DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

CLAIRE IN MOTION (directors/writers: Annie J. Howell, Lisa Robinson; cinematographer: Andreas Burgess; editor: Jim Isler; music: Xander Duell; cast:  Chris Beteem (Paul), Sakrina Jaffrey (Maya), Betsy Brandt (Claire), Zev Haworth (Connor), Ken Strunk (Chief Doyle), Anna Margaret Hollyman (Allison); Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Annie J. Howell, Lisa Robinson; Breaking Glass Pictures; 2016)

"Things are kept real, but that's not necessarily a virtue."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Annie J. Howell and Lisa Robinson ("Small, Beautifully Moving Parts") are co-directors and co-writers of this dull, somber and slow motion missing person story about grief and uncertainty for a married woman.

In Athens, Ohio, Claire (Betsy
Brandt) is a math professor at the university, while her husband Paul (Chris Beteem) is an ornithologist. The seemingly happy couple have an adolescent son Connor (Zev Haworth). Paul belongs to a survivalist group and goes on frequent hikes alone in the nearby forest for a few days. This time he doesn't return. The police chief (Ken Strunk) calls off the search after a few weeks because the wet conditions make it too dangerous to continue, and it's not a homicide case. Claire then searches alone for a month with Connor, but stops her search when Connor bales on her.

When the art grad student Allison (
Anna Margaret Hollyman) comes forward to tell Claire that Paul collaborated with her on some hobby art projects, Claire is miffed because Paul never told her. She takes an immediate dislike to the flaky young beauty, even when told they weren't lovers. Allison's attempts to bond with Claire go nowhere. What happens is that each woman misses Paul in their own way, as Claire tries to re-evaluate her marriage and move on as a survivor.

The plot stalls when nothing new happens about the missing Paul. Instead the quiet mood piece offers a look at how marriage is such a fragile relationship that one might never fully see it fully. This should give thinkers plenty to think about.

Things are kept real, but that's not necessarily a virtue.

REVIEWED ON 1/6/2017       GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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