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Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Review of a Film Dealing With Siblings

Neil Young had a review at hollywoodreporter.com of "The Unspeakable Act."

He summarizes...
Sensitive subject-matter is handled with tact and intelligence in this tart if talky US indie.
But what does that mean?
Though looking somewhat older than her character's 17 years (working out the characters' ages is a frequent distraction), diminutive newcomer Tallie Medel compels attention as intelligent, analytical high-schooler Jackie Kimball -- whose dark green bushbaby eyes peer out at the world under black bangs. Brought up in austere comfort by her writer mother -- played by Aundrea Fares as an wispily ethereal Patti Smith lookalike -- after the mysterious, possibly drug-related death of her father, Jackie is on nodding terms with her sister Jean (Kati Schwartz) but has long nursed an intense crush on her charismatic, scholarly brother Matthew (Sky Hirschkron). This she details in exhaustive voiceovers that make up a hefty proportion of the script.

Matthew is fully aware of the situation -- as Jackie puts it, the duo have always had an "unspoken agreement that we belonged to each other" -- but has no urge to reciprocate, the pair living in their own little world thanks to their mother's benign neglect. Matters come to a head when Matthew departs for college, sending Jackie into such a crisis that she ends up in therapy -- at the picture's halfway stage, this being the first time that we actually learn the protagonist's name. Former Los Angeles Reader reviewer Sallitt, whose two previous outings (1998's Honeymoon and 2004's All the Ships at Sea) were generally liked by the few who saw them, thus signals that therapy is the first step of Jackie moving away from her fixation on Matthew and coming to terms with her own identity as an adult. Indeed, by the end his picture feels a little too much like a slightly pat advertisement for the benefits of psychiatry.
Hmmm. There are siblings who grow up together and grow into a happy, lifelong, spousal love with each other, and there's nothing wrong with that. I'd like to see them get a respectful treatment at the cinema.
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