There’s a fine line between “intriguingly elliptical” and “borderline incomprehensible,” and co-writer/director Russell Harbaugh tramples all over it in this frustrating family melodrama. It opens as Suzanne (Andie MacDowell) is facing the impending death of her terminally-ill husband, Glenn (Gareth Williams) with the help of her two sons, Nick (Chris O’Dowd) and Chris (James Adomian). The focus, however, is on the relationship between Suzanne and Nick, which is clearly tangled and not entirely healthy, which Harbaugh emphasizes in various potentially compelling ways, including paired shots of them with entwined with their respective romantic partners. But the narrative repeatedly flits between episodes without landing long enough for clarity about the characters’ behavior: Why is university drama faculty member Suzanne so hostile to one young student? What is Chris’s story beyond his one drunken humiliation and a stand-up comedy routine? Everything here is about mood and hints of consequence, suggesting histories and tensions between characters that the movie maddeningly refuses to explore. These people may be unhappy and messed-up, but it would be nice to have even the faintest idea as to why.
Director: Russell Harbaugh
Producer: Lauren Haber, Lucas Joaquin, Michael Prall, Jim Reeve and Jay Van Hoy
Cast: Andie MacDowell, Chris O'Dowd, James Adomian, Juliet Rylance, Dree Hemingway, Francesca Faridany, Seth Barrish, Marlene Brown, Paul Brown and Romy Byrne