Reese Holden (Deschanel) is a struggling actress, living in New York City just trying to get by. She gets an offer from a publishing company to publish letters that her father wrote to her mother. Her father is a well known author, and her mother has recently passed away. Reese decided to return home after she is offered 100,000 dollars for the letters. Upon returning home she realizes that her father has let himself go, and he is now living with a former student and a want to be musician.
Reese Holden: I just can't believe this is the same man who told his six-year-old daughter that Christmas was a Republican capitalistic conspiracy created by the Hallmark Corporation and that, if Jesus were alive today he'd be down in Nicaragua rallying the Sandinistas. Grace Away.
Reese has just returned home and nothing is what it used to be, not that she really enjoyed the way things used to be as a child. She hasn’t had any contact with her parents in almost seven years and she is bribed into going back to visit her father. She quickly sees that he has changed and she begins to question these changes.
Zooey Deschanel plays the role of Reese perfectly, Reese is struggling, and I liked the early 20 minutes or so of a glimpse into her New York life before she heads home. New York city is a wonderful place as many of us know, such a diversified city with many things to do, but as we see with Reese life can get in the way of glamour.
I originally thought there would be a little more humour to this film, but as it progressed I was really impressed with the road they took, allowing lonely people to be the center of a lonely world, where they relied on each other to get through the tough times. Set against a cold back drop the setting actually sets the mood for the way the people felt, so cold and isolated from the rest of the world.
Ed Harris wasn’t used to his full potential, yes I know the film centered around Reese and her world and how she felt about the ever changing world in which she is a part of, but Harris’s character had many different aspects they could have dove full force into, instead they took the high road so to speak and left us with a simple character. We all know what drove to this point in his life, but perhaps a few flashback scenes set with a nice black and white back tone could have been the key to an emotionally gripping film.
I am not going to complain about the finished product, I really liked what I saw, and how the actors were convincing, but I think there was so much more to these peoples pain that they failed to explore. Pain is painful, and in these people you could feel their pain, but perhaps I was hoping for visuals of their pain. People might see that as odd, and the way I worded it could seem odd, but I mean that leaving the pain to our imagination doesn’t work .
Will Farrell was miscast, and as much as I like this guy, I couldn’t feel his need to do a dramatic role for a change. It was like the script writer tried to play for comedic dramatics which does not play with the rest of the film at all. Perhaps I am just used to Will Farrell doing what he does best, which is laugh out loud over the top comedy and him playing a simple down to earth man just wasn’t the piece that fit to complete the films puzzle.
As an entire film though, and having had time to process this film and what it all means, I have to admit that nothing else matters in this film other then Reese Holden and what her character is trying to accomplish, the story could be predictable, the settings dreary and cold, the dialogue a bit misguided, but all in all Reese struggled with her morals, and her deciding what was right and what was wrong. She came into herself, and as clichéd as that can be seen, everyone must do that. And Zooey nailed it. In the end Reese and Don are the two characters that shaped the film from start to finish, and even as a struggling actress living in NYC Reese was a product of how she grew up. So I guess what I am saying is as long as Ed Harris and Zooey Deschanel captured what seemed to be realistic emotions then this film is good, but it went beyond that, as Don and Reese grow to understand one another.