Blogging from Cinequest: 3 Backyards

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.

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