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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

SIFF Sighting: FUTURE WEATHER (Drama, USA)

Like so many American kids, 13-year-old Lauduree (Perla Haney-Jardine) is basically raising herself. Her mother, Tanya (Marin Ireland), has problems with addiction and her father is gone.

Ree channels her energy into her science experiments and develops a bond with her compassionate teacher Ms. Markovi (Lili Taylor).

Life is manageable until Tanya decides to pursue her dream of becoming a celebrity makeup artist and moves to California. She does not take Lauduree with her.

Afraid her science experiments will be compromised if she is forced to move, Ree keeps her mother's departure a secret until she is caught shoplifting and her grandmother Greta (Amy Madigan) discovers the truth.

Depressed about moving in with Greta (her mom's trailer is behind in rent), she turns to science for comfort and becomes borderline paranoid about the state of the ecosystem.

Her grandmother recognizes that Ree needs professional help, but does not have the resources to make that happen. Ms. Markovi, though concerned, says she "isn't equipped to handle" Ree's issues.

What writer/director Jenny Deller so brilliantly achieves in this quiet, slice-of-life saga is the painful reality of being an unwanted child.

Sure, Ree's mother and grandmother love her, but they are not remotely able to care for her in a healthy way, and lack the intelligence to learn how.

Perla Haney-Jardine's performance is rivetingreminiscent of Jennifer Lawrence's work in WINTER'S BONE. Her ability to convey the covering-up of pain is spectacular, and should open the doors to more substantial roles in the future.

Amy Madigan and Lili Taylor also deliver flawless turns as Greta and Ms. Markovi. Both have appeared in so many other films, it's a testament to how good they are that they can disappear into these characters and make us forget their previous work.

I can't recommend this film enough.

FUTURE WEATHER will screen at the 38th Annual Seattle International Film Festival next month. For tickets, visit the SIFF website.

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