A compelling drama about a family coming to terms with grief. 4/5 stars
Andie MacDowell and Chris O'Dowd are surprising casting choices to play a mother and son in this emotionally raw family drama, but their performances turn out to be powerful and revelatory.
MacDowell's Suzanne loses her husband to cancer early in the film and tries to move on with her life, while her two grown-up sons, O'Dowd's philandering Nicholas and his boozy younger brother Chris (James Adomian), prove far less capable of dealing maturely with their grief.
First-time writer-director Russell Harbaugh adopts a jagged, naturalistic tone to tell their story, and allows no special pleading for his characters. MacDowell gives a nuanced, highly impressive performance, while viewers accustomed to O'Dowd's usual screen charmers will find it quite a shock to see him as a needy, passive-aggressive, emotionally incontinent jerk.
This film premieres on Tuesday 2nd July.
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A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.