EXEC PROD Anna Gerb
PRODS Joshua Blum, Katie Stern
SCR Brian M. Cassidy, Melanie Shatzky
CAM Brian M. Cassidy
EDS Brian M. Cassidy, Benjamin Gray, Melanie Shatzky
PROD CO Washington Square Films / Pigeon Projects
"Smile if you want," someone advises Francine (Melissa Leo) as her photo is being snapped. Sadly, smiles don’t come naturally to the newly paroled ex-con. Nor does she seem at ease with her freedom. Still a prisoner of her insecurity and introversion, she moves from job to job. And while she casually sleeps with a female acquaintance, she draws far more pleasure from having her menagerie of pets crawl all over her. At an outdoor thrash-metal concert, she blissfully communes with the amplified aggression for a few fleeting seconds. But then the moment passes and she’s once again adrift, seeking her place in the alienating outside world.
Earning deserved comparisons to the neo-realist work of Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy, VIFF 08), Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky’s first narrative feature sees them bringing to bear all of the skills they honed as documentarians. Foremost amongst these attributes is a willingness to simply observe and allow the heartrending drama to reveal itself on its own terms and unfold of its own accord. "A minimalist, image-based character study that is almost impossibly fragile and yet emotionally robust… a legitimate discovery. It’s propelled by Melissa Leo’s remarkable title-role performance, rigorous in its honesty and unimpeded by even a scrap of vanity… Raw, intimate and observed with penetrating acuity."—David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter