| Anyone who has experienced the loss of a family member can identify with this poignant drama from writer-director Marc Meyers. Three generations of the Monopoli family come together one summer in the quaint shoreline town of Madison, Conn.
This low-budget indie is primarily told from the point of view of grandson Josh (Jack T. Carpenter from "I Love You, Beth Cooper"), who reluctantly spends the summer following his junior year of college living in his grandparents' home.
The 83-year-old family patriarch, Siv (Academy Award nominee Robert Loggia from "Jagged Edge," "Big," "Prizzi's Honor" and "Scarface"), is a World War II veteran dying of pancreatic cancer. His wife of more than six decades, Yetta (Academy Award nominee Barbara Barrie from "Breaking Away" and "Private Benjamin"), has Alzheimer's disease.
Josh's divorced mother, Anna (Tony Award winner Victoria Clark from "The Light in the Piazza"), represents the sandwich generation of baby boomers in their 50s, caring for her aging parents while also being a maternal influence to her son.
The family also includes Josh's two feuding uncles. Uncle Benny (Arye Gross from HBO's "Grey Gardens" and "Minority Report") still lives in the paternal home after working alongside Siv for many years in the family-owned shoe store. Uncle Carmine (Peter Friedman from "Law & Order" and "The Savages") is a local elected official.
The movie drives home the point expressed so eloquently by Siv that "family is the only thing in life that really matters." Some may find the viewing experience hits too close to home and will be in tears remembering similar personal incidents.
Loggia stands out, making his presence felt as the strong and proud patriarch. One of the best segments involves Loggia biking around town as a final way of saying goodbye. The ensemble cast does their part in making indelible memories from small moments.
This movie is a labor of love for Meyers, who kept a diary of his visits with his own aging grandfather. This up-and-coming filmmaker shows maturity and sensitivity dealing with an emotional and heartbreaking subject. While it is a celebration of life, the movie delves deeply into universal themes of growing up and coming to terms with the eventual passing of a loved one.
The movie's innumerable strengths include the mellow original soundtrack written and performed by Grammy and Tony Award winner Duncan Sheik ("Spring Awakening") and David Poe, the eye-appealing cinematography and the tight editing.
It is no wonder that this film was an audience favorite at several film festivals around the country, including the Kansas International Film Festival in Overland Park. Your golden opportunity to immerse yourself in this family relationship drama begins this weekend exclusively at the Glenwood Arts.
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"