Landline dir. Gillian Robespierre

A well-crafted, perfectly-cast, subtle, and engaging portrait of a New York family going through some growing pains, Landline was a delight to watch. Robespierre and her team get the pertinent details of mid-nineties New York just right, but not to the point where the details of the place overtake the details of the plot: the Lower East Side/downtown, which was then considered one of the seediest parts of the city, where I was forbidden to go as a teenager. $.25 pay phone calls in gritty booths. The Halloween parade, which, if memory serves me right, was a mix of gay pride, Halloween, Mardi Gras, and Puerto Rican pride. A pre-9/11 New York, where safety concerns were generally limited to typically urban ones (drugs, the subway). The casting of the “Italian-Jewish” Jacobs family – John Turturro, Edie Falco, Jenny Slate, and the hilarious Abby Quinn –  is particularly notable, a seamless ensemble of actors who made a believably loving and slightly dysfunctional family. While Landline is not particularly inventive or groundbreaking, it is a fresh and welcome addition to the film canon of American families.

Landline, dir. Gillian Robespierre, 97 mins. OddLot Entertainment, et al., 2017. Now playing in select U.S. theatres.