3 Backyards (2010)

R   |    |  Drama


3 Backyards (2010) Poster

The story of three people from the same suburban town during the course of one curious autumn day.

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  • Elias Koteas and Kathryn Erbe in 3 Backyards (2010)
  • 3 Backyards (2010)
  • Embeth Davidtz and Edie Falco in 3 Backyards (2010)
  • Danai Gurira in 3 Backyards (2010)
  • Embeth Davidtz in 3 Backyards (2010)
  • Elias Koteas in 3 Backyards (2010)

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29 May 2014 | vchimpanzee
Three movies, probably good
3 Backyards

It is said that "Seinfeld" was a show about nothing. This is a movie about nothing.

Another way to look at this movie is to see it as three separate short films. I have seen several hour-long shows on TV which consisted of several short films, some of which looked good enough to be Oscar-nominated. Each of these films might have been that good. It appears all three of the main characters lives in the same suburban neighborhood.

The movie begins with John and his wife on opposite ends of the kitchen table, with a loud buzzing and eerie music, at 3:30 in the morning. Something tells me this is not going to be a pleasant film.

Christina is trying on a bracelet which she shouldn't be. But she can't remove it and her school bus is here. Her mother warns her if she misses the bus, no one is going to take her to school. But she does miss the bus. There is a woman putting up signs for her lost dog and Christina believes she sees it. Or does she?

Peggy has two children and a husband, and she paints in the back yard (despite the film's title, this is the only back yard we see, unless you count the one Christina sees on the way to school) and gossips with her neighbor. Another neighbor, who lives in a nice house owned by another of Peggy's friends, doesn't socialize with others and seems to behave as if she is better than everyone else. But she asks Peggy for a ride to the ferry.

Getting back to John, his company has paid for his plane trip with frequent flier miles. There is a problem getting him on a flight that day, but if he takes another airline, the ticket he already had is non-refundable. The airport offers to let him stay in their hotel, but he lives in that city. However, we have already seen that John and his wife may not be getting along, so the hotel room may be used after all. And as a result of his difficulties, John has his first encounter with a black woman in a blue dress. She has a nice smile and a pleasant personality, but her accent and elegant delivery suggest she is African or Caribbean, and she is having trouble getting a job and may really need the money. John calls home and talks with his sick daughter Snoopy. They seem to get along and Snoopy is getting better.

Peggy learns that she shouldn't judge based on first appearances. John also learns an important lesson. I'm not sure just what the outcome of Christina's situation was. It seems to be the same type story as young Beaver Cleaver getting into trouble and trying to resolve the problem.

Whether you enjoy this movie or not depends on how open you are to independent films that have artistic value. I can be, though whether I would be depends on what they are like. This movie happens to be accessible to me, with plot lines I can get interested in. Still, this seems to be nothing more than a day in the life of three people in one town. For two of the people, it is not a typical day. And for those two people, I find myself quite interested in seeing what the result will be. But I get to the end and find myself not quite satisfied. I have to be content with the journey, and not having paid, I can be satisfied just with a a part of what I just saw. I enjoyed Christina's story the most but am not quite sure what it was.

I did see at least three really good acting performances, though all the leading actors did well too. Edie Falco reminded me of Ellen DeGeneres, though not quite that perky The short hair helped. Then there is the waitress with the attitude at the diner. But the standout performer may just have been the woman in the blue dress.

Is it worth it? Maybe.

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