19 August 2016 | jessicaslater
Started off great and then just couldn't keep it going.
I wanted to love this movie, it feels exactly like the type of movie in which that would happen. It started off so strongly and I was convinced that it would be one of my favorite films of the year. And then it just kind of died. The actors were all great and it is hard for me not to love anything Allison Janney is involved with. I just can't quite put my finger on what happened here.
Rosemarie DeWitt is a masseuse who is suddenly turned off by skin and physical contact and this creates a barrier with her job as well as her boyfriend. Josh Pais is her brother, a dentist who borders on being seemingly autistic and really has no joy or connection with anyone in the world, including his daughter (Ellen Page) who feels trapped working with her father at his office. Pais goes to see Allison Janney (a masseuse working with DeWitt) and is inspired to have connections of his own, but we never really see it come to fruition in any meaningful way that makes any sense. Which is how I felt about most of the situations in the film.
The parts with the father coming to Allison Janney for the first time and the great interaction and natural acting of the family all getting together for that first dinner were perfect. But then everything just kind of flattens out and people get worse and try various things to get better and some of it works and some is sort of unresolved and we never quite go beyond that.
I was quite surprised to find that this film was under 90 minutes because when it was nearly over, I found myself wondering just when it was going to end because it felt so long. There are voice-over and music montages where we see what the various characters are going through that just feel like they are twice as long as they should be. And those are the types of scenes I typically love so I really wish they had landed in this film. I think if I had cared more about the characters and they weren't just odd caricatures as the film went on, it would have maybe had more impact. The acting was all really great though and I loved the cast. They did well with what felt like half-baked characters and certainly elevated the film in that regard.
Things resolve themselves for the characters without any real feeling of why but I didn't depart with any real personal resolution from the audience standpoint.