Outside In (Spoiler Alert)
Great example of low budget drama film where the actor's capacities, almost exclusively, determines the movie's entertainment worth. No action film special effects here! The actor's skill, along with the direction by Lynn Sheldon, and some unique additions from the musical score, is what makes Outside In an outstanding film.
The story centers on Chris (Jay Duplass), a recently released convict, who was convicted and sent to prison at 18 years of age. He served 20 years to keep his brother Ted's (Ben Schwartz) involvement in a crime a secret and Ted out of jail. His former high school teacher Carol (Edie Falco), kept in contact with Chris while he was in prison and worked for his early release.
Carol is the second primary character in the movie. She is an English teacher and a person that is in a long and dreary marriage. She has also grown distant from the third primary character of the movie, her teenage daughter Hildy (Kaitlyn Dever). Carol's dreary marriage situation, and distance relationship to Hildy, is at least partially caused by the time Carol has devoted to helping Chris. Hildy is somewhat withdrawn from the world, and perhaps lonely, but takes refuge in her art, perhaps not realizing the artistic talent she possesses. Carol's husband Tom (Charles Leggett) seems to feel his marriage to Carol is supposed to be dreary at this point in their lives.
Chris's brother Ted (Ben Schwartz), whose life seems to be a continuous party. He appears to be guilt ridden because of Chris's prison sentence that protected him, his infrequent contact with Chris while Chris was in prison, and his inability to do anything meaningful with his life during the 20 years of freedom Chris's prison term has allowed him to have. Ted's incapability to reestablish a relationship with Chris takes away Chris's most likely potential emotional support relationship and leaves him somewhat isolated.
Adding to Chris's challenges is his arrested emotional development, caused by being in prison since the age of 18. It creates issues with his relationship with Carol - as well as with Hildy. Chris and Hildy in many ways are at the same emotional developmental level and bond because of it. Ironically the common emotional level of Chris and Hildy causes separate, but similar, emotional missteps in their relationships with others.
The film is filled with numerous situations (some humorous, some sad) where Chris needs to adjust to current technology, culture and history that are a result of being away and in prison for 20 years. The situations feel very real and not contrived for the movie's entertainment purposes.
The movie progresses at a steady pace and the viewer doesn't realize they are being swept along in what, at the end of the movie, seems to have been a very real and believable representation of a true life story. A very believable story that could have been about a family member, a friend, or someone you know.
The performance by Edie Falco (Carol) is outstanding, with every spoken line, facial expression and action seemingly very believable and true to life. Carol is a type of character that has not been a typical Falco role in the past. Her performance shows another dimension to her skills and is a credit to her career. Kaitlyn Dever (Hildy) also delivers the same outstanding level of performance - but with less screen time devoted to her character. Dever again shows that she is clearly skilled beyond her years and should have a brilliant career ahead of her. Jay Duplass (Chris) also delivers a strong performance but perhaps not demonstrating some of the same nuanced drama capability as Falco and Dever.
This is a film well worth viewing and a pleasure to watch. Perhaps Shelton's best film to date.
Overall a very strong recommendation.
An ex-con struggling to readjust to life in his small town forms an intense bond with his former high school teacher.
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April 07, 2018 at 03:32 AM