Director: Jeff Preiss
Stars: Lena Headey, John Hawkes, Elle Fanning, Glenn Close, Peter Dinklage.
Synopsis: A look into the life of a musician named Joe Albany from the perspective of his young daughter, as she watches him struggle with drug addiction during the 1970s jazz scene.
Review: A young girl named Amy-Jo Albany ( Elle Fanning ) witnesses the struggles of her father Joe Albany ( John Hawkes ). Joe is a parolee who is struggling with drug addiction. He tries to stay clean but relapse repeatedly which puts his parole at risk. Joe is also broke and owes back rent to his landlord. He feels as though he cant move forward in his current position in life and wants to move away to pursue his music career.
Lena Heady plays a despicable drunk who is the mother of our main female protagonist. There are shades of Queen Cersei from HBO’S Game of Thrones in her character but Cersei loves her children. In some ways you can sympathies with her because even though she is a villainess, she is still a loving mother. Here on the other hand, she is just bad. Good job on Lena Heady for giving a good performance. We have another Game of Thrones actor in this film Peter Dinklage. He plays Tyrion Lannister in the show. Here he is a porn star. His character lives in what looks like a modern cave or a real hole in a wall.
The film gives us a very real look into reality, showing the audience how harsh the real world can be. All of the characters are trying to find hope, holding onto any idea that will give them a reason to live. The characters enjoy ‘time’. They take the time to enjoy all the little things in life that makes them feel ‘normal’. They do this as a way to take their mind off of the troubles in life. So there is a whole ‘thing’ going on in Hollywood right know at the time of this review. The older generation seems to like these realistic movies that focus on ‘people’ while my generation likes ‘spectacle film making’ a lot more. Movies like Star Wars, The Avengers, etc. The problem with realistic films like this is that they remind people of the troubles that they are trying to forget and puts those negative situations right up in your face instead of allowing the audience to have and ‘escape’ from the harsh realities of this world like hatred, racism, sexism, and so. Movies like this don’t make a lot of money either. Many websites claim that this film only made $54,054, while the big budget films like Star Wars The Force Awakens and Marvel’s The Avengers made around $2 Billion world wide, not to mention the all merchandise sales of those franchises. If Hollywood was left to these ‘realistic’ and more ‘heart felt’ films the industry would crash and Indie Films would be all that was left. I can see why people don’t really like these realistic movies.
The movie is shot in a sepia tone as to show the time period of the 1970s. The cinematography is just passable at best. Many scenes are shot with a hand held camera so there is a lot of shaking in the scenes. The use of wide shots are done well. The backgrounds and set dressing are just depressing and very ugly. Yeah, it’s the 70s so every thing is a very dull brown color. Even so, the lack of color reflects the way the characters feel. When they are at their happiest, the scenes are bright, the color is enhanced, every one smiles, and laughs. Most young people will not like this movie. Its a little boring and just depressing. This movie is a more hard look into life rather than teaching the audience a lesson of some sort. Usually I would talk about a philosophical concept but this film is the exception. Your just looking into the life of a dysfunctional family. You don’t really have a good feeling after watching this film. Honestly I was glade when the movie was over. There are too many sub plots that are never wrapped up in this movie. When the credits rolled I was wondering what happened to certain characters. It feels like the movie is not finished. This film is barely passable at best.
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