An editor offers Reese (actress/bartender) $100,000 for her recently dead mom's letters from her novelist dad. She heads home from NYC to get them. Her dad lives in the garage while two stra... Read allAn editor offers Reese (actress/bartender) $100,000 for her recently dead mom's letters from her novelist dad. She heads home from NYC to get them. Her dad lives in the garage while two strangers live in the house.An editor offers Reese (actress/bartender) $100,000 for her recently dead mom's letters from her novelist dad. She heads home from NYC to get them. Her dad lives in the garage while two strangers live in the house.
Reese Holdin (Zooey Deschanel) lives in New York, an actress relegated to small parts in off Broadway theater while spending her days as a bartender hooked on alcohol, drugs and casual sex. Her life seems dead-ended: she has become anesthetized by her manner of living. An agent (Amy Madigan) approaches her with an offer to pay her for the letters between her parents, both once famous authors. Her mother has just died, and Reese didn't attend her funeral, so distant does she feel is her relationship to her past. But the spark of money moves her to ride a bus back to her Michigan home to salvage the letters to sell for publication.
Arriving home she is greeted by the weird Corbit (Will Ferrell), a Christian electric guitar player and composer who ears black eyeliner etc, but does care for Reese's severely alcoholic father - the once famous writer Don Holdin (Ed Harris) who hasn't written a novel in years and lives in the garage of his home under the care of Corbit and an ex-student Shelley (Amelia Warner), a bright very young girl with demons of her own. Reese works at reconnecting with her father, struggles with her resentment for the 'caregivers', and ultimately finds the letters she came for, only to make discoveries about her dysfunctional family and her father's status that alters her view of his value as her parent.
The movie is rather stagy and most of the action is unspoken, and while that technique of telling this particular story seems exactly right to this viewer, there are some who will feel frustrated at the rather static pace of the film. Zooey Deschanel once again proves that she is one of our finest actresses on the screen and hopefully this role will bring her to the attention of casting agents and result in our seeing more of this gifted actress in the future. Ed Harris is superb as the wasted, quietly grieving has-been author, keeping his performance understated and in doing so creating a character that is indelible in our minds long after the movie is over. Amelia Warner is also a fine little actress and even galumphing Will Ferrell brings more than his usual tiring comedic talents to this touching role. In all this is a movie that deserves wide attention. There is more to quietly hear and understand about interpersonal relationships than we would expect from the cover! Grady Harp
- May 29, 2006