Lindsey Shaw is the narrator and competently played protagonist in this plotless drama about grief and parenthood.
When Lissa has a pregnancy scare she starts to look inward at her own tragic experience of family life. The events of which are chronicled by the what, where, how and why. Each is bookended with a title card shot; the characters spelling out the name of the segment with a sparkler. How cute.
At times it feels like the clumsily named, 1/1, tries to capture a reckless youthful energy in a small town. The present day Lissa channels the pocket rocket hacker Lisbeth Salander from the Stieg Larsson novels. Complete with sweeping fringe, an agitated nicotine addiction, a bit of a recluse, a fiery temperament and the punky shoes to match.
But despite Shaw’s convincing demeanor as the damaged young woman, there was something I couldn’t muster watching the film. It was sympathy. I just couldn’t care for her. I didn’t care that her world was imploding or that, bit by bit, the horrific stories of her past were surmounting to a barely audible crescendo. It was like begrudgingly listening to a story told by someone who talks too much. I was nodding and listening, just with glazed eyes.
As we move through the chronicles, Lissa, and the film’s tone, matures from angsty teenager to misguided young woman. In the opening passages she’s suffocated by the rural Pennsylvania town she lives in, actually pacing outside the health clinic like an unstimulated animal in captivity.
There’s a great deal of good will in this film. Director Jeremy Phillips takes aim at domestic violence, mental health disorder and suicide in a compact package. The components are there, they just don’t stand up.
The script, in particular, lets down Phillips’ film. The lines exchanged between Shaw and her character’s boyfriend in a diner are toe curlingly paltry.
“How could you say that? After last year, after my mum, after my dad?”.
“Here’s the truest thing I’ve ever said: fuck you.”
“I’m hungry. I’m hungry and bored”.
You and I both, Lissa. That didn’t even touch the sides.