Director: Liza Johnson
Writer(s): Mark Poirier (Smart People, Goats)
Producer(s): Robert Ogden Barnum, Michael Benaroya, Cassian Elwes, Jamin O’Brien, Dylan Sellers
U.S. Distributor: Rights Available
Cast: Guy Pearce, Kristen Wiig, Hailee Steinfeld, Nick Nolte
I might not have connected with Liza Johnson’s Cannes-selected Return (Linda Cardellini is nominated for an Indie Spirit Best Actress award) but I’m looking at her sophomore film as what we have come to expect from an Alexandre Payne-ish type film: placing an atypical cast of flawed characters in an extreme situation. If the foursome of Guy Pearce, Kristen Wiig, Hailee Steinfeld and Nick Nolte offer some emotional bravura, then Johnson might be the second to successfully adapt an Alice Munro story for the big screen following Sarah Polley before her with Away From Her. Worth noting: Beginners‘ Cinematographer Kasper Tuxen lenses.
Gist: Based on Alice Munro’s Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, Johanna Parry (Kristen Wiig), a quiet caregiver, starts a new job working for an elderly Mr. McCauley (Nick Nolte) and his teenage granddaughter Sabitha (Hailee Steinfeld). A cruel trick by Sabitha lands Johanna in an awkward one-way relationship with Ken (Guy Pearce), Sabitha’s estranged father but her newfound ambition and desire gives her courage to transform her awkward doom into real contentment.
Release Date: With no distribution deal in place, I imagine this will hit a festival such as TIFF for a big premiere.