Soderbergh’s readiness to keep reinventing himself is remarkable, but less extraordinary than the fact that when he does it, he does it so very well. A case in point, this digital feature made with non-professional actors is quite simply one of the finest – perhaps even the finest American film of the year. Set in wintry West Virginia, it reveals how the friendship of two colleagues – twentysomething Kyle, who lives with his mom, and fortysomething Martha, who lives with and looks after her ailing dad – is affected by the arrival of a pretty young single mother at the doll factory where they work. It matters not that events take a turn towards what some have seen as the melodramatic; what counts here is the quality of Soderbergh’s gaze, at once dispassionate and compassionate, which takes the movie into realms of realism (as opposed to naturalism) undreamt of by Hollywood. Though it does nothing revolutionary, the film feels wholly fresh, unlike anything else (except that for no good reason this writer was reminded not only of Ozu and Dreyer but of Fassbinder). Whatever. I was blown away.