Life, as with any great story, has a beginning and an end. Killing Eleanor is a surprisingly unique movie on that subject. Eleanor, played by Jenny O’Hara (“Devil”, “Mystic River”) is a terminally ill old woman who convinces a young drug addict, Natalie, played by Annika Marks (“The Sessions”, “Goliath (TV)”) to euthanize her in exchange for clean urine and to pay off a long standing debt.
From very early on, we see that Natalie is troubled, but she is trying to turn her life around. She has our sympathies. When Eleanor makes a surprise visit with Natalie at her family beauty salon, fulfilling Eleanor’s wish for a peaceful passing is the unlikely path for Natalie to redeem herself.
What follows is a road movie filled with heart and dramatic turns. Along the way, we get a better sense of the relationship both of these women have with their families. Natalie gets a heavy dose of mistrust from her family, due to her history with drug addiction. We get a sense this comes from a place of love however, will Natalie embrace it?
Conflict simmers between Natalie and her adversarial sister, Anya, played with conviction by Betsy Brandt (“Breaking Bad (TV)”). The more Eleanor and Natalie learn about each other, the closer they become. Killing Eleanor is a story filled with hope, heartache and frailty. This is a truly touching movie.
Jenny O’Hara gives a strong performance as Eleanor Magnus, playing that role to the hill. Annika Marks boldly portrays Natalie with a natural honesty. The acting all around was great in this movie. Our cast also includes Cerina Vincent (“Cabin Fever”, “Tales Of Halloween”) and Thomas Sadoski (“John Wick”, “The Newsroom (TV)”)
It is worth noting that Annika Marks not only stars, but also wrote Killing Eleanor. In a similar independent film fashion, Rich Newey is the director and editor. They both served as producers of the movie. The directing, cinematography and score all support the story to great effect. Annika Marks and Rich Newey are a filmmaking duo to look out for.
Movies that tell unconventional, engaging stories is what indie film is all about. Killing Eleanor fits that field nicely. If you are a fan of unique Dramas, this movie is for you. Currently, Killing Eleanor is making the festival rounds and won Best Narrative Feature at The Savannah Film Festival. Who knows what life this well crafted movie will have, its release has just begun.