Unhook the Stars
Time Out saysThough her husband died leaving her financially secure, life isn't exactly great for Mildred (Rowlands). Her teenage daughter Ann Mary Margaret (Kelly) is an argumentative ungrateful sort who only visits when she wants something; her beloved son Ethan (Thornton) is supportive and solicitous, but he's keen to take her with his family to San Francisco and install her in a granny flat, and Mildred's not sure she wants to move. Mildred's a little bored and lonely - not that she'd complain - so when a new neighbour, foul-mouthed, frequently drunk Monica (Tomei), asks her to babysit for six-year-old JJ (Lloyd), Mildred's happy to oblige. Little does she know the encounter will change her life. Nick Cassavetes' debut as writer/director is a sensitive, honest, touching study of the seemingly limited options faced by a woman whose age belies her energy, enthusiasm and ability to enjoy herself whenever the opportunity presents itself. If it lacks the raw intensity and brilliant insights of his father John's work, Cassavetes Jr still provides enough subtly observed moments to suggest he's a talent to watch. The film features a clutch of terrific performances, headed by the director's mother - sweet, strong, vulnerable and iron-willed, Rowlands is entirely credible and affecting throughout. The film's only misjudgment is the inclusion of Depardieu in a minor but important role: while there's nothing wrong with his performance, we're just too aware of who he really is to be properly convinced that he's a French-Canadian trucker.