Adrian Grenier stars as Sean McAllister, a successful fashion designer who hasn't seen his family in years. He returns to his hometown for a painstaking family reunion that will take him bac... Read allAdrian Grenier stars as Sean McAllister, a successful fashion designer who hasn't seen his family in years. He returns to his hometown for a painstaking family reunion that will take him back to his past only to rebuild his future.Adrian Grenier stars as Sean McAllister, a successful fashion designer who hasn't seen his family in years. He returns to his hometown for a painstaking family reunion that will take him back to his past only to rebuild his future.
Far More is a simple, unobtrusive family drama which tells the story of successful gay fashion designer Sean McAllister (The often critically underrated Adrian Grenier) who travels back his rural hometown to visit his terminally ill brother Tim (Drew Powell) which forces him to re-live and come to terms with old conflicts from his past. These include his overbearing and unsympathetic Father, Dick, whose primary focus is to win the local bowling tournament (The always excellent Daniel Hugh Kelly) and a bully from his old High School days, whose son is following in his footsteps.
Sean's Nephew Eli (Joshua Rush) is always pestering his Grandpa to ask 'Why did Uncle Sean leave...' while trying to understand the moods and actions of the adults around him, as well as dealing with some issues of his own.
Circling around his dying brothers bedside are various friends and family members who come into conflict with one another. Old friends return to share good times, but find themselves unable to offer any real comfort or deal with the death facing their former teammate. The wife and the nurse disagree over how his brother should be treated - live a little longer but be drugged up the eyeballs on the time, or less drugs, more pain, but live more compos mentis in the moment. Sean very much observes these conflicts from afar as he prepares himself for his brothers imminent demise.
When his Father's bowling teammate is injured, the family name and tournament prize are at stake, which gives Sean a chance to connect with his nephew, reconcile with his Father and for a brief window, to be the son his Dad always envisaged. A brief oasis is found in the midst of a family tragedy with is all too short lived for all concerned.
I called Far More simple and unobtrusive at the beginning of this review. I will qualify that further by saying this is not a drama that seeks to ram a social agenda or message down the throat of the audience. These characters and stories will feel familiar because we have come across them. The small town conflicts that play out between family members and their friends and loved ones will feel familiar to anyone brought up in the small town rural environment of the USA.
As the story progresses it becomes apparent that Sean has unresolved issues that are trapped in his past, and in order to move forward with his present relationship back in New York, he must find a way to confront them in the present. Further light is shed on this narrative through a number of flashbacks to Sean's time at High School, where his brother was the popular athlete but always stood up for his younger brother, who was coming to terms with his homosexuality at the time and often a victim of bullying from his brothers teammates..
Much of the narrative in the present is viewed through the eyes of the Nephew, which I am told took more dominance in the older cut of the movie. It works far more effectively to have him as very much the silent observer rather than being the narrative voice over, much like The Wonder Years. This is primarily a story about a young man, Sean McAllister, coming to terms with the imminent loss of his older brother while finding a way to heal his own wounds through reconnecting with his distant Father.
Far More is the writing / directing debut of talented actress Ally Damian Walker and it's an extremely commendable debut with much to recommend it. The film was previously rush released under the title Sex, Death and Bowling and not to her satisfaction. Wisely, she was allowed to recut the film and it was then re-released it in its present form. Few directs get to tweak their work some six years later but I can assure you, it's something more directors often aspire to do. (Just ask George Lucas)
Far More, might be a small story, but it carries big emotional threads that weaves a dramatic tapestry of conflicts, to anyone who has dealt with the dramas that often come with a large and complex family dynamic. It's beautifully acted and directed and has a number of outstanding performances including an underplayed, but perfectly poised turn from Grenier as Sean, and superb cameos from the likes of Melora Walters (criminally underused here) Selma Blair, Richard Riehle, and Drea De Matteo. The younger cast in the flashback scenes to Sean's time in High School all give solid performances in their scenes.
If the film has a weak spot, then it's in the bowling subplot which while perfectly plausible is occasionally a distraction from some of the superbly underplayed family drama scenes. But it does provide a satisfactory way of tying the story elements together but could have done with an injection of more drama.
Far More is very much a slice of life story, I am certain many will find something relatable in a tale, where the town, setting and characters will feel familiar to all those who grew up in rural USA.
- Jul 22, 2021