Beautifully Directed, Flawlessly Acted Family Ensemble Piece
I had the pleasure of attending a premiere screening of this wonderful film at the Montreal International Film Festival with the director, Hyatt Bass, and actor Harris Yulin (Rick, the main character's father) in attendance. The film is primarily about the tension caused by the return home of Letty, a strong-willed, free spirited artist (played by Karen Silas), which upsets the carefully balanced facade of happiness put up by her family. From her sister Kay (Heidi Swedberg), a former singer stifled by maternal guilt and marital constraints, who eventually brims over with jealousy towards Letty's artistic and personal accomplishments, to her mother, who longs for something greater than "a trip down the coast", Letty's impact is palpable.
Michael Barrett's cinematography plays a crucial role in "75 Degrees in July." The film is resplendent with gorgeous Texan scenery to the point where it actually plays a supporting character: the shadows and the colours are absolutely stunning, and truly give one the sensation of being immersed in the sweltering beauty of a Texan ranch. My sole qualm with the film is the overuse of fading from scene to scene, but I'm just a nitpicky little bugger :-)
All in all, "75 Degrees in July" is a stunning debut for Hyatt Bass, and the entire cast and crew should be commended for their efforts.
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