"Bereft" has been exquisitely photographed by J. Clark Mathis. In fact, this is a film that boasts two directors, as Timothy, (aka Tim) Daly, shares the title with Mr. Mathis. "Bereft" is a story that is haunting, as it will stay with the viewer for a long time. The screen play by Peter Ferland presents a fresh approach to bereavement.
As the film unfolds, one hasn't a clue of what is going on. We watch as Molly is taking pictures in which she is dressed as a bride. We also see a man behind her, but we wonder immediately if he is real. Molly is seen roaming Vermont's scenic back roads on her way to work, which of course, doesn't make much sense to us. We also witness Molly pilfering groceries from the local market, as well as Polaroid film from the place where she works. We come to realize Molly is suffering because of something, but we are only given clues as to what is the real problem with this young woman. What's wrong with this picture?
Molly's parents are people who appear to live comfortably. Her sister is a teen ager who is rebelling against authority. Little by little we get to know a bit more of what is troubling Molly. Especially when she begins her friendship with Denis, the kind, but troubled man that lives in a dilapidated trailer. When Denis' uncle, and partner in crime, joins them, it leads the trio into the house where Molly passes on her way to work. Then, and only then, we get to know the truth about what has really happened to Molly.
Vinessa Shaw makes a mysterious Molly. This young actress approaches her role with such sure footing that one can guess she will go far. Ms. Shaw works well under the guidance of the directors. Tim Blake Nelson, is always effective in everything he does. He proves in this movie why he is one of our best character actors. Tim Daly, as he is billed in the film, has a small, but pivotal part as Denis' uncle. Marsha Mason and Edward Hermann play Molly's aloof parents. Ari Graynor has a few good moments as Louise, the rebel sister.
Aside from the great views of Vermont in summer, this small film will surprise anyone willing to see this young woman deal with a grief that is so overpowering that it's ruining her life. Also, it marks an auspicious debut for both directors.
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