Walter, well played by Andrew J. West (The Walking Dead, Greek), is the son of god, not that son of god, not Jesus, he’s the other one. Walter is tasked with deciding who on Earth goes to heaven or hell. He does this with a kind of instinct and can only do this to people who are living. Which makes it awkward when Greg, Justin Kirk (Weeds), turns up as he’s dead but hasn’t been judged already.
Walter is a ticket clerk at the local multiplex, he’s in love with Kendall, Leven Rambin (The Hunger Games, Percy Jackson) who’s the popcorn girl. Walter is socially awkward, in fact he’s pretty much awkward in any way you look at him. He can’t even talk to Kendall but does day-dream about her which gives rise to some beautiful American Beauty-esq sequences.
Walter’s mother Karen, Virginia Madsen (Sideways, Candyman) perpetuates this awkwardness by having her own foibles. Since Walter’s father died of cancer, played by Peter Facinelli (The Twilight Saga) in flashbacks, Karen has become obsessed with cooking eggs, doesn’t leave the house much, doesn’t work and is worried about Walter thinking he’s gay or that he cuts himself or he’s on drugs.
Greg begins to make Walter’s life a misery, a ghost who pops up at various times to push Walter in ways he isn’t used to. All Greg wants is to be judged not caring if he goes to heaven or hell but Walter can’t help him.
Walter goes to a psychiatrist, William H. Macy, whose way of dealing with people is to generally call them crazy a lot. But, eventually, Walter is helped as it becomes clear that, well, that would be telling, but let’s just say that Greg’s widow, Neve Campbell (Scream), might be the connector in all of this.
Walter is a great movie with some very funny moments and, whilst not immediately apparent, handles the difficult subject of loss very well. The performances are top-notch all round, not just from the main cast but the support too with Milo Ventimiglia (Heros) adding some comedy, good-looking smarm to the film.
Director Anna Mastro (Matter, Bench Seat) does very well to put Walter into context, often showing him as a small man against large places that dwarf him.
Paul Shoulberg wrote the film, taking his original 2010 short and adapting it to a full length movie. I haven’t seen the short so can’t put the movie in that context but I can say it’s great. It has an almost Wes Anderson feel to it at times and, whilst some questions aren’t answered (like does Walter really judge the living), it’s kind of nice that it stays that way. Up in the air, so to speak.