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Green (2011)

Unrated | | Drama, Thriller | 7 September 2012 (USA)
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A New Yorker moves to the country with her boyfriend, where her new friendship causes a problem as her partner also takes an interest in the woman.

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3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
... Genevieve
... Robin
... Sebastian
... Dustin
... Phillip Roth expert
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Anna Ladner ... Halle
Robert Malone ... Bill
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Storyline

Genevieve, a New York intellectual, moves to the country with her self-involved journalist boyfriend, Sebastian, while he works on his latest project about sustainable farming. Bored and neglected, Genevieve turns to Robin, a working class local, for companionship. When Sebastian forms a bond of his own with Robin, Genevieve finds herself overpowered by jealousy and insecurity. Tensions mount between the two women and soon reality and jealousy fantasy become inseparable in this haunting meditation on the female psyche. Written by anonymous

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Drama | Thriller

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Unrated
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7 September 2012 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Astonishing performances from young cast and crew
23 October 2011 | by See all my reviews

I just saw Green at the Philadelphia Film Festival (Filmadelphia 20). The green of the title refers to envy or jealousy, but I won't say much more about the story than that. It's a tiny movie filled with three really excellent performances. Writer/director Sophia Takal plays Robin, a rustic chatterbox who barges into the lives of farmsteading New Yorkers Sebastian and Genny, played by Lawrence Michael Levine and Kate Lynn Sheil. Told in lengthy, real-time scenes we see the changing dynamics of their relationship as Robin's forthright ingenuousness thaws the standoffish cityfolk. But it isn't long before Genny begins to suspect, or at least imagine, there might be more to Robin's friendship than is healthy for her own relationship.

The film lives on the strength of its performances. Sheil's Genivieve is the most arresting. Both Sebatian and Genny suffer a kind of sensory deprivation in the wilds of Virginia where the nearest Barnes and Noble is 45 minutes away. But while Sebatian has his citizen farmer blog to occupy his time, Genny suffers the fate of every Plus One. She's not her own woman and as an appendage, she is vulnerable to feelings of resentment and abandonment. At first content in her solitude, she soon comes to welcome Robin's overtures of companionship. Later, when she feels her identity threatened, she lashes out; not physically, but in bitchy, verbal assaults. All these changes play out on her face as the film progresses and her internal stress mounts.

Sebastian is quite thoroughly unlikeable. Played archly by Levine, he is every opinionated jerk intellectual we went to college with. But as the film progresses and Genny's reactions toward Robin turn chill, Sebastian surprises us with reserves of empathy and caring we might not have expected. Maybe he's just being polite, but at least it's an effort he chooses to make.

Takal's Robin is the catalyst for these performances. She has a lot on her plate, this girl. Working days - sometimes nights - for a veterinary hospital and also at a local diner, she still finds time to drop by the farm with a bag of groceries and a six-pack of beer. She gushes revelatory self-history with anyone who will listen and looks at the world with big, acute, brown eyes that reveal she's no dummy; she's just drawn that way. If the New York sophisticates take her as a joke, or as a pest, she doesn't seem to mind. She knows who she is and is OK with that.

Nandan Rao's canny camera-work deals in close-up, but moves fluidly around carefully composed tableaux, catching the actors at their intimate moment of revelation. There is no MTV-style hand-held stuff here. It's stick work, very classical in nature. In fact, the whole film hearkens back to the way movies were made in the pre-sound era: Composed and rehearsed among the company of actors and then performed before a rolling film gate. Aside from titles, there's no need for post-production.

It would be a shame if this movie didn't find distribution; I saw this film immediately after a screening of Lars Von Trier's latest excess and it was a welcome palate cleanser. A movie that made me wish I could make movies; and suggesting that I - or anyone with a story and some creative hard work - actually can.


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