5 May 2005 | noralee
Gets Points That the Guy Apologizes To The Gal - and Needs To
"Four Lane Highway" is a bittersweet chick flick from a guy's point of view, reminiscent in tone to "Tully".
It's a literal road trip but also a memory trip, as the film relives a love affair gone badly and the guy gradually understands his responsibilities for his personal, romantic and artistic failures.
Anchored by the very appealing Frederick Weller as "Sean", more familiar in his New York stage work such as "Take Me Out" and "Shape of Things," he is so sweet and romantic even when he's behaving badly that we wait for more awful revelations than the obvious alcoholism and dominating father issues.
Screened at the Tribeca Film Festival as part of its New York New York Narrative Features, it may be the first film that uses the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn for its artist denizens and galleries, though most of the film is beautifully shot in a picture-perfect New England.
The New York component, in the last third or so, is the most original for what debut writer/director Dylan McCormick brings to this look at twenty-somethings learning that mature relationships take work.
The woman, played naturally by Greer Goodman as "Molly", is an independent character, with a salary, artistically satisfying career and a relationship that helps her with both, though there are only hints that her new guy appeals more to her head than her heart as she has to decide if "Sean" is the love of her life despite everything. Their reunions are both emotionally and intellectually satisfying to the viewer as the two actors have warm chemistry together that fills in their characters' surprising inarticulateness.
A bit confusing to the central theme of growing up are the side stories of their roommates, slogging around in some sort of pitiful counterpoint of one-night stands and booze, perhaps for comic effect about love vs. lust or maybe addiction as to why even good make-up sex isn't enough.
The film has a lovely soundtrack with alt-country literary lions like John Hiatt, Emmy Lou Harris, Steve Earle and Lucinda Williams, but the songs seem selected for atmosphere rather than specific lyrical support.