Coming to theatres from writer/director Rebecca Miller and Vertical Entertainment comes the story of love, life and the messiness in between with SHE CAME TO ME.
Steven Lauddem (Peter Dinklage) writes and composes opera for the theatre and has hit a creative road block. Frustrated, he turns to wife Patricia (Anne Hathaway) but she is too busy either cleaning the house or cleaning up the lives of her patience being a therapist. Son Julian (Evan Ellison) is also living his best life having just turned 18 and in his final year of high school as well as having a love of his own with Tereza (Harlow Jane). So, Steven is plodding along waiting for his next inspiration to strike. He doesn’t have to wait long.
While bellying up to the bar to drown his sorrows at the local watering hole, Steven meets Katrina (Marisa Tomei), a romance addict tug boat captain who seduces the lost married man. Knowing he has just made a mistake; he hurries back to life leaving it all behind. That is until he decides that his creative block is over, he produces an opera loosely based on his experience and it is well received. Even wife Patricia is moved by the work and Steven starts feeling better!
Patricia hires cleaning lady Magdalena (Joanna Kulig) to help with her compulsive need for cleanliness and when Julian arrives home from school and is introduced, an awkward moment becomes apparent when Tereza recognizes Magdalena. If that isn’t strange enough, Patricia beings to find a new compulsion to hang out at the Catholic church and isn’t really sure why. Equally as bizarre is that Katrina has seen the new opera and is once again infatuated with Steven, love and a bit of stalking.
When Magdalena discovers what daughter Tereza has been doing, she finds pictures and takes them to Trey (Brian d’Arcy James) to figure out what to do next. Trey decides he is going to become Tereza’s jailer but mom might have something to say about it. When everyone’s problems become a stage production, all hands-on deck come up with answers that will take each of them in different directions they never could have seen coming and a happiness they had all been missing.
Dinklage as Steven is a man who loves his creativity so when it eludes him, he goes into a funk and the wife has to snap him out of it. Thinking that a walk will do it, it is actually an encounter with a tug boat captain and a dip in the ocean that changes everything. Dinklage is so strong in this role that his insecurities react depending on who is in front of him and the emotional consequences. Even at his most panicked, Dinklage is charming, boyish but equally protective and secretly gamed to explore the world that frightens him.
Hathaway as Patricia is a woman with more issues than any magazine rack could ever possibly hold. She is regimented in her dress, the house and the lives of her family but buried somewhere underneath is a desire that no one could have imagined. Hathaway gives us a straight-forwardness in these characters regimented life mixed in with a suppression that she ignores but it seeps through her skin.
Tomei as Katrina admits to anyone who will listen that she has an issue with romance – she wants it, craves it and has gotten herself into trouble trying to find it. Blurring the lines between her encounter with Steven and how she handles it makes one thing clear – boundaries, girl, boundaries. Tomei is rough around the edges but none-the-less charming in that she wants what most people don’t say out loud. Her tug boat crew sees her for who she truly is but they don’t have their caps screwed on very tight either.
Kulig as Magdalena is a woman who is also trapped by her choices as well. Sometimes it is easier to just plod along a familiar path and make no waves, but life has a way of causing ripples and Magdalena has to make hard choices. Kulig is a relatable character and I immediately wanted to tell her character to ‘run!’ away from her marriage, that’s a good character portrayal.
Ellison as son Julian seems to be handling life extremely well considering who his parents are but also coming to the age were trying to avoid their adult problems is getting more difficult. He is happy with his future choices, love and the prospect of college so it’s mainly go along to get along. Jane as Tereza is a few years younger than love Julian but already knows what it is she wants – and it isn’t life with her parents.
Other cast include Aalok Mehta as Anton, Dale Soules as Auntie Moxie, Samuel H. Levine as Raef Gundel, Jen Ponton as Elodie, Bryan Terrell Clark as Frank Hall,
Vertical Entertainment is a global independent distributor that offers a unique wealth of experience minus the studio costs. They have won a Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress for Molly Shannon’s role in OTHER PEOPLE and the film won a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Film Limited Release, Best International Film for Babak Anvari’s UNDER THE SHADOW, a BAFTA and three Independent British Independent Film Awards as well.
SHE CAME TO ME is original and twistedly honest look at love when the lines we try so hard to cover up, intersect and there is nowhere to hide from it. These are people who are either stuck in what is expected of them no matter what past trauma sits right below the surface or have become afraid of their own dreams lost in shadows. The younger couple have those same dreams and fear, it just hasn’t reached such epic proportion in them as it has in the adults. In the middle are indecisions and crossed lines that let each person know to either stand up or stay seated in life.
I also love the quirky factor in each of these characters and the reactions they have that are just a little over the top. There are degrees of overreactions and many that totally flip the script but each fit the characters perfectly. Even the totally gross Trey started out with quirks until his twists showed easily. The operas had me thinking ‘what the heck?’ but couldn’t turn away from it either with its flowy music and beautiful sets.
The thing is, in the end, they all found their content spot. I don’t say happy because that’s a subjective word but in their faces at the final opera, on the tub boat, they find a contentment and I’m all about it for each character. It’s a mix of stage creatives, therapists, housekeepers, stenographers, tub boat captains and a couple of kids who think they already have the world figured out and they are all in for a huge surprise.
In the end – sometimes you need to get lost!