A slice of life

This rather pleasant independent film by Lawrence Blume held no real surprises for the viewer, but rather, allowed us to watch at an unrushed pace as the tale unfolds. It’s based on the novel of the same name by Judy Blume, mother of the aforementioned director. Having never read the novel, I’m in no position to judge how closely it compares although, now that I have seen the movie, I’m more inclined to do so now. The subject of loss has been covered in so many movies that expectations have been raised in what we find acceptable, by way of the telling of the story and its content, but this had the very interesting Los Alamos and the atomic bombs as a backdrop.

Davey Wexler (Willa Holland) has just lost her father to a hold-up gone bad, and now must live with her grieving mother (Amy Jo Johnson) and kid brother at her aunts house. Her aunt Bitsy (Cynthia Stevenson) and uncle Walter (Forrest Fyre) work locally and try to get the grieving family involved in their lives, but they are still in denial and coping as best they can. Davey’s mother Gwen is on medication to help her deal with her emotions, and is now unable to help Davey talk through her feelings. Davey starts school and becomes friends with Jane (Elise Eberle), but Jane has herself a drinking problem thanks to pressure from home. Davey also meets a local guy, who is a few years older than she, whilst investigating the local desert features and they become quite close. The age difference may have been to show that Davey was seeking a father figure and Wolf happened by.
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I remember when Wolf (Tatanka Means) and Tiger (his name for Davey) meet I was so sure I had it all figured out, but there was never any mention of his being a Native American by her aunt, and so spoiled my racism theory! As previously mentioned, originality was never this films goal, rather it was an examination of Davey’s grief and acceptance of fate, but that is of course an oversimplification, because the movie touched on several worthy topics but none of them earth shattering. Even so, it was nice look at life through the eyes of a nineteen year old, who feels abandoned but finally gains clarity thanks to her recent life experience in Los Alamos and of course, with J Robert Oppenheimer’s bombs.

Ed’s Grade: B

Review by Ed Blackadder