Tribeca: Mary Kay Place leads "Diane"
Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at 7:00PM
JA in Diane, Kent Jones, Mary Kay Place, Reviews, Tribeca

Tribeca has ended but we have a few more movies to talk about. Here's by Jason Adams with a movie to keep your eye out for...

Why is it so hard to describe why Kent Jones' Diane works so well? Twice just after seeing it I stumbled trying to do so. Just laying down the plot is insufficienct. It's about an older woman in a small town whose son is a drug addict and whose cousin is sick with cancer. But that makes it sound like something Lifetime coughed up. So you've gotta start with Diane herself. Veteran character actress Mary Kay Place plays her, and already you can feel it. The no-nonsense lived-in vibe of it. The wood grain. Just keep going from there...

Jones' surrounds Place with (dare I say) a true sense of place. This film is a world of interesting and under-sung faces. You're going to hear some well-earned hosannas about Jake Lacy's surprising turn as her son. Not long after its begun this world feels so real, so tangible, like a screen that you've crawled through a la Mia Farrow's Purple Rose. By the last act as time begins to play tricks on us and contract and expand in surprising ways, you're deeply hooked - you're going along with Diane wherever she wants to take you. And take you she does, warmly hand in hand, to some graceful and gorgeous spots. 

And you don't want to let go. Jones' camera mostly keeps its distance, shooting these places and faces with a true Northeastern respect-my-space familiarity. For her part Mary Kay never goes for the jugular with any of the material, knowing full well how to make us lean in and feel something just by virtue of her beautiful stillness.

It all feels so genuine. I want to say "I know these women" because I grew up in a town that looks just like this, an island adrift on patches of thatchy snow, muddy boots and aluminum tins of church food. But I think we all know these women. Or we get to thanks to Diane's ninety blessed minutes with them.

Article originally appeared on The Film Experience (
See website for complete article licensing information.