From the writer and director Eric Mendolsohn whose only other film is one of my favorite movies of the last 10yrs or so(Judy Berlin) comes this humble charmer of a film, '3 Backyards'. Here we have in the span of a single day in a mildly upper class neighborhood on a bay in Long Island, three stories unfolding at the same time but that never directly touch each other. The movie is beautiful, humble, small-scaled, well acted, and refreshing. Though it may be disceptably simple, it never deceives; the moving camera being just as intrusive as we want it to be as it floats in on the scene, the characters or the clouds or the leaves on a tree, the somewhat old fashioned dissolves used liberally yet tastefully. Three little gems; three little peeks into the lives of these folks on this particular day. My only complaint, if you can call it that, is that at an hour and a half, the movie ends too soon. I wish it could have kept on and on. One story is about a man (played by Elias Koteas) having marriage problems who when his business trip gets cancelled last minute, instead of returning home, hangs out near the airport hotel and begins to follow a mysterious woman One is about a little girl who on her way to school loses an expensive bracelet of her mother's and who must retrieve it from a seemingly dangerous backyard before she can return home. The third story concerns a lady (played by Edie Falco) who is given the honor(much to the envy of her neighbor) of driving a local, semi-famous movie actress to the waiting ferry. We go back and forth between each tale seamlessly and by the end, though the characters do not literally ever interact, there is some heart-pumping, unnameably agreeable cohesion to it all. Now that I realize this sounds awfully similar to a mundane movie review, I will stop and simply encourage anyone so inclined to go see it. It's playing now at Cinema Village on 12th st. near Union Square.
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