For Reel

James White (2015)
October 24, 2015, 4:46 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Josh Mond
3.5 Stars
James WhiteAt the beginning of James White, the eponymous character (Christopher Abbott) is reeling from the death of the father he never knew and his mother’s (Cynthia Nixon) ongoing battle with cancer. While James lives a hedonistic lifestyle–he is an unemployed twentysomething barely getting by in a drunken haze in New York–he also takes seriously his role as caretaker to his ailing mother, even if he dependably fails to live up to that task. Not to be mistaken as a dime-a-dozen white collar indie, James White is the latest production from Borderline Films, who have been in the business of making especially dark, provocative dramas like Martha Marcy May Marlene and Afterschool. This latest effort is their most touching–the last half hour plays with an uncommon tenderness, shot with a well-calibrated balance of claustrophobic close-ups and highly disciplined long takes. If there are shortcomings in the early-goings, this late stretch shows Abbott and Nixon having an uncommon comfort with each other on screen, creating a knockout mother/son relationship.

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