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Dan Rivera González
Real estate developers descend upon a sleepy coastal Florida community with the promise of big money and bigger changes. Torn between honoring family obligations and the lure of quick cash, the locals greet the outsiders with a wildly mixed reception. Marly Temple is eager to give in and sell the family business to start over her life. As caretaker of her father's motel and cafe, she has grown resentful of missed opportunities. However, she finds a glimmer of hope in a tentative romance with a visiting landscape architect. Desiree Perry left town many years ago to escape a scandal and make a name for herself as an actress. Reluctantly returning home, she finds her strong willed mother unwilling to let go of the past. Written by
Susan C. Mitchell <email@example.com>
I understand that people have different expectations of low-budget, arthouse movies. I also know that John Sayles has a sort of glow about him, that earthy, intellectual anti-hollywood vibe, a la Tim Robbins, the Coen brothers and Atom Egoyan, that makes him a darling with the critics from the get-go.
But this is not a good movie. I'm sorry, it just isn't.
It meanders. It has too many characters. Its tone is uneven, its point of view is muddled, the acting is all over the board, from naturalistic to over the top. It lingers for long moments with minor characters we don't care about and cuts away from tense scenes just when things are getting good.
It misses the mark.
The worst flaw in the movie is that the two closest things to a protagonist, Edie Falco's Marly and Angela Bassett's Desiree, are straight-jacketed in characters that have no drive. Marly is an apathetic drunk, steeped in her life's own inertia. Desiree is a woman trapped in her own repressed pain. When your two main characters' world-views can be summed up with the phrases "I don't care" and "I want to leave here," why should the audience give a rat's patootie?
I'll be plain: Sayles writes funny dialogue. He's very adept at crafting a scene. The problem is, these scenes don't go anywhere. There's no spine to the movie. No drive. The movie doesn't create rooting interest in any of the characters. In my opinion, he's also too preachy about big bad corporate America gobbling up the little guy.
If you want to see a quality "small" movie, see David Lynch's "Straight Story." Pass this one up.
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