Most unassuming romance/dramas tend to fall into tropes and clichés. This one never seems to fall into that trap. It is a very contained story, with few characters, that follows the life and attempts at healing of an older music critic with a continued penchant for young musicians. Collette (Hector and the Search for Happiness) sinks her teeth into this talented, but seriously damaged woman with an honest grin and an open, bleeding heart. Much like her relationship with on-screen support system Arianda (Hannibal), we accept her and forgive her and hope for her.
In the midst of her very private journey, several players come into the mix to help and confuse. Church (John Carter), Eggold (Blacklist), and Platt (Hope Springs) primary among them. Eggold, in particular was a surprise as he shows off his own musical talents in this piece as well.
Ultimately, as interesting as Wachtel’s story (her first) is, it is really director Griffiths’ (Abduction in Eden) hand guiding it that made it a worthwhile journey. Absent her clarity, this could have simply been standard melodrama or maudlin rumination. Instead, it is full of wry humor and honest, often bad, choices. But it is also infused with drive, passion, and hope. Admittedly, while some of the characters are just beyond the edge of belief, in particular Church’s, they remain consistent and grounded. Griffiths also chose to film this entirely in the Seattle area. For a change, Seattle looks like Seattle rather than Vancouver, for which I was surprisingly grateful.
This is a small story, with a large heart and some very worthwhile performances. But given the cast, that shouldn’t be a surprise. This movie slipped past a lot of viewers, you shouldn’t let it slip past you when you have an evening.