Will (Josh Hopkins), a charming 35-year-old Philadelphia ad man, heads to Lebanon, Pa. to bury his recently deceased father. He forms an unexpected friendship with CJ (Rachel Kitson), his ...
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A high-powered New York publicist finds herself in Montana promoting a charity calendar after being betrayed by her boss and fiancé. Unfortunately, matters of the heart are just as complicated in the wilds as they are in the big city.
Will (Josh Hopkins), a charming 35-year-old Philadelphia ad man, heads to Lebanon, Pa. to bury his recently deceased father. He forms an unexpected friendship with CJ (Rachel Kitson), his bright, newly pregnant 17-year-old cousin. As Will becomes interested in CJ's married teacher (Samantha Mathis) and CJ confronts her conflicted father, both struggle with formidable decisions about the path their lives will take. Can we vault our differences and meet in the middle? This bittersweet comic drama tenderly explores the cultural divide in America through the lives of one extended family. Written by
LEBANON, PA. is a quiet little conversational film that is a microcosm of the interrelationships of families and the issues that affect us all. It is this straight forward, no pretenses stance that makes the film work. The story takes place in the town of Lebanon, Pennsylvania and is portrayed as a place where values are traditional and immutable. But after viewing the film, one wonders if the reference to this very church- oriented place might be the biblical one: Jeremiah 22:23 'O inhabitant of Lebanon, nested among the cedars, how you will groan when pangs come upon you, pain as of a woman in travail!' Just a passing thought....
A death has occurred at film's beginning: Will (Josh Hopkins, another actor to add to the Hunk list) has driven form his advertising firm in Philadelphia for the funeral of his distant father, a teacher and toy boat maker who left his family when Will was young to live in this picturesque but doggedly small town mentality haven. He stays with his cousin Andy (Ian Merrill Peakes), a devout Catholic whose wife died giving birth to his second child Chase (Hunter Gallagher). His daughter CJ (Rachel Kitson) is the woman of the house despite the fact that she is only seventeen and in high school. Will attends the sparse funeral of his father: his mother (Mary Beth Hurt) is conspicuously absent, preferring to remain in Philadelphia because of her longterm resentment of he departed husband. Will finds the slow motion of Lebanon enticing, makes regular visits to the local bar (Christopher Mann plays the observant bartender) where he meets school teacher Vicki (Samantha Mathis), hits on her, falls for her only to discover she is married.
CJ has a problem: she is pregnant by classmate Pete (Josh Hunt) but has told no one - until she shares her with Will, a man she feels she can trust. CJ has dreams of attending college in Philadelphia but her current pregnant status threatens that. She is faced with a major decision: keep the pregnancy and put the child up for adoption or terminate the pregnancy to get on with her life. Will is supportive as is Vicki with out telling CJ what to do but assuring her she has options. Andy discovers CJ's secret (as does the entire gossipy town) and on religious grounds demands that she have the baby. How CJ comes to a decision is as tough as the decision Vicki must make about her deep feelings, reciprocated, for Will, and Will must decide whether to follow his father's pathway to isolation form the city or maintain his status quo. The interaction of all these characters results in some tough but realistic decisions about those things we all face in life.
Ben Hickernill wrote and directed this film which at times feels like a Hallmark special and at other times like a solid and brave little statement about the cultural divide in America.
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