Coming from writer/director Fran Kranz and Bleecker Street comes the story of two couples that are trying to come to terms with the MASS.
Judy (Breeda Wool) and Anthony (Kagen Albright) are preparing a room in the basement of a church. Trying to make it comfortable and stress free, they meet with Kendra (Michelle N. Carter) who looks over everything giving it her seal of approval.
In the parking lot are couple Gail (Martha Plimpton) and Jay (Jason Isaacs), sitting in the car discussing if they are able to go inside. Gail becomes stressed at the mere idea of what they have decided to do on this day. Gathering their wits about them, they go inside to meet with Kendra entering the very quiet room set up for them.
A few minutes later, Linda (Ann Dowd) and Richard (Reed Birney) come into the room as both couples sit around a table. Kendra leaves them to talk but that is where the awkwardness begins. These two couples have come together to discuss their sons, death, reasons, excuses and pain that no one else in the world could know.
It is about to get real honest real fast!
Plimpton as Gail is, as the actress describes it, “is a woman who is kind of frozen. She loves her husband; she’s alienated and stuck there. She desperately wants to see a way out, but she is not able to navigate it. I wanted to find out where the character would take me.” She takes on this character’s pain, frustration and anguish to such a level that is believable and hits deep to the heart.
Isaacs as Jay is a man who wants to help the grief his wife is feeling but it is mixed with anger of his own. Trying to be more analytical than emotion is testing his own limits. “I read it and sobbed…how do people get beyond resentment; how do people get beyond hatred? How do people see their sworn enemies as human beings?” Issacs takes his character through all the gambit of emotions, but it takes saying everything he needs to find that place of living again.
Dowd as Linda is a woman who has wrapped herself with a shroud of grief and guilt never knowing which is going to take over. Just walking into the room, Dowd’s character is a shell and guilt is pouring out of every move she makes. “Hers is a heart injury and a soul injury that she does not believe will be released ever. She’ll move forward, just to be able to stay alive…she retained her kindness, and she did not put up the strong and tall wall to protect herself.”
Birney as Richard is a well dress businessman who sees everything straight forward even though it clearly is not. He speaks as a man who is hesitant to admit to anything wrong but when push comes to shove, it is the way he speaks that brings out the frustration for Gail and Jay. “He [Richard] clearly does not want to be at this meeting. He’ll show up but he’s not going to be – intimidated by the situation in the room.”
Bleecker Street is a New York City film company that has brought outstanding films to the public. Their library includes TRUMBO, DENIAL, THE LOST CITY OF Z, BEIRUT, HOTEL MUMBAI, ORDINARY LOVE and THE ROADS NOT TAKEN. For more information on the titles from Bleeker Street please visit www.bleeckerstreetmedia.com.
MASS has its world premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.
“This is a movie about life after loss and the need for reconciliation,” says director Kranz. “I never imagined when I wrote it that it could fee so relevant and urgent, and I am honored to work with Bleecker Street in finding the largest audience possible for this story”.
MASS is a film that is so relevant as once something like this happens, we are shocked and speak about gun control then it stops. What is left behind are families – Moms, Dads, sister, brothers, aunts, uncle, grandparents, and friends who attempt to piece together the biggest question of all – why?
It is not that this film will answer those questions, instead, we are privy to the process of these two families sorting out the niceties, pleasantries and the brutal truth about what is really underneath. This is how they deal with the day-to-day life trapped in a swamp of toxicity. Its time for the truth, a reality check and to just breathe!
MASS is brilliantly done with no distractions on the screen as these four actors take this story head on and do not let up for the entire one hour and fifty minutes. Nothing slips by and excuses are not tolerated, instead, we are the fifth person in the room who is not allowed to speak but asked to feel. That is extremely powerful.
In the end – the only way out is to forgive.