Finally, a sexually viable onscreen mom whose jeans maintain an appropriately high waistline, who wears chunky sneakers to the grocery store, and whose wrinkles are visibly defined — in short, one who may resemble your own mother more than any immaculate-skinned Modern Family cast member.
Fay (Melissa Leo) is a humble single parent running a small-town mailing/body-piercing facility, already deeply settled into life as a reclusive plant lady. She has also turned a blind eye to daughter Sylvie’s burgeoning painkiller addiction.
So when Becket (Josh Hamilton), an offbeat but entirely lovable environmentalist, enters their home as a boarder, we’re led to believe, for a split second, that this warm little comedy will mature into a typical indie romance — that is, make the easy match and pair up the eccentric, troubled young people, having them root each other’s directionless lives and so on and so forth.
But it’s Fay, not Sylvie (played by Marin Ireland with inspired vapidity), who lands the man, and a much younger man at that. Writer-director Enid Zentelis devotes considerable time to revealing that Fay and Becket are the better of the possible pairings, despite their age difference — think Rushmore, not Notes on a Scandal.
The jokes are not always consistent but highly effective when they strike. Like Sylvie’s wardrobe of oversized hoodies, the humor is loose and natural. It breaks up the tension of this addiction story with small, bright moments of pure joy.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 26, 2014