dir-scr Timothy McNeil
prd Micah Hauptman, Ofrit Peres, Louise Runge
with John Carroll Lynch, Matt Bomer, Maura Tierney, Margot Bingham, Micah Hauptman, Christopher Thornton, Tanner Buchanan, Melora Hardin, Michael Boatman, Bonnie McNeil, Roxy Wood, Gia Ryan
release US 11.May.18
17/US 1h34
Love is love: Lynch and Bomer

tierney bingham hardin
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Anything A warm, personal drama about a middle-aged man trying to reassemble his life, this film gently worms its way under the skin with strong characters who are beautifully played by an eclectic cast. At its core, this is a story about community and belonging, and also how the best connections often come in the least likely places. The narrative is loose and meandering, but the emotional journey is sharp and provocative.

Feeling suicidal after the death of his wife, Early (Lynch) has little choice but to move from Mississippi to live with his intense sister Laurette (Tierney), her husband (Thornton) and teen son(Buchanan) in Los Angeles. But Early needs some independence, so he rents an apartment, much to Laurette's annoyance, in one of Hollywood's more colourful streets. Soon meets his lively collection of misfit neighbours, including the lively tranny hooker Freda (Bomer) next door, plus the soulful singer Brianna (Bingham) and her junkie-rocker boyfriend David (Hauptman).

There's an earthy honesty to the way the film is written, directed and acted, with as much conveyed through the long silences as through the dialog. Using sharp-edged humour and dark drama, writer-director McNeil vividly captures the unhinged nature of Los Angeles life, where disparate people find themselves relying on each other for emotional support in the face of the cruelty of the streets and dreams that haven't quite gone as planned. Common ground emerges in unexpected ways, deepening the bonds between them.

The offbeat connection between Early and Freda is beautifully played by Lynch and Bomer, very different people who share many of the same issues and yearnings. Lynch makes Early wounded but open-minded, while Bomer gives Freda a high-strung intensity, especially as they work together to break their addictions. In this sense, Bomer's role is basically one scene-stealing moment after another, but he also adds layers of real resonance. And it's important that Freda's gender identity is never explored: it doesn't matter whether she's a trans woman or a cross-dressing gay man. She is who she is.

For all of its easy warmth, the film travels into some very dark places, including one scene of appalling judgementalism played unflinchingly by Tierney. The collisions between these damaged people are both promising and harrowing, and the script never takes an easy route through the clashes. So the most important message here is about the importance of shaking free of fear to show respect to the people around us. And to embrace love wherever we find it.

cert 15 themes, language, drugs, sexuality 1.May.18

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