The Daytrippers (1996)
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The Daytrippers involves a woman (Davis) whose resolve that she is happily married is tested when she finds an excerpt from a love poem that fell from her husband's (Tucci) clothes. She elects to go to her mother (Meara) for advice and ends up going on a day trip to NYC to ask her husband about it. Along for the ride is her father, (McNamara) her sister, (Posey) and her sister's boyfriend (Schrieber). Of course, if they were able to simply confront her husband it would be easy; unfortunately he is no where to be found, so they willingly engage in amateur sleuthing to put together the story while they drive around the city looking for him.
The plot is a fairly simple one, but the character development is the true star of the film. While Parker Posey is known best for playing `quirky yet intelligent' characters, her role seems more of a natural addition in this film rather than a run-of-the-mill portrayal for her. Meara is nearly maddening as a meddling mother, and McNamara, a well established character actor is heartbreakingly sweet as the weary father. Davis and Tucci are both fantastic as usual, and while Tucci's role is a small one, he exhibits his usual passion that makes him an exciting actor. Davis gives her character a palpable fragility that just barely makes room for the modicum of strength that is holding her together. In my opinion, the true breakout star of the film is Schrieber as Carl Petrovic, `the boyfriend'. His character has so many facets to his personality and becomes such a complex study that is so rare in a supporting character. And Schrieber's portrayal is brilliant and both comedic and heart-breaking in it's subtle profundity. Schreiber has been on my radar since I saw him in RKO 281 brilliantly portraying one of my personal heroes, Orson Welles, and after viewing this performance I plan to seek out more of his work.
The Daytrippers has been an independent film darling for years now and I can see why. It is an intelligent, emotional and well-written and acted film that will hold an appeal for most who take the time to view it.
This movie is so sweet in its examination of family loyalty and so honest in its examination of long-failed relationships in denial that I feel it is easily one of the most satisfying video rentals I've ever experienced. There's enough comedy throughout to provide laughs (especially any and all jokes at the expense of Liev Schreiber's pretentious novelist) and the realistic sisterly affection shared by Parker Posey and Hope Davis is genuinely touching.
Also provides a subtle examination of the Long Islander's relationship to Manhattan - the latter acting as an unfamiliar, answerless maze through which the family has to pass in order to find the truth.
Eliza (Hope Davis) packs up her family to question her husband (Stanley Tucci) about a mysterious love note found in their bedroom. Including her wild sister (Parker Posey), her enlightened boyfriend (Liev Schreiber) and her annoying overbearing mother (Anne Meara), Eliza encounters doubts about her husband and her family also realizes the importances of their own relationships. Lots of surprises! Great performances! Great low budget film. Parker Rocks!
The key to Daytrippers is not the plot, which never fails to keep you watching, but the dialogue and the situations. Pay close attention to the characters that the family meets in the city. They all embody some kind of contradictions that make you think a little bit. Look for the scene where Marc Grapey begins describing his sexual exploits by condemning such practices.
If you are looking for a drama that provokes you, this is one of them. There are no happy endings and none of the issues raised are resolved. Fans of Parker Posey will especially enjoy her performance in this one.
It didn't look too hopeful, yet another slice of Indie-movie life, but the quality of the writing began to overwhelm my negative feelings. A very nice ensemble piece and for once a good plot, with characters engaging enough not to have you trying to second-guess what was going to happen next.
The direction was a little dull, but this is a film about words and if you are wiling to accept that then this is an excellent way to spend a couple of hours in some decent company. There are plenty of laughs in there as well.