- Nicole Holofcener has been doing this for 20+ years at this point—this is her sixth archiveable film and all six are in the archives. Five years off between this and Enough Said in 2013. This is her first feature I believe without Catherine Keener- her muse/surrogate/collaborator
- There is a really strong frame right in the opening (above). It is a color-coded wall at Bed Bath and Beyond (used for the poster). It is both beautiful to look at and tied to the narrative- Ben Mendelsohn’s plays this absolutely lost Anders character and the anal-retentive corporate attention to detail represented on the wall speaks volumes. It is unusual for Holofcener to engage in strong visual filmmaking like that.
- There is one great shot of Mendelsohn – cut off and isolated by the kitchen arrangement– as I don’t think this is repeated visually I think this is mainly just a nice shot- not necessarily a statement on his isolation or detachment
There is one great shot of Mendelsohn – cut off and isolated by the kitchen arrangement– as I don’t think this is repeated visually I think this is mainly just a nice shot- not necessarily a statement on his isolation or detachment
- Holofcener- a Woody Allen acolyte, ensemble films, family dramas, relationship dramas (often with sexual frustrations) set in NYC (this is a suburb here)—sharp writing and good acting
- Mendelsohn’s character is having a mid-life crisis and the parallels between this and Sam Mendes’ American Beauty are aplenty. His character befriends a sort of neighbor kid and does drugs with him. His character is beset by the superficial trivialities in this affluent suburbia
- Incisive writing, well-rounded pained characters—good actors getting good lines like “ear-raping”
- It is also good to see Mendelsohn in a new sort of role. Since really arriving in 2010’s Animal Kingdom he’s been a standout in nearly every film he’s been a part of—but he often gets typecast as the heavy. He plays dark characters—a dangerous instability about most of them. I didn’t see him playing lead in one of Holofcener’s efforts (this was the same for James Gandolfini, in 2013’s Enough Said) and he’s very good here as a father and ex-husband in a contemporary film.
- Recommend but not in the top 10 of 2018