|SHADOWS ON THE WALL | REVIEWS | NEWS | FESTIVAL | AWARDS | Q&A | ABOUT | TALKBACK|
dir Daisy von Scherler Mayer
scr Neil LaBute
prd Andrew Carlberg, Chris Schwartz, Patty West
with Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, Emily Watson, Zoe Kazan, Mia Maestro, Jennifer Morrison, Laura Perloe, Kathleen Christy
release US 28.Jun.13
It's not you, it's him: Brody and Bell
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
A series of face-off scenes, this provocative relationship drama makes us wonder how men and women ever come together. The essential theme is that we hurt each other even when we don't mean to. And it's so sharply written and played that it leaves us shaken, thinking about things we might have done in the past.
A 30-something writer (Brody) flies into Seattle to meet up with his high school girlfriend Sam (Morrison), who's now married with kids. He wants to talk about what happened when they broke up. "You ended it," she corrects him. It turns out that he's trying to clear his relational baggage before getting married. But as he meets Tyler (Maestro) in Chicago, Lindsay (Watson) in Boston, Reggie (Kazan) back in Seattle and Bobbi (Bell) in Los Angeles, he begins to understand that he was always the problem.
LaBute writes the women as fantasy figures: Sam is the good girl, Tyler is the sex pot, Lindsay is older and experienced, Reggie is the best friend's saucy little sister, and Bobbi is smart and hot with an identical twin. Thankfully, they're nicely played by an adept cast that injects subtext into every theatrical encounter (Watson is exceptional, Kazan has the most haunting role). Opposite them, Brody's character seems weak, shallow, self-absorbed and eerily charming.
"Funny how much you know about women ... now," says Sam sarcastically. Indeed, his "apologies" are a blame game. He wants to make sure each woman is OK, but opens old wounds by skirting around the truth while making false discoveries about himself. But then knowing the truth doesn't always make things better. And along the way, he's forced to see how flawed and ordinary he is, despite his high opinion of himself.
Director Mayer makes the most of the strikingly pungent dialog. "I want to make it better," he says. "You want to, or you're going to?" Lindsay snaps. As the film progresses, it becomes lacerating comment on the lies we tell ourselves about who we are and what we've done. And the awful things we do to people to get them to like us. None of this is very subtle, and LaBute never attempts to transcends the stage structure. But it really gets under the skin, even if a final revelation lets us off the hook.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
|Still waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.|
© 2013 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
HOME | REVIEWS | NEWS | FESTIVAL | AWARDS | Q&A | ABOUT | TALKBACK