Yet another indie examination of humanity’s escalating technophilia, Small, Beautifully Moving Parts addresses its oh-so-contemporary concerns through the story of Sarah (Anna Margaret Hollyman), a Manhattanite obsessed with gadgets who finds herself unprepared for the news that she’s pregnant. Hollyman imbues her shaken protagonist with understated sensitivity, even when writers/directors Annie Howell and Lisa Robinson have her pose implausible—and theme-underlining—questions to strangers about whether technology improves life and human relationships. Sarah’s struggle with these issues drives her to find her estranged mother (Mary Beth Peil), who’s holed up at a remote meditation commune in the Nevada desert. That journey of self-discovery involves encounters with both her dad (Rich Hoag), who’s engaged in a Skype affair with a South American woman he has never physically met, and with her boyfriend Leon’s
(Andre Holland) sister (Susan Kelechi Watson), who celebrates the “premodern” and tells Sarah that her “chi animal” is a half-lizard, half-lightbulb. As Sarah copes with various mini epiphanies about the joys and necessity of at least partially disconnecting from machines and reconnecting with flesh and blood, the film never pushes its Luddite agenda too obnoxiously. Unfortunately, its tale is so slight and simple that it also fails to say anything particularly poignant about life.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 9, 2012