SXSW FILM 2014
By Linc Leifeste | March 21, 2014
Director: Bryan Reisberg
Writer: Bryan Reisberg
Starring: Harry Lloyd, Krista Kosonen, Sylvia Grace Crim
Craig Harrison (Harry Lloyd) is a young man with everything seemingly going his way. He’s got a good job, he’s got a long-term girlfriend and the two of them are on the verge of moving to San Fransisco together. So why has he lied to his girlfriend, pretending to be on a work trip while actually taking his first-ever road trip down south by himself, leaving her to house hunt in San Fransisco without him?
The film opens with him bemusedly stopping at a roadside attraction, where he asks a local kid to take a picture of him in front of the World’s Biggest Cedar Bucket. Afterwards, he begins to question the kid about the bucket and it quickly becomes apparent that not everyone shares his enthusiasm for roadside kitsch. But still Craig lingers, awkwardly asking more questions.
There are other such stops and encounters. At the World’s Biggest Rocking Chair, at hotels, cafés, and bars. And along the way, there are regular phone calls with his girlfriend during which he carries on the facade of carrying on business. There are hints of why he might be doing what he does, a controlling girlfriend with a domineering father leading to apprehension about the too quickly approaching next chapter of his life.
But there is more to Craