April 22, 2015

Alex of Venice (2014)

Alex of Venice (2014) - Movie Review
Directed by: Chris Messina
Country: USA

Movie Review: The true-to-life and unsentimental “Alex of Venice” works both as a character study and family drama. Even if not always cohesive in regard to the way it renders its characters, the film is solidly supported by an effectively constructed narrative and warm, glossy images, pulled out by the cinematographer Doug Emmett. Chris Messina, an actor-turned-director, managed to showcase affections and emotions with clarity, conveying a suave sensitivity without forcing or overdoing any circumstance of a story centered on a workaholic lawyer, Alex (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), whose life is turned upside down when her husband, George (Messina), leaves their house, located in the LA neighborhood of Venice. For a long time, he was unsatisfied for acting like a housewife – cleaning, cooking, and taking care, not only of their 10-year-old son, but also of his father-in-law, Roger (Don Johnson), an insecure washed-up actor who’s giving signs of needing medical care. Constantly in a rush, the super ambitious Alex is never around, never available, or concerned in enjoying a moment of relaxation in the company of her family. She’s almost a stranger to her own son who will get more and more attached to her recently arrived sister, the palely sketched Lily. Although the cast devotes all the efforts to turn this drama into a tight slice of real life, the film seems longer than its 86 minutes. And that comes from the fact that the characters moving around Alex are much weaker in terms of personality and consequently less interesting than she is. As an example, the episodes involving her father are redundant in terms of composition of the central story – it feels they’re just props filling some empty space. The result is enjoyable and still uneven when the pieces are put together.

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