This happened to be one of my most hyped films of the year. I am a big fan of Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan so I knew I had to check this out as soon as earthly possible. Had the pleasure of attending a screening of this film at the IFC Center with directer Paul Dano and co-wwriter Zoe Kazan present for a Q & A. The film is beautiful to look at with rich cinematography, has a number of strong performances with a fantastic one from Carey Mulligan, and shows that Dano and Kazan have the talent to get behind the camera and bring a quality piece of work.
The film shows a family in 1960’s Montana and how life changing events cause their family to fall apart. After the father is fired, he decides to take a job putting out wildfires which causes him to leave the home for an extended period of time. During this time his wife struggles trying to hold her family together by doing whats best for them but she also questions if she even loves her husband. All this while, their teenage son has to watch his parents drift apart silently. The film stars Carey Mulligan, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ed Oxenbould, and Bill Camp.
As mentioned earlier the cinematography and especially the scenery in this film are gorgeous. Lush, rich and a perfect description for a simpler quieter time in 60’s Montana. The film gets quite uncomfortable as you start wondering about the state of mind Jeanette Brinson (Mulligan) and what she gets herself into. You are basically like the teenage son Joe (Oxenbould). You see things from his lenses, feel exactly what he is feeling, and can’t look away much like him. Its a startling tale but one that depicts a perfect looking family where it is anything but.
Carey Mulligan is one of the best actresses out there today, that’s not even a debate. She’s had so many great performances that I don’t even know which is her best. This is definitely up there though. It’s such an introspective look into the lives of a family where things are just beyond repair. I’m very impressed by Dano and Kazan. Both are talented on the camera but wow they were able to engineer something so wonderful behind the camera. I’m definitely intrigued to see if the duo decide to continue with film-making an writing.