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.

One thought on “Landline dir. Gillian Robespierre

  1. I really do agree. I would add that, as someone with no biological sisters, for me, one of the strengths of the film was to watch the well developed relationship between the film’s two sisters. It struck (naive me) as naturalistic, and I found it fascinating. I feel like I have rarely seen such a nuanced portrayal of that relationship, come to think of it. I really admire the director’s restraint. For all of the themes explored in this film, it was definitely not shmaltzy.

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