less for centering around kids which most coming of age films caress at the center even though this film does have teenage characters this is more of a coming of age film for the adults who populate this story it is a sobering story that shows that most of these characters in there own way need to grow up and are in the process of doing it.
It’s a story that is all about showing emotional hardships, it also is different to see a story of a shooting that involves high school students and isn’t oroiginated by them.
The main story of Annie and Glen are like two characters who populate a country song once in love and as they grow older seperate but find they need each other because the days of dreams are coming to a end and reality is hitting hardcore. I think there story will ring true with a lot of audience members as it is a story that is happening more and more in different cultures around the world.
The film just like it’s snowy scenery has a emotional coldness and stillness that adds a hovering cloud of doom and desperation that is a cloud that never leaves this film.
The film is quietly powerful and affecting. it’s a snapshot of a movie that has so much buried in it that comes to the surface, but leaves you to read between the lines. It also hints atsomething more and deeper. More rich and illuminating then it is fully ready to tell. Making the characters feel lived in and realistic.
The True Revelation here is Kate Beckinsale I have never really seen her in a dramatic part before and she goes with full flying colors she is excellent especially in the quiet emotional moments she has as much talent as she has beauty. Not that the rest of the cast is weak it is surprising to see Amy Sedaris who I have only seen in comedies in a dramatic part for once it’s a nice change. Sam Rockwell is good but I have come so accustomed to seeing him do great in any role he has taken it’s just a given he is going to be excellent why he is not touted in the same great acting circles as Ryan Gosling and Leonardo Dicaprio is puzzling maybe because he is rarely in studio films and constantly is working in the independent film arena.
David Gordon Green continues his style as the modern equivalent to Terrence Malick as chronicler of small town American life and exposes more of the reality of the situations that characters find themselves in without overdoing it as much as mainstream cinema will allow. I mean he doesn’t make Mumblecore movie about hipsters or go with ultra realism as Kelly Richert director of old joy but he definatley has a original voice all his own when it comes to cinema he is a gifted director and this film isn’t a disappointment not as good as his previous work but a good standard
I say rent but prepared it’s not a feel good film which makes it all the more realistic people don’t pay for being wrong or bad life just goes on nothing comes out the way you expect it too.