(director: Andrew Ahn; screenwriters: Hannah Bos, Paul Thureen; cinematographer: Ki Jin Kim; editor: Katherine McQuerrey; music: Jay Wadlie; cast: Brian Dennehy (Del), Hong Chau (Kathy), Lucas Jaye (Cody), Christine Ebersole (Linda), Jerry Adler (Del’s actor pal); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Joe Pirro, James Schamus, Nicolaas Bertelsen, Celine Rattray, Trudie Styler; CinemaWerks/Maven Pictures; 2019)
“The result is a sincerely moving low-key optimistic heart-felt film about trying to survive with the help of others, who are also trying to get by with their own problems.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The Korean-American Andrew Ahn (“Spa Night”) directs this charming slice-of-life drama of outsiders bonding in small town America. In this rich character-driven drama what stands out is the excellent performances by Hong Chau, Lucas Jaye and Brian Dennehy.
It’s effectively written as a conflict-free drama by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen, who made their mark in the theater. The modest film about the benefits of small town life was shot in Poughkeepsie, New York, where the writers were students together at Vassar. It screened in Berlin.
The divorced Korean-American Kathy (Hong Chau), an aspiring nurse, brings her young sensitive son Cody (Lucas Jaye) to help clean out her estranged dead older sister’s upstate N. Y. house in order to sell it. Problem arises that her sister was a hoarder and clean-up will take some time. There’s not much to the story but a bunch of small moments. We can connect with its very real sympathetic characters and the inferences given to how so many Americans are vexed by financial hardships, family problems, their battles over loneliness and the struggles with aging. The new arrivals are cautiously received by their reserve and reclusive neighbor Del (Brian Dennehy), who eventually takes a liking to the fatherless child and warmly interacts with him in a fatherly way on his porch.
There’s also the presence of the longtime actor friend of Del, wonderfully played by Jerry Adler, who suffers from dementia, but still is treated with dignity.Christine Ebersole plays an intrusive grandmother in the neighborhood.
The result is a sincerely moving low-key optimistic heart-felt film about trying to survive with the help of others, who are also trying to get by with their own problems.
REVIEWED ON 2/1/2019 GRADE: B+ https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/