The road trip movie is a sub-genre we all have frequently travelled. The true test is if the story separates it from the rest. In that sense Boundaries clearly speeds ahead of the pack.
In this drama, Laura, played by Vera Farmiga (“Up In The Air”, “The Conjuring”), has to bring her creative, misunderstood son Henry, played by Lewis MacDougall (“A Monster Calls“, “Pan”), on a cross country drive to transport her free spirited, pod dealing father after he gets kicked out of a nursing home.
The acting of this core trio was exceptional, Laura’s father Jack, with Christopher Plummer (“All The Money In The World“, “Remember”) owning that role, gives a comedic performance which balances out the dramatic elements nicely.
Vera Farmiga portrays Laura with heart and integrity. We quickly empathize with Laura when we learn that she is an animal rescuer. Her house is filled with stray cats and dogs that she takes in off the street because nobody else would.
One gets the impression there is more to this complex character then blind altruism. Laura is a divorced single mother, she is lonely. Unlike many travel movies when the focus of the story is where these characters are going physically, Boundaries is all about the emotional journey.
In many ways Jack becomes the father figure absent in young Henry’s life. Tensions rise when Laura takes the opportunity to bring up Jack’s less than stellar parenting history. And Jack tries to turn a new leaf, while he secretly sells his weed along the way.
Even the supporting cast shines in Boundaries. Kristen Schaal (“The Last Man On Earth”, “The Muppets“) for example is a unique and delightful presence as JoJo, Laura’s sister. Scenes like the one where they dance in tandem to try to cheer their aging father up, will have you convinced these two are sisters in real life.
Bobby Cannavale (“Ant-Man“, “Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle“) as Leonard, Laura’s Ex-husband, is the closest thing we have to an antagonist in this story. But like the other well crafted characters we come across in this story, Leonard is not all bad, he means well, but he is still flawed.
Boundaries is a natural and entertaining reflection on love, forgiveness and what is means to be uniquely human. Christopher Lloyd (“I Am Not A Serial Killer“, “Back To The Future”) plays a fun, eccentric character they meet along the way. Rounding out the cast is Peter Fonda (“Easy Rider”, “The Limey”) with a must see charismatic performance as always.
Boundaries was written and directed by Shana Feste, she has given us dramas such as The Greatest, and romance in Endless Love, so this road comedy was a very strong departure for her as a filmmaker. Boundaries premiered with high appraise at the 2018 South By Southwest Film Festival.
The best example I can give to compare the tone of Boundaries, is to relate it to the indie hit Little Miss Sunshine. The chemistry between this ensemble reminded me of Little Miss Sunshine while I laughed and cracked a smile.
I am happy to say the DVD includes bonus features worth the added value. There is a ten minute long behind the scenes with interviews with the cast and filmmakers. This mini documentary was telling and entertaining. In it, the writer/director Shana Feste reveals that the character of Laura was autobiographical, and many of the characters in Laura’s world are based on people Shana knows. This personal connection shows, in the care that was taken to bring this vision to the screen. Boundaries is available at major retailers on DVD and on most digital platforms.
Curt Wiser is the Writer/Director of the suspense movie Cam-Girl. As a filmmaker he is happy to watch and review the work of other artist, buy the ticket and take the ride.
THE QUICK SELL
Laura and her son Henry are forced to drive her estranged, pot-dealing, carefree father Jack across country after being kicked out of a nursing home.