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Emmie (Robin Tunney) is in her thirties and is a typical adult--she has
left her small hometown in Maine to go to college, marry, and settle in
Jason (Adam Scott) was Emmie's high school boyfriend and has done even worse since he and Emmie separated for college. He's broke, pursuing a dead end career as a painter of frogs and moonlighting as a server in Portland, Maine, where he's dating his co-worker.
The movie opens with Emmie, asking herself whether she made the wrong choice in her marriage with Graham and trying out for a reality show that connects people with their old lovers. The show contacts Jason, who now thinks Emmie wants to get back together and sends her flowers and hand written notes (oh how romantic life can be in the absence of facebook). Emmie has an argument with her husband and decides to flee her marriage to meet up with Jason, who is completely adorable and endearing when it comes to Emmie (much less so with his current girlfriend). Will Emmie abandon her marriage or go back to her husband Graham?
This is a coming-of-age movie for adults. The main characters in the movie (Emmie, Jason, Graham, and Emmie's brother Brandon) are in their thirties and, with the exception of Graham, are still deciding if they're ready to grow up. The movie centers on the dilemma the characters face to remain young (have passionate affairs, work minimum wage jobs, and mooch off their parents) or become stereotypical responsible adults (pay bills, stick it out in a less than idyllic marriage). If you've never had to face this choice in your own life, this movie might not make sense. For the rest of us growing older in the hipster culture of America, it's sure to hit a chord.
I enjoyed the fact that this movie shows the reality of marriage. Typical movies glamorize every aspect of love, but in real life and in marriage, it's not always like that. In this movie, the couple argues when Emmie takes a poo and Graham insists she shower before they have sex. Gross, but real. I also loved the side story revolving around Emmie's grandmother getting a new boyfriend 15 years after the death of her husband. It reinforces the theme that it's never too late to rediscover romance and find love.
"See Girl Run" sees Emmie (Robin Tunney) missing her old high school
boyfriend. She's married now but decides she's not happy and wants to
revisit her life with Jason (Adam Scott). Jason still lives in their
hometown, is the local star of a seafood restaurant and is in a
dead-end relationship. And the whole movie is reinforcing those same
concepts over and over again.
The theme of a woman trying to figure out what went wrong in her life is played out entirely dramatically. Don't expect any comedy and only minimal romance. The characters were given their own quirky characteristics (Jason really likes frogs), and quirky friends. It's possible they were supposed to provide the comedy, but the friends weren't fleshed out, and the film really struggled connecting Jason to the main plot even though he is of course the point of Emmie's trip home.
The film moves very slowly. Emmie doesn't act rashly, she also doesn't emote much emotion. She meets up with her brother when she returns home, and he's depressed. Her parents are unhappy with each other. And did I mention that Jason and his current girlfriend aren't happy with each other either? It's a whole lot of depression which makes it seem like the film is moving even slower.
Shot on location in Portland, Maine, the film has a very washed-out, wet and grey look which negatively adds to the depressed feel. Those who personally relate to Emmie's mid-life crisis will probably actively watch her come to some sort of romantic resolution, but for the rest of us, there is nothing to connect us to Emmie or the rest of the sullen characters. "See Girl Run" just moves too slowly and despondently.
Who might like this: Women who relate to Emmie's story; Portland, Maine residents who want to see their hometown in film; and people who like depressed, indie, romantic dramas.
I like indie romantic dramas, but I am very skeptical about their
execution. This one is enormously depressing. It's almost like a
documentary, and you could ask yourself why it's worth spending time
watching a bunch of losers get depressed. However.......
There are a number of key elements, including outstanding dialog, that make it well worth your while. They show you the reality of marriage, which is that an aging person is sharing your bed and bathroom and that is not always sexy.
They show you that in most cases, you can't go backwards. You must grow up and move on with your choices. This is actually made clear through two wonderful monologues by the female lead's father. I think he is William Sadler. Bravo dude.
The lead wears little or no makeup. If you are used to seeing her in a more glamorous light, be prepared. The coastal Maine setting is very interesting and appealing to me at least. The cinematographer frames some wonderful shots of smoke stacks amidst gloomy sky.
But for me the best part of the film is the actor Adam Scott, who plays the old high school boyfriend. He is so natural and earnest, that you really feel for his dilemma. He's a really nice guy who just can't get on with things. He's stuck in gear.
The characterization with the lead's little brother is the major flaw. We need to know more about him. If you are going to present someone as clinically depressed, at least let us know what he has done for a living in the past, what is his main conflict, and how long he's been this way.
Stay away from this movie unless you love very natural, sensitive, insightful dialog about growing up and making choices, or you just like movies about small towns and "unfinished business." I do, so I liked it.
