(director: Emma Westenberg; screenwriters: Ruby Caster, from a story Clara McGregor developed with Ruby Caster; cinematographer: Christopher Ripley; editor: Autumn Dea; music: Raven Aartsen; cast: Clara McGregor (Daughter), Ewan McGregor (Father), Kim Zimmer (Elsie), Devyn McDowell (Young Daughter), Jake Weary (Kip), Vera Bulder (Tommy, prostitute); Runtime: 102; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Mark Amin, Christine Vachon, Clara McGregor, Vera Bulder, Greg Lauritano, Mason Plotts, Cami Winikoff; Vertical/Killer Films; 2024)

“Powerful performances.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The formidable domestic drama by Emma Westenberg (“Stranger’s Arms”) is a minimalist road movie that is craftily written by Ruby Caster to show how harmful a parent can be even if meaning well. It’s set in the desolate west, which sets the apt mood for the bleak film. It’s based on a story Clara McGregor developed with Ruby Caster.

It involves a piss poor relationship between a flawed father (Ewan McGregor), a reformed alcoholic, who has since remarried and has a young boy, and his downer opiate using 20-year-old daughter (Clara McGregor, his real daughter). The daughter strongly wanting to forge her own identity, while the father wants to try to make a real connection with his daughter.

He’s driving her in his pickup truck from San Diego for her to stay with his artist friend in a house in New Mexico. Along the way they encounter various characters who are zany, dangerous or rednecks. They must also deal with their strained relationship.

The fictional story covers familiar ground and at first seems slight, but the pair give powerful performances enriching the story. It shows the daughter has at least inherited from her super-star father an ability to act.

It played at SXSW.