I WAS SHOCKED WHEN I WAS told their daughter was going to join us for our lunch date. Normally, I would not be bothered by this type of news; but this was only our 3rddate. I barely knew them and now I was being introduced to their daughter? It seemed weird to me and I was feeling uncomfortable about it. I chose to keep an open mind and try to “go with the flow” as they say. Maybe they felt they were a bad judge of character and wanted their daughter there to see if there were any red flags associated with me, I wondered. After only having two dates, I thought they were nice; but I hadn’t really formed a firm opinion about them. It was a bit ironic because I took the fact, they were so quick to introduce me to their daughter, as a red flag. We had agreed to meet at a Chinese restaurant after I was told their daughter was a vegetarian. When I arrived at the chosen time, they were already there and seated at a table. The daughter looked like she was in high school which for some reason made me a little more nervous. Once the introductions were done and I was seated, the daughter was quick with the questions for me. I felt like I was on an interview. By the time our meal was over, I felt this was our last date; with the line of questions and her dominating the conversations, I knew this was not a good match. FROM MY DATING EXPERIENCES, I HAVE met a variety of my dates’ family members, but most of them were not introduced to me until after we had been dating for a few months. Mothers and grandmothers were especially fond of me for the most part. Luckily, I only had a couple of experiences which involved going to see their family members out of state. In those cases, I would only agree to the visit if we could stay in a hotel. I did not want to get into the position of not only meeting the relatives for the first time but having them put me up for the night. It was important to me to have a place where we could have downtime and relax without having to be on our best behavior or worse, they reverting to being a child in the presence of their parents, in their childhood home. That is why I still cannot understand why the main character agreed to see the parents in this dramatic thriller. BARELY KNOWING HER BOYFRIEND, A YOUNG woman, played by Jessie Buckley (Wild Rose, Judy), agrees to travel with him to visit his parents who live on a remote farm out in the country. Her only requirement was to make sure she got back home in time before she had to get to work. With Jesse Piemons (Judas and the Black Messiah, The Irishman) as Jake, Toni Collette (Hereditary, Knives Out) as Mother, David Thewlis (Harry Potter franchise, Wonder Woman) as Father and Guy Boyd (Body Double, Foxcatcher) as the janitor; this film festival winning movie’s saving grace was the cast. I thought the acting was terrific and that is despite the engorged script. For me, the first part of the film was boring what with all the talking between the two main characters. The story did not pick up for me until the parents’ scenes began. Now I will say I thought the build up of tension in the script was good; however, it dissipated at times when I was sitting and trying to figure out what was going on in the story. Maybe the book this picture is based on is better; but you might want to reconsider spending time with this family.
There are times where it is easier to connect with a stranger than a person you know. I witness this multiple times as an instructor or when I am out of synch with my daily routine. Ah yes the daily routine; you know, where we get set into a pattern and begin repeating it every day. If there was a contest I absolutely would be a finalist since I find comfort and calmness in keeping a routine. When I am out of my daily rituals, like on vacation, I become more available to strike up a conversation with strangers. Taking it a step further I find it easy to have a conversation with a blind date. Recently I was out with a friend and we were talking about dating. They have a 2 date limit; in other words, if they do not feel something after 2 dates they end it. They said the hardest part of the process was being honest and telling the person they are not interested. I absolutely agree because though it is hard, I feel it is harder not to say anything and leave a person in limbo hoping things just drift apart. What I find even worse is when a person stops communicating, ignoring your texts and phone calls. I wonder if the ease in talking or not talking to a stranger is because a person can be whoever they want to be, since there is no history between them. Maybe they relish the opportunity to reinvent themselves and in turn become more open or available for new experiences. This Oscar nominated, animated movie showed more feelings than many humans I have met. AUTHOR Michael Stone, voiced by David Thewlis (The Theory of Everything, Seven Years in Tibet), was traveling out of state to be the guest speaker at a convention. His life was about to change thanks to convention attendee Lisa Hesselman, voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight, Road to Perdition). This film festival winner brilliantly used stop motion animation that brought the puppets alive. With a script that was part comedy, part drama; I became fascinated with the story, losing sense that these puppets were not real people. It was a surreal experience for me. There were several astute observations about the human condition throughout the script thanks to co-writer and co-director Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation). It did take time for me to actually get into the story; I found the beginning of the movie slow. By the way this is absolutely not a film for young people since the puppets get into adult situations. Overall I was most impressed with the technical aspects of this picture; it must have taken an incredibly long time to get the puppets to move in such a seamless way. From the script there certainly was enough situations that would lend themselves to topics of conversation afterwards. I would have liked to have heard what other people were saying about the movie, but I was on my schedule and had to leave the theater.
3 1/4 stars