THE MATTACHINE FAMILY is one of the great debuts I’ve seen in a very long time. Director Andy Vallentine and his husband, writer Danny Vallentine have crafted a film that for large chunks of it is one of the truly great explorations of family I’ve seen in a long time.
The film is the story of two guys who struggle to figure out what they want to do after the foster child they were caring for goes back to his mother. Fumbling to find a family they have to look and see what they really want.
While the film is good from start to finish, large sections of this film is just absolutely lights out magic. There is a warmth and wisdom in this film that had me tearing up at the end of the film. I love how the narration drives the film. Normally the voice over sections result in a feeling of wanting see instead of being told, however the words married to the images create such a wonderful sense of humanity that you never want them to end. In a weird way I wanted the whole film to be just scenes of life with the narration because it’s just so absolutely perfect.
This isn’t to suggest there is anything wrong with the dialog scenes, rather it’s more that the narration scores in that it has a reflection we don’t see immediately as the scenes play out.
The other thing that his film does is create glorious characters. I loved the sense of love and attachment between all the characters. You know why Nico Tortorella and Juan Pablo Di Pace are in love and you understand why everyone is friends with everyone else. I’m curious if the cast hung out before the cameras rolled since the interactions on screen seem to indicate a genuine friendship.
What an absolute delight.
This film is a real joy and it’s highly recommended.
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