6 April 2019 | paul-allaer
Rich and nuanced character study
"Diane" (2018 release; 95 min.) brings the story of Diane. As the movie opens, we see her dozing off while visiting a family member in the hospital (whom we later learn is Donna, who is struck with cancer(. Diane then drops off some chicken at another family member in need. Then there is Brian, Diane's drug-addicted son who claims it's bronchitis. And on and on. Diane never seems to have time for herself. At this point we are 10 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the fiction movie debut from writer-director Kent Jones, whose prior work was all in documentaries, including the excellent "Hitchcock/Truffaut" a few years ago. Here he brings the story of Diane and her family and friends, all doing the bet they can, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Even though there is the troubled son, it needs to be made clear that this is NOT a drug-addiction movie like the recent "Beautiful Boy" and "Ben Is Back". Brian's struggles are just a parallel story to many other struggles that we watch play out. At time this is a seemingly mundane people, but in the end we get a rich and nuanced character study that is deeply moving and affecting. Veteran actress Mary Kay Place shines in the title role.
"Diane" premiered at last year's Tribeca film festival to positive acclaim. Now, a year later, it finally made its way to my art-house theater here in Cincinnati. The Saturday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended so-so (exactly 10 people, including myself). Maybe this movie can find a wider audience as it is released on other platforms. If you are in the mood for a rich and nuance character study of an "ordinary" woman, I'd readily recommend you check this out, be it in theater (if you can), on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray.