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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

At the Rome Film Fest: 'Middle of Nowhere'

I got to see one more movie yesterday afternoon at the Rome Film Festival: 'Middle of Nowhere,' directed by John Stockwell, who also did 'Blue Crush' (and some less-memorable movies.)

Now I know why I kept thinking that Eva Amurri, who plays Grace, the main character, looked so much like the actress who plays her mom in the movie, Susan Sarandon. (As a non-reader of celebrity gossip mags, I wasn't aware that they actually are mother and daughter.)

The movie focuses on two teens who're struggling to leave home and break free of their parents. Sarandon plays a distracted mom who doesn't seem to have her daughters' best interests at heart; Anton Yelchin plays Dorian Spitz, a 17-year old who doesn't click with his ultra-wealthy adopted family (all of whom disappear abruptly after the first scene), but quickly falls for Grace when the two end up working at the same water park for the summer.

The movie effectively captures that series of experiences you have -- around love, work, friends, your family, your siblings -- when you are crossing the threshold from childhood into adulthood. I could have done without a few predictable moments (Dorian meeting his birth mother outside a bingo parlor), but on the whole it was one of those rare instances where you get to absorb some solid performances, writing, and directing -- all in the same movie.

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