(director: Michael Morris; screenwriter: Ryan Binaco; cinematographer: Larkin Seiple; editor: Chris McCaleb; music: Linda Perry; cast: Andrea Riseborough (Leslie), Marc Maron (Sweeney), Allison Janney (Nancy), Owen Teague (James), Andre Royo (Royal), Stephen Root (Dutch), James Landry Herbert (Pete), Matt Lauria (Handsome Outlaw), Catfish Jean (Darren); Runtime: 119; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Claude Dal Farra, Brian Keady, Kelsey Law, Ceci Cleary, Philip Waley, Jason Shuman, Eduardo Cisneros: BCDF Pictures; 2022)

“The film’s outstanding performance belongs to Riseborough, who is simply splendid.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The Michael Morris addiction film has the former TV director and producer in his feature debut as director. The writer is Ryan Binaco. The story is about a West Texas single mother, Leslie (Andrea Riseborough), from a small town, who wins $190,000 in lotto and squanders it over six years. She then tries to put her life back together after being an alcoholic and hitting rock bottom. Ryan’s script tells through his lead the story of his alcoholic mother without easing up to show how difficult it can be dealing with destructive alcoholics.

Eventually, after living it up as a drunk and bouncing around (failing to get back together with her grown son), Leslie returns to her hometown. There the lonely Sweeney (Marc Maron) and his former acid head partner Royal (Andre Royo), run the local motel, and give her the opportunity to get back on her feet, as she takes a job cleaning the motel rooms and thereby learns how to clean up her act. Each day becomes a desperate struggle to maintain sobriety, all in the hope that she can build a better life and make up with her estranged 19-year-old son James (Owen Teague), a construction worker living in an unnamed big city.

There’s a powerful performance by Allison Janney as one-half of the couple who were Leslie’s friends, with the other half being Stephen Root, until Leslie made it impossible for either of them to remain friends.

The film’s outstanding performance belongs to Riseborough, who is simply splendid, in a pitch-perfect performance, as she fights through her battle scars to be on the road to possibly recovery (making the bleak film a little cheerier in the last chapter).


REVIEWED ON 4/11/2022  GRADE: B+