See Girl Run (2012)
Robin Tunney is pretty terrific in this small budget big impact story of a young married woman still obsessed with her high school boyfriend. Everything depends on Tunney's ability to make her character, Emmie, believable and complex, and she pulls it off.
Around her are her husband (a boring Jeremy Strong) and her ex-boyfriend (a charming Adam Scott). Right there you have the set-up because you really kind of want Emmie to go with the charming dream she left behind instead of the routine life with her routine (but nice) hubby.
There is a slow easy plainness to this movie that may not appeal to some. It has to make sure the ordinary doesn't tip into the dull, and generally it does that. Partly it depends on some strong secondary characters, including her mother and father and comically depressed brother in Maine, where she visits. And partly it depends on the romantic high stakes of the plot.
For me the final emotional turning point is too pushed on us, too sudden, too clever by half. For others it will seem beautiful and appropriate. (You'll have to see it to see.) But when it all gets to where it's going it feels about right.
Tunney has done a lot of lesser movies and some better t.v. over the years (including over a hundred episodes of "The Mentalist") and she really deserves a big break into some kind of serious movie role. Scott, likewise, has a mixed career (I liked him a lot in "The Vicious Kind" which has a similar production level as this one) and he, too, will likely have a big breakthrough one of these years. The two don't, however, have much time together on screen here, which would have been interesting.
If there are limitations to the whole enterprise they might belong to the writer/director, Nate Meyers, who does a credible but predictable job, revealing (I guess) his short resume (this is his second film, with one more in the works). But it is partly the simplicity of the plot an editing that lets the genuine warmth of the actors come through. For that it's worth a look.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I found this on Netflix streaming movies. A rather small movie by a
little-known writer-director but the story is very realistic and
impactful. Better than its rather low rating would indicate.
Robin Tunney is 30-something Emmie, living and working in Brooklyn. She has her own pet business, grooming, walking, etc and two slackers working for her. One day she comes home in an amorous mood and her husband dismisses her, something about cleanliness and smelling of her pets. In truth she had a valid reason for feeling rejected.
But she reacts by packing a bag and telling no one drives back home to Portland, Maine. In the back of her mind was her old boyfriend, still back home, Adam Scott as underachiever Jason, an artist who specialized in frogs and drawings with frog themes. Plus he was a waiter in a family-friendly restaurant, the kind where all the waiters gather around and sing happy birthday to you if it is your day. Emmie and Jason had never "broken up", she just moved away and got married.
So much of the story is to see if Emmie can sort out her issues, and to see if maybe she leaves her marriage to finally be with Jason, her soul-mate.
There is a key scene with Emmie and her dad, played by William Sadler. He is telling her about the two kinds of military missiles he fought with, the ballistic missile that once you shoot it lands on a spot, even if the target has moved. The other kind can constantly adjust its trajectory to keep the target in view. Without explaining it the message was "don't be a ballistic missile" in life, things change and you have to adjust with changes.
Good movie, genuine themes, well done.
SPOILERS: When it seemed that Emmie would be successfully wooed by Jason, and meets him at their old spot, complete with rose petals and candles, she walked up to him, they stood face to face, ready to kiss for the first time in years, but she tells him "We have to break up", and that allowed her, reminded by a video of her engagement those years ago, what her life was really about, and she returned to Brooklyn.
I LOVE indie romance dramas with just the right amount of somber and
melancholy ("Garden State" was a dream come true for me), but this
missed the mark on so many levels. Hence the current "5" rating on
Strong points: ADAM SCOTT!!! I love this guy in everything he does (esp. The Vicious Kind, "Parks," Walter Mitty, and Friends with Kids). He knocks it out of the park with this role as well. And Jeremy Strong (perfect in "Humboldt County") did as good as he could with the excessively maudlin role he was given here.
Weak points: The story and the rest of the casting, esp. Robbin Tunney as the female lead. Tunney is the ONLY other female lead in a romantic role that I have ever disliked (the other was Taylor Schilling, who was fine in Orange is the New Black, but seemed way too cold and authoritative in "The Lucky One"). Tunney just doesn't have that inviting or relatable attribute that female leads need in rom-coms/drams. She seems more suited to playing a cynical "mean friend" or "bad guy" - far from the vulnerable "girl" you'd expect to be "running."
As far as the story, it is just lacking. As we find out in the very beginning, girl runs home because she's not happy with her marriage, where her old flame lives; then she stays there. None of the events that unfold while she's home are very interesting or entertaining.
It seemed to be a perfect contender for another great indie rom-dram, but missed the mark completely.
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