6.4/10
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5 user 12 critic

Beside Still Waters (2013)

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A young man struggles for closure after the death of his parents.

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Cast

Cast overview:
... Daniel
... Tom
John Lorenger ... Mr. Chambers
... James
... Martin
... Abby
... Charley
... Olivia
... Henry
Larry Rellinger ... Bartender
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A young man struggles for closure after the death of his parents.

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Comedy | Drama | Romance

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TV-MA

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14 November 2014 (USA)  »

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Trivia

Won the jury award for Best Narrative Feature film at the 2013 Austin Film Festival. See more »

Soundtracks

After You've Gone
Written by Turner Layton (as J. Turner Layton) and Henry Creamer
Performed by John Clement Wood
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User Reviews

 
A Modern Day Chill
14 November 2014 | by See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Director Chris Lowell co-wrote the story with Mohit Narang, and there is really no other way to describe it than a modern day redux of The Big Chill (1983). If you are familiar with that film from 30+ years ago, you remember the narcissism, strained friendships, and emotional turmoil that were offset by a best-selling soundtrack. Three decades later we witness narcissism run amok and a crumbled version of friendship, this time offset by the guzzling of alcohol.

Daniel (Ryan Eggold, TV's "The Blacklist") has organized a reunion of his childhood friends back at the cabin on the lake where they shared many a summer. Daniel's parents recently died in a car accident, and none of his "friends" showed up for the funeral ... hence, the crumbled version of friendship. As they begin showing up, we immediately categorize each: Tom (Beck Bennett, "Saturday Night Live") is the wise-cracking slacker, James (Brett Dalton) is the TV Reality Show celebrity, Martin (Will Brill) and Abby (Erin Drake) are the high school sweethearts stuck in a strained marriage, and Charley (Jessy Hodges) is the free-spirited chick with a lust-filled history. The arrival of Daniel's old flame Olivia (Britt Lower) is offset by her fiancé Henry (Reid Scott). May the oddballs be ever in your favor.

Sounding like the old man I am quickly becoming, this generation of thirty-somethings left me quite saddened. What made The Big Chill work, was the actual bond that tied the group together. Remember, they all showed up for a funeral ... rather than being summoned for skipping one. The original group had charm, personality and were interesting, whereas this group remains focused on their own problems - oblivious to the needs and feelings of others. They find the bottom of a bottle or drugging an adversary to be actual solutions, rather than resorting to the effort involved with intimacy or conversation. Yes, sad I am.

Despite my issues with the possibility of this being an accurate portrayal of this generation, there are plenty of positives with the film. Lovell truly has a photographer's eye and uses it for much of the camera work ... it's beautifully shot. Also, each member of this ensemble jump right in to their characters and do a superb job. There is also a terrific segment of three conversations edited together that play off each other like some kind of wonderful parlor game. It's the highlight of the film.

While much of the film plays like a passive-aggressive expose', the script leaves no room for interpretation or analysis ... Daniel actually spells out his true misguided mission. The game of Whisky Slaps works not just as a scene, but also as a metaphor for watching the movie.


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