Michael and Jenna, having been a couple for three years, want to get married and start a family. These plans seem to be well on their way when Jenna announces that she's pregnant. But ... See full summary »
Two teens tell stories about their lives while waiting at a bus stop. Judith and her brother have suffered a nomadic existence with their semi-professional ballroom dancing parents, who are now past their prime. Jimmy tells two tales. One about two women who meet up with a high-roller in Atlantic City. The second is about an infertile woman's marriage to a religious fanatic. The three stories are told in anthology style. Meanwhile, bus station denizens wander in and out. Chief among these are a bag lady and a fat cop. Written by
John Sacksteder <email@example.com>
A powerful movie that sneaks up on you, highly recommended.
This is a film drawn from the literature of Joyce Carol Oates, a synthesis of several short stories written into a powerful script which really highlights the talents and abilities of this cast. Well-acted, well-directed, and technically excellent, this film has superior production values in every way.
Heather Matarazzo is brilliantly believable in her role as Judith, an apparently quiet and vulnerable young woman, who we find is strong and resilient once we get to know her better. She, Zach Braff as her brother, Wesley, and Michael Weston as Jimmy, the denizen of the bus station, form the core of this powerful ensemble piece. The characters are played with real personality and a lack of stereotype.
Judith and Wesley are the above-average children of Trix and Darrell, two initially likable, but dysfunctional, parents outstandingly depicted by Bebe Neuwirth and Mark Blum. In its way, this is the antithesis of many "teen" movies, and refreshingly so. Part of the strength of the movie is that nothing is obvious, nothing gift-wrapped, the complex characters never fully explained.
The supporting cast is uniformly excellent, a tribute not only to the actors themselves, but undoubtedly to the fine directing as well.
A brilliant piece of writing, the story is both simple and complex. It is slowly revealed, rather than simply told, and at every point along the way, you are engaged in its unfolding. Vignettes carry the story along, some told from the point of view of Jimmy, the mysterious kid in the bus station, others through the recollections of Wesley and Judith. Slowly, the characters, and we, come to understand their own reality.
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