Friday, September 9, 2016

levelFilm Film Review - Moments of Clarity

Claire (Kristen Wallace) can normally be found in one of two places. At home with her agoraphobic obsessive-compulsive mother Henrietta (Saxon Trainor), or in church. She ventures outside on a rare occasion to give out muffins to the neighbourhood where a mishap lands her in Danielle's (Lyndsy Fonseca) house with a nose bleed.  At their next encounter Clair's actions lead to the destruction of Danielle's prized Super 8 camera which is the first step in a series that gets the girls off on a journey along Route 43 in Illinois.

Fear, Isolation, Home Schooling, Overbearing Parents , Adventure and Trust are the main elements of Stev Elam's first feature. Claire and Danielle head further out on the road after Claire leans from her grandparents how her mother's mental issues have effected her life as she is a 24 year old home schooled girl with the social skills of an 11 year old.  Along the road they encounter an ever increasingly odd set of clerks from the camera store, to the nursing home to a bar where the duo consider entering a Karaoke contest.

Elam shooting style features many long shots with the camera stationary. He also employees several dream sequences normally illustrating Claire naive concept of sexual encounters many of which  feature Danielle's dad Paster Paul (Mackenzie Astin). The other recurring plot device is the ever increasingly disturbing stories on the radio.  They start with a report of a local peeping Tom and peak with a piece on an Association of Men with Women's names.

Henrietta and Paul eventually head out to find their daughters. The girls only get into a mild bit of trouble ending up at a full Moon festival on their way to the Pump up the Jam Christian Youth Jamboree. Along the way Claire gets to experience the world outside of her front yard meeting people with differing backgrounds, interests and agenda's for the first time.

Kristen Wallace also takes a writing credit for the production along with playing the central character Claire. Wallace is at her best when she is open, accepting and genuinely expecting the best from people at each new encounter. However the repeated use of childlike or long dead phrases does get taxing as the action progresses. Lyndsy Fornseca has the best material to work with as Danielle. She is the Pastor's daughter that lost her mother at age that spends her days watching old family films when she is not acting out trying to appear tough and smart. Eric Roberts and Xander Berkeley inject some needed enthusiasm into the proceedings as partners and authors of the Full Moon Festival while being champions and friends to travelers.

Moments of Clarity is study in helicopter parenting to the extreme. The narrative raises in a lighthearted way the real consequences of the actions of parents who think that they are protecting their child from the harsh outside world but in fact the harder they squeeze the more likely their child will slip through their fingers and turn resentful. The film has many enjoyable sequence with the running gags of desk clerks and kooky radio stories being the most noteworthy. If you are in the mood for something light with a good message in a production that does not deliver it in a heavy handed then Moments of Clarity is worth a look.                

*** Out of 4.

Moments of Clarity | Stev Elam | Canada /USA | 2015 | 97 Minutes.

Tags: Home Schooling, Super 8 Camera, Full Moon Festival, Route 43, Classic Porn, Jamboree.

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