A Korean-born man finds himself stuck in Columbus, Indiana, where his architect father is in a coma. The man meets a young woman who wants to stay in Columbus with her mother, a recovering addict, instead of pursuing her own dreams.
Haley Lu Richardson,
Set in Manhattan in 1995, LANDLINE follows three women in one family having lots of sex, drugs, and Japanese food. Navigating monogamy, honesty, and a long-lost New York, the Jacobs family lives in the last days when people still didn't have cell phones and still did smoke inside. Teenage Ali discovers her dad's affair, her older sister Dana uncovers her own wild side, and their mother Pat grapples with the truth that she can't have it all, but her family still has each other. For a generation raised on divorce and wall-to-wall carpeting, LANDLINE is an honest comedy about what happens when sisters become friends and parents become humans.
Heartfelt and humorous - and a great step forward for Jenny Slate
"Whatever happened do Jenny Slate?" (It would be understandable to ask that question – before 2016-2017.) "Isn't she the girl who accidentally dropped the f-bomb in her first appearance on Saturday Night Live and then got fired at the end of the season?" (Yes and yes.) "Has she even done anything since?" (Yes!) Slate was a stand-up comedian when she started appearing on TV shows in 2005. After her productive but ill-fated season on SNL (2009-2010), she really came out of her shell. Slate and film director and editor Dean Fleischer- Camp (to whom she was married from 2012 to 2016) created the "Marcel the Shell with Shoes On" books and short films, with Slate voicing the title character. She then appeared in several TV shows (some at the same time), including "House of Lies", "Parks and Recreation", "Kroll Show" and "Married". She then voiced more animated characters in "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked" (2011) and "The Lorax" (2012). Slate started really showing her talent as a feature film actress in 2014's "Obvious Child" and then 2016-2017 happened. In 2016-17, she voiced major characters in the high-profile animated features "Zootopia", "The Secret Life of Pets" and "The LEGO Batman Movie". Later in 2017, she continued staking her claim to a prestigious film career in movies like "Gifted" and, the subject of this review, the comedy-drama "Landline" (R, 1:37).
Slate plays Dana Jacobs, a young NYC woman who finds herself at a crossroads. She's newly engaged to a kind, but milquetoast guy named Ben (Jay Duplass), but she reconnects with Nate (Finn Wittrock), an old flame from college, and she feels like she needs some time to figure out what she really wants. She leaves the apartment that she shares with Ben and moves back home, using the excuse that her younger sister, Ali (Abby Quinn), needs her. Ali is trying hard to be a hip chick and deciding where she's going to go to college, but what concerns her the most at the moment is her parents. She has come across some indication that her playwright father (John Turturro) is cheating on her mother (Edie Falco). As the two sisters try to get to the bottom of what their father is up to, they begin bonding as never before and Ali is able to help her older sister decide how to move forward in her life. Since this story takes place in 1995, a lot of the conversations take place over telephones mounted on walls, hence the film's title.
"Landline" is a heartfelt and humorous examination of life choices within the context of one family. (It is, however not to be confused with another 2017 movie with the same title and starring Matthew Aaron, Khalid Abour and Tom Arnold.) The later (and more widely distributed) "Landline" is well-written by Elizabeth Holm and well- directed by Gillian Robespierre (both of whom also did the same jobs and collaborated with Slate on "Obvious Child"). They give us a story that is well-paced, relatable, engaging and funny at just the right moments. The acting is excellent, especially by Slate who has maintained her excellent comic timing while emerging as a fine actress. Although the plot seems slight at times, it's strong on insight into issues of romance and family relations and makes for quality entertainment. "B+"
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