Willets Point: Queens Has Issues


A jarring fusion of blue-collar lament and the-more-you-know medical drama, Willets Point initially focuses on the pressure that married couple Guillo (Alfredo Romero Suarez) and Doris Blanco (Lorraine Rodriguez) come under when Guillo’s job working in New York City’s “iron triangle” (a concentration of auto yards in Queens) is threatened by the mayor’s plans to redevelop the area. Doris is a wine distributor, and their nine-year-old daughter (Natalie Garcia) is a very successful cute person, but, like many, the family lives on a financial edge. First-time writer/director T.J. Collins strains to strike a balance between issue film and character piece, mistaking slacky interludes for style: Scenes of bald workplace exposition are followed by, say, a full, moody minute of Doris and Guillo cooing nonsense in bed. Added to this already unstable mix, secretive Doris is diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, a plotline that seems to stand apart from the rest of the film. The couple can’t stop confronting their issues, but we never get a sense of how they might actually face them. Eventually, Collins veers into PSA territory, and, instead of ending, the film simply trails off.