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Small, Beautifully Moving Parts is a tiny, mostly insignificant film, but Anna Margaret Hollyman gives a honest performance that will hopefully spawn a successful career. This is her show and she makes this simple, straightforward material worth watching. It's an acting piece that's poorly shot, but despite being crudely made, it's never boring and a pretty sincere no budget film.
Definitely better than its low IMDb score and worth a viewing for the lead performance alone.
Anna Margaret Hollyman stars as Sarah, a young woman who after discovering she's pregnant, feels rather numb and lost about motherhood. She decides she will try and locate her estranged mother, who has "gone off the grid" and disconnected almost entirely from her family. Sarah thinks there must be something she can learn from her mom as to why she left, so perhaps Sarah won't repeat her mother's actions.
The movie, at only 1 hr. and 12 mins. in length, has a number of quirky elements and characters in it. I felt the characters also were not just "cookie cutouts" and were rather unpredictable, which I liked.
All in all, the film, written and directed by the team of Annie J.Howell and Lisa Robinson, had some rough edges but its quiet tone and storyline that went in directions I didn't always expect made it a decent watch for me.
Anyways, it's a very nicely made indie, a surprisingly good cast that follows a cliché story about that first baby thing, but the lead carries it off well and I enjoyed the trip. The Vegas idea worked well, but it always can do that when you're not sure where to go. I'm okay with the blonde girl and African American husband/lover, just seems to me it's become a cliché but again, I like all the characters.
Okay, being an old DP, I liked how it was shot for what was probably a minimal budget, angles were excellent and it was edited nicely, again for whatever the cost was.
While this baby/uncertain/who am I story has been seen before, it settles fine with me, the lead actress gives us a fresh look. I've done a few road films so I can't help going with her to locations like the Grand Canyon and again... it WORKS. I loved her shooting photos of strangers at Grand Canyon. Very revealing subplot here and it WORKS.
Dialog is good, it's simple, especially Grand Canyon. You should see Francis Coppola's Rain People which is strikingly similar, which was Coppola's second movie before Godfather.
The idea with using the kid's audio-video thing to speak to her mother works neatly, I liked it. Only thing near the end is that mom looks more like grandmother rather than mom.
A nice 72 minutes spent.
However indie films like this one are self-indulgent, boring and pretty universally corny. What we were supposed to be interested in? The fact that the baby's father was a Black man? That could have been an interesting factor had the character of the Black man been INTERESTING. Instead he was just a regular guy, highly interested in the wellbeing of his pregnant girlfriend and future child. It's nice to see that finally reflected in film, but it still didn't save this boringly told story.
From the beginning to the end, I found it very difficult to care about the main character. Initially they gave her the characteristic of being a techie. They showed her being interested in the inner workings of pieces of technology. She took an old clock apart in the first six minutes of the movie and seemed highly enamored of what she found. And then, it evaporated. There was no more mention of it. The movie became a story that was exclusively about a boring pregnant girl from New York (of course) who is looking for her estranged mother. Oh, and she has a cellphone. And oh yeah, she talks on it a lot.
I kept trying to be concerned about the main character. I kept looking for a real reason to give a darn about whether or not she found her mother. In the end when she did find her mother, her estranged mother was ALSO boring. The mother was just an old fruitcake who had nothing interesting to say. Nor did she leave us with any compelling words of wisdom. She didn't even LOOK interesting. Which I'm sure someone would say was the point. After the entire search, everything comes up as "ZERO." Well, I've got news for you. This movie was ZERO from the beginning.
Odd camera angles (and useless footage that does not forward the story nor add to a film) does not an indie film make. It makes your film dull. The actress who played the main character HAS to be the director of this film because she kept her face in the camera the whole time. The camera only barely moved away from her face for mere moments. Then it came right back dead center to her face. Yes honey, you're sort of a cute girl and we all appreciate that your teeth are nice and white, but you didn't need to make this long, pitiful movie to prove it.
This movie is such a "pass."