This unbearably pretentious and self-indulgent wannabe art film is constructed around three completely unconnected plot threads. In the best written and acted of the three, Edie Falco plays a woman excited about driving her new celebrity neighbor (Embeth Davidtz) to the ferry. The celebrity is having a personal crisis and deigns not to share her innermost turmoil with the new acquaintance. Because Falco’s character had fantasized about gaining a celebrity BFF, she is disappointed. Unless petty disappointment counts as a major theme, this segment is pointless.
In the second thread, Elias Koteas plays a man unhappy at home whose business trip is aborted. He wanders around waiting for the unexplained catharsis at the 87-minute mark of the movie. Koteas proves once more that he can furrow his brow and mumble at the same time.
The third thread is about a little girl who plays with her mother’s precious new bracelet and loses it. By this time, we almost expect the random appearances of a mystical unicorn, but we have to make do with a white poodle instead. Plus there’s a masturbating dog killer. In between the three plot threads, there are odd transitional shots of caterpillers and the like.
Somehow 3 Backyards won Eric Mendelsohn his second Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival. I like to think that good directors tell stories and make them compelling, so I am baffled by this “achievement”. I hated this movie – and it is still pissing me off.