Year by the Sea

YEAR BY THE SEA, drama, not rated, The Screen, 3 chiles

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO - — Jon Bow­man

Women com­prise the ma­jor­ity of film­go­ers in the U.S., but that hasn’t kept Hol­ly­wood from en­forc­ing what amounts to manda­tory retirement for most vet­eran ac­tresses. Roles sim­ply dis­ap­pear for women in their six­ties and beyond, with a few no­table ex­cep­tions, in­clud­ing long­time New Mex­ico res­i­dents Jane Fonda and Shirley MacLaine.

Now you can add Karen Allen to the slen­der list of sur­vivors, and she de­liv­ers what might be the finest per­for­mance of her ca­reer in Year by the

Sea. Or, at least, it’s her most mem­o­rable per­for­mance out­side her sig­na­ture turns as the feisty Marion Raven­wood in the In­di­ana Jones adventures. Here, Allen as Joan is again ir­re­press­ible and spir­ited, but in­volved in an al­to­gether dif­fer­ent kind of a quest. When her older son mar­ries and her younger son leaves for col­lege, she de­cides against lead­ing a quiet life as an empty nester, es­pe­cially af­ter her hus­band (Michael Christofer) an­nounces he’s tak­ing a new job that will mean leav­ing their home in up­state New York and head­ing to Wi­chita.

Joan sends him off to Kansas alone, while she em­barks on what will be­come a year of self-dis­cov­ery and per­sonal growth, liv­ing by her­self in a fish­ing vil­lage along the coast­line in Cape Cod. Adapted from a best­selling mem­oir by Joan An­der­son, Year by the Sea was writ­ten and di­rected by Alexan­der Janko, who’s new to both jobs. He’s still got a few tricks to learn, but he shows some true flashes of tal­ent as well as sen­si­tiv­ity. That’s not sur­pris­ing, con­sid­er­ing Janko has worked in the film busi­ness for nearly 30 years, pri­mar­ily as a com­poser, writ­ing the score for the wildly suc­cess­ful My Big Fat Greek Wed­ding.

The mu­sic is ex­cep­tional, but Janko’s wis­est choices in­volve giv­ing Allen plenty of breath­ing room and not ham­string­ing her as an ac­tress. Like­wise, he treats the sup­port­ing play­ers with a good mea­sure of re­spect, and they gel as a solid, lively crew, even those in some­what type­cast roles. Celia Imre seem­ingly chan­nels Ruth Gor­don as the free-spir­ited beach­comber who teaches Joan to ex­plore her pas­sions. Yan­nick Bis­son is quite charm­ing as a young fish­er­man who puts Joan’s mar­riage vows to the test.

Sweet mon­tages not only cap­ture the homey rhythms of vil­lage life, but also the ad­join­ing world of na­ture, in­clud­ing a re­mote is­land pop­u­lated by seals just beyond Joan’s creaky ren­tal cot­tage. It’s not all a bowl of cher­ries. Be­sides the po­ten­tial breakup of Joan’s mar­riage, we’re in­tro­duced to a lo­cal wait­ress (Monique Gabriela Cur­nen) who is strug­gling to con­trol her abu­sive boyfriend. So, there are stormy seas, as well as res­o­nant river bends chock-full of cran­ber­ries, in a quiet, philo­soph­i­cal film that cel­e­brates the power of friend­ships and the yearn­ing for re­demp­tion and ful­fill­ment in life.

Clear­ing her head: Karen Allen

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.