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The Reception (Unrated)

Release Date: July 15th, 2005 (NYC-Quad Cinema) by Strand Releasing.
The Cast: Pamela Stewart,Margaret Burkwith,Darien Sills-Evans,Chris Burmeister.
Directed by John G. Young.

BASIC PREMISE: Sierra (Burkwith) and her new husband Andrew (Sills-Evans) visit her mother Jeanette (Stewart) who shares a home with a gay painter Chuck (Burmeister).

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: This is a very character-driven drama that ends up becoming very suspenseful thanks to a well-written script that has a lot of conflict and even suspense. Andrew has a big secret that his wife knows about, but his mother-in-law does not nor does Chuck. Eventually, Chuck finds out about it, which escalates the tension and ends up in a love-triangle. The real problem throughout the rest of the film is that Jeanette would flip out if she would ever find out about this secret. The plot structure is very effective, especially the opening shots that introduce each of the four characters individually as they go about their daily--or morning--activities. Most of film is shot inside Jeanette's house, yet so much happens within it. Each character is fully drawn out and complex, especially Jeanette who has a very shady past and can't hold her liquor. She is played by Pamela Stewart, who gives a very strong performance with just the right balance of toughness and fragility. The other actors are quite good as well. The cinematography is also very good, especially during the few scenes in the snowy fields around the house. By the end of Sierra and her husband's visit, there are a lot of surprising changes and realizations as each character's secrets are finally revealed.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: There is something very comforting about sharing one's secrets with a loved one or a friend, no matter how dark it is. Also, it is very inspiring that Andrew learns to follow his heart and is not afraid to express his feelings. All it takes is a small event to change your life forever in a way that you would never even imagine. The truth is what sets one free and it certainly does that to the characters in this film. The ending is very moving and satisfying because each character has learned something new about themselves and as well as others. Facing reality can be tough and heartbreaking, but is it very liberating and an essential part of growing up no matter how old you are.



THE BOTTOM LINE: A well-written film with a simple plot that has a lot of dramatic tension, heartbreaking moments, strong character development and very good acting.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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