Mandalay Vision, Saint Aire Production, 10th Hole Productions

Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson, Yaya DaCosta, Kunal Sharma, Eddie Hassell, Zosia Mamet, Joaquin Garrido, Robecca Lawrence

Nic and Jules (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore) are committed in a loving, but certainly strained, relationship.  Each was artificially inseminated and they had two children, a boy and a girl.  Nic is a doctor and s very controlling and demanding whereas Jules is kind of happy to have someone in charge as she is very insecure, and has struggled with her brand new career as a landscaper.  In the past she has failed at most jobs and spent most of the time as a stay at home mom.  The children Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutherson) are teens, Joni is 18 and Laser is 15.   Laser very much wants to know who their sperm donor father is, but you must be 18 to inquire and if the donor refuses it is kept secret.  Laser begs Joni to request the name.   The father is Paul (Mark Ruffalo) a co-op farmer and a restaurant owner, though he has always shirked any kind of responsibility.  Reluctantly Joni agrees to try to contact him for her brother.  They meet, but both Paul and Laser want to try to build some kind of bond, so they start to bring Paul into the family bit by bit.  The mom’s agree, for Laser’s sake, but it gets uncomfortable as he gets more and more involved.  Paul hires Jules to landscape his yard, and the two spend much more time in the bedroom than actually working on the yard.  This triggers Nic’s jealousy and as things progress it really gets out of control for everyone.

This is a strange film.  I cannot say I was completely blown away by it, neither did I hate it.  Sort of like a syncopated rhythm, it keeps you off balance all the time and you always feel you’re a little too close to the edge of the cliff and about to fall all the time.  If I were to describe it, like Stephen Wright once said,  “You know that feeling when you’re leaning back on your chair and it goes a little too far and you feel like you’re going to fall but you catch yourself at the last second???  Well I feel like that all the time.”   That’s the feeling this movie gives.  It’s nice that Jules has feelings for Paul, but what the heck?  Everyone is pretty creepy and a little off.  Eventually though, most of the chaos gets resolved, and all in all it’s not a bad movie.  It’s just not hitting on all cylinders and missing the mark a little bit.  For example, the love scenes between Jules and Paul are not extremely graphic, but it feels really uncomfortable watching it, and I found myself looking away, feeling almost embarrassed for the actress.  Also, there seemed to be something going on between Paul and his daughter Joni, but that is too creepy to even think about.  It’s only hinted, but it also causes you to feel uncomfortable.  Perhaps that’s what the director is going for, an uncomfortable and unflinching look at real life without any filters.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog



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