Christina Choe Andrea Riseborough, Steve Buscemi, Ann Dowd
12A There are good performances and interesting, though undeveloped, narrative ideas in this debut feature by the writer-director Christina Choe.
J Smith-Cameron and Steve Buscemi play Leo and Ellen, a careworn middle-aged couple whose infant daughter disappeared 30 years ago and has never been found. Suddenly, a thirtysomething woman, Nancy (Andrea Riseborough), makes contact. She has an eerie similarity to the police’s computer simulation of how the missing girl would look now, and she has a plausible story about how her late mother evasively told her she was adopted. Could it be that loneliness and emotional damage on both sides is drawing them together?
A few decades ago, the suspenseful ambiguities of this premise could have been teased out almost indefinitely. Nowadays, the reality of DNA identification has changed the game. And so, the police officer shows up with the genetic testing kit and tells them the results will be ready in a few days
– so this is the lifespan of whatever drama can be conjured.
Riseborough, Cameron and Buscemi are all good in their difficult roles. Other third-act twists and turns could have been explored, but perhaps Choe felt that such inventions would take her feature into Hitchcock territory and away from the more downbeat and realistic mode she started with.
An interesting and worthwhile drama nonetheless. PB