omplete QPORIT: THE ANSWER MAN

Friday, July 24, 2009

 

THE ANSWER MAN


Lauren Graham presented The Answer Man at Stony Brook
This is an image from the film.
A Magnolia Pictures release.
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

The Stony Brook Film Festival opened with a genuinely pleasant, often brilliant comedy, The Answer Man (aka Arlen Faber when it played at Sundance), with Jeff Daniels, Lauren Graham and a superior supporting cast, including Kat Denning (from Nick & Norah's infinite playlist), and Nora Dunn.

Jeff Daniels and Max Antisell
The Answer Man, a Magnolia Pictures release.
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Jeff Daniels is mostly brilliant (like the film, the script, the choice of music, and some of the cinematography), playing a religious-type author, and Lauren is properly down to earth.

Writer/Director John Hindman on set.
Photo courtesy of John Hindman.


The writer/director, John Hindman, may be a big new talent.
This film has a slightly different trajectory than most Hollywood movies. It starts with characters who once were ordinary, but then had gotten their lives jolted into somewhat higher orbits (with disturbed psyches and disturbed behavior) by traumatic events (illness & death & disappearance of parents and lovers, and arguably undeserved sudden fame). The film starts with the characters already unhinged, and is about the way they get re-hinged.

Toward the end, the film settles (or reaches?) for an exceptionally (logically) satisfying ending: suddenly accelerating the healing process to tie everything up unusually tightly, consistently, and quickly (without the same kind of edge that spiced up the rest of the film), ending on such a quiet, off-beat, ordinary frame it could be an instant classic ending.

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