Guest post by Aimée MacArthur
Bio: Aimée writes the blog, Indianapolis Amy, where she takes photos and shares her recommendations on food, movies, pop culture, and travel.
Some of my favorite films are character-driven films like Victor Nunez’s Ruby in Paradise or Tom McCarthy’s The Station Agent, with quiet, but strong lead characters. We see the characters in their everyday life, whether it’s at work, walking along a street or at home making dinner. You learn a lot by watching someone else’s routine. And, pay close attention to what they say.
In Late Summer, the film’s lead character, Nadia (Michelle Lynn Hardin) confesses to a friend, “You know what I hate? When people say ‘I can’t figure you out.’ Like it’s a bad thing, like you’re some kind of math problem. I don’t ever want to be figured out.” Nadia may be young, probably nineteen or so, but she’s complex and you can tell she’s got a lot on her mind.
Nadia is a devoted daughter, but also smart and full of spunk. Nadia and her mother, Sonya (Tomiko Robinson) share a tight mother/daughter bond. They spend their free time together and genuinely love each other. Nadia delayed college for a year in order to stay home and take care of her ill mother. Sonya’s character is a strong African-American mother who’s an excellent role model and wants the best for her daughter.
Late Summer may seem slow a bit slow at first, but stick with it, it’s a touching coming of age film with a healthy mother/daughter relationship. And, healthy relationships can be complicated and filled with tough decisions. Change is hard. There are plenty of movies out there that show strained, dysfunctional and highly unhealthy mother/daughter relationships (yep, I’m referring to Terms of Endearment). Late Summer shakes things up a bit and shows a mother/daughter relationship that has mutual love and respect.
Late Summer is a beautiful film by writer/director Ernie Parks, with a breakout performance by Michelle Lynn Hardin (Nadia). Other highlights: contemporary score that drew me in and simple, yet gorgeous cinematography.
Ernie Park 2012
Categories: Hoosier Lens Features
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Rolling On The Floor Laughlng
In the contemporary drama short, Rolling On The Floor Laughing, adult sons, Chris and Stephen, come home to celebrate their mother Caroline’s birthday. Caroline is a widow and is in a new relationship with Jack. There are complications when Jack arrives and joins the festivities.
Although there are some laughs in this film, the title is more sarcastic and definitely not to be taken literally.
This short film is a contemporary drama about what happens to the family dynamic when a widowed parent moves on with a new relationship. The celebration starts out joyous, yet is later filled with tension and awkward moments. Add a few bottles of wine and angry sons who are jealous and feel threatened and you’ve got a helluva evening. As the evening progresses, the sons make more and more rude and crass comments to their mother and to her new boyfriend.
Introducing your sons to a new boyfriend at a family party? Talk about setting yourself up for a mess of an evening and an awful birthday.
I won’t lie to you. I squirmed in my seat a few times while I was watching this film. The family relationships in Rolling On The Floor Laughing seem very real and there is palpable drama. I’ve been to a few awkward dinner parties and I’m always the first to try and be the peacemaker during angry and embarrassing conversations. If that doesn’t work, I usually leave as quickly as I can. So I’ll admit it was hard to watch family members say things to each other that they may not be able to repair later.
A cocktail of booze and seething anger isn‘t good in real life, but it makes for an entertaining film. Rolling On The Floor Laughing provides a good mix of family drama, suspenseful moments and sharp acting by the ensemble cast. I enjoyed this clever script by writer/director and Indiana native, Russell Harbaugh. See this film with your favorite family member. You’ll definitely have lots to talk about.
ROLLING ON THE FLOOR LAUGHING
Russell Harbaugh 2011
Categories: Hoosier Lens Shorts
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The 9th annual Indianapolis International Film Festival features more than 100 films in 10 days. July 19-29 at IMA and Earth House. See the entire 2012 line up!