In theatres this Friday from director Chris Messina and Screen Media Films comes an awakening when you’re ALEX OF VENICE.
The film tells the story of Alex (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a woman doing her best work as an attorney while trying to take care of a family and a father who, at times, tests her patience.
Trying to save a marsh from destruction from Frank (Derek Luke), she comes home one day to find husband George (Chris Messina) tired of being a stay-at-home-dad-and-painter. Grumbling about his inability to and take care of Alexs’ father (played by Don Johnson), he abruptly leaves.
Son Dakota (Skylar Gaertner) watches his mother’s nerves become unraveled as she tries to instantly become super Mom. Seeing what’s happening, Grandpa calls in reinforcements in the form of sister Lily (Katie Nehra).
Angry at George, Alex feels as if she has to reinvent herself in order to find out where she fits in the world once again. She has to do it before the biggest case of her career comes before a judge!
FINAL WORD: Winstead as Alex does a brilliant job of bringing this character to life. There is something totally believable about this actress that I had not one moment of doubt believing her performance. In the midst of the chaos is a vulnerability that is so charming and endearing which I thoroughly enjoyed for a change.
Gaertner as Dakota is a young man who knows more about adulthood than he really needs to. I just loved watching the ‘first love’ happening for this character and Gaetner bring just the right sweetness. Nehra as Lily is the sister who gets to be the awesome Aunt and Alex just isn’t happy about having to be the responsible one of the bunch. Luke as Frank is an experience Alex had to have in order to move into her new life.
Johnson’s performance is absolutely stellar and heartbreaking in so many respects. He wants his career to be good and family to be happy but there is more here than the girls had imagined. It isn’t easy to see a parent that was once so vibrant and animated come slowly away from the person he once was. Johnson gives this character a quiet dignity, well done.
Other cast includes: Matthew Del Negro as Jamie, Marin Hinkle as Liubov Andreyevna, Michael Chernus as Trofimov, Katie Nehra as Lily, Timm Sharp as Josh, Will McCormack as Director, Susan Pourfar as Varya and Vanessa Aspillaga as Vanessa.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give ALEX OF VENICE three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. This is a wonderful film about not only having to start a life over again but the realities that come along with relationships that change in all guises.
The cast just brings together a story that has so many branches but they are all in the same family tree. There is so much here about the dynamics of family, sibling relationships, marriage, friendships, growing up, motherhood and remembering that being human means we are all going to screw up now and again.
Messina does a good job of bringing this all together as the director while managing to be the husband having his own crisis about life.
In the end – her life is just getting started…again!