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Do not look for the trite old suburban stereotype in 3 Backyards, as told in typically quaint 20th Century tales, when American suburbanites were portrayed as people condemned to purgatory for having sold their souls to a capitalist devil, suffering in angst in their pointless "consumer-based society" in "little boxes all the same" as they vainly seek a desolate "American Dream."
Do not look for this two-dimensional vision in the desperate young job-seeking African woman in the film who bravely is trying to carve out for herself a fourth backyard there.
The people in the three tales from three backyards are three dimensional, and très sympathiques. They are human and frail as they work their way through their own personal demons on a typical day in a typical suburb, where the living looks pretty good.
The tale of the little girl who navigates herself through a day-long snafu is nothing less than a good episode of Leave It to Beaver, from an era before it was cool to bash suburbs.
If the life of the suburban housewife "artiste" in a second tale were so tragic and bleak because of the suburbs, why was the exotic movie star the one who started the cry-fest?
Though a marital crisis in a third tale could turn out tragic, the love and poignancy among the family bode otherwise.
In the facing panels of this triptych tale the scale of human tragedy is "bittersweet," at worst. Life can be this way, regardless of locale.
Disclaimer: The writer of this review is a suburb-o-phobe, with nothing but bad memories of infrequenting car-centric living areas -- but there is no call to get political about the people who like them.
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