Saturday, June 9, 2018

Reach (2018) Dances with Films 2018

If REACH could have intentionally picked a worse time to World Premiere at Dances With Films it couldn't have done much worse than the week that two well loved celebrities committed suicide. Seeing the film only hours after Anthony Bourdain's passing absolutely colored how I saw the film. I say this up front because the choice I had was to deal with the elephant in the room or to simply not review the film.

High schooler Steven Turano has been miserable since his mother died. Struggling to get through life he has to deal with his seemingly uncaring father, school bullies and life that is isn't what he thinks it should be. He decides to end his life. Then he meets the grandson of a neighbor who has transferred into his school ho helps him change the way he connects to the world.

Allowing for real world events to have colored my opinion of REACH, I find that this is a film that I admire for what it's trying to do doing more than for what it actually does. This is a film that makes getting out of depression as easy as finding a couple of good friends and going outside of the comfort zone. While the film doesn't make it quite as easy as I've made it sound, it does come off as being a tad too pat.  Having friends and going outside of the comfort zone isn't always enough.

If we step outside of the themes of depression and suicide so we aren't being colored by the taint of recent world events, REACH is still just an okay film. Stripped of the overt depression plot points the film isn't bad but it isn't anything special. The film is essentially the typical "odd duck who makes peace with the world" story. We've been here before any number of times. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with reusing the plot, it really doesn't do a great deal new with it. We can guess where and how it is going to go, which would be fine except the film is trying to be more than average and have a message.

Complaints aside the cast is first rate. And for all my disappointment at the plotting I am in love with the actors, who rise above their material to actually make this a film worth trying.

In the end this is an OK film that World premiered last night at Dances With Films

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