Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Oscar History
Welcome

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

Powered by Squarespace
Don't Miss This!
Comment Fun

If Beale Street Could Talk

"Thank you ! Did we all read "Giovanni's Room" when we were teens ... and were slightly baffled and taken ?? Now I'm curious .. about this movie" - Martin

"We don’t deserve something this beautiful in 2018..." - Margaret

"I thought it was a terrific, lovely film but with some flaws. I don't think the voiceovers work well in the film and nor was it necessary since the film was already so infused with Baldwin's voice. " - Raul 

Interviews


GLENN CLOSE (The Wife)

recent
Hirokazu Koreeda (Shoplifters)

Ofir Raul Grazier (The Cakemaker)
Jeremiah Zagar (We the Animals)

Keep TFE Strong

We're looking for 500... no 465 Patron SaintsIf you read us daily, please be one.  Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

What'cha Looking For?
Subscribe
« Farewell to the Prince | Main | Thoughts I Had... The "Cafe Society" Poster »
Thursday
Apr212016

Tribeca: Custody

Team Experience is at the Tribeca Film Festival. Here's Manuel on "Custody".

"I wanted to have the film center on female characters." That was James Lapine in a post-screening Q&A of his latest film, Custody, which premiered this past week. And boy has he delivered. Steering pretty far from familiar ground for him (he of Into the Woods and Six by Sondheim fame), Lapine has crafted a mosaic-like portrait of the labyrinthine bureaucracy that are the family court proceedings in New York City. Sara Diaz, a young single mother of two (Catalina Sandino Moreno, putting those wounded eyes to great use), finds herself embroiled in a custody battle when an accident leaves her son with a black eye that forces the school to call child services. Sara is assigned to a freshly minted lawyer, Ally Fisher (Hayden Panettiere, in her most mature role to date) who quickly realizes there's more to this case than her client leads on. This makes pleading her case at Martha Schulman’s court all the trickier, especially as the city is still reeling from a previous tragedy caused by a failure in the system; all involved are committed to not letting another child be sent back to a negligent household.

The structure of the film is such that we see the court proceedings but also get to know these characters: we see Schulman (Viola Davis, imperious and sympathetic in equal measure) as she struggles with marital problems, and see Sara adjusting to the increasingly frustrating ordeal of being separated from her kids, while Ally finally attempts to bring closure to a family secret. And while these three actresses are fantastic all around, coloring their interactions with the complexity and nuance which Lapine's script demands, it is Ellen Burstyn, in two key scenes as Ally’s grandmother, that gives everyone a master class in acting. She's helped by a prickly (and at key times light-hearted) script that grapples with Big Issues but wraps them in personal stories that never feel (solely) didactic. 

That is, until the last 20 or so minutes when Lapine inexplicably gives Viola and Catalina two monologues that play like bluntly-written thesis statements for the film. They’re impassioned pleas that nevertheless sell the screenplay short, giving viewers who would dub this a "TV movie on the big screen" all the Law & Order/Boston Legal comparisons you'd ever need. 

Grade: B / Performances all around: A

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (4)

Always appreciate a reviewer who realizes that a film with great performances is not always a great or even a good film.

April 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

This movie looks really interesting! Love women stories!

April 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDILMA

Who's playing Viola's husband?

April 22, 2016 | Unregistered Commentersummer

summer: Tony Shalhoub plays her husband.

April 22, 2016 | Registered CommenterManuel Betancourt

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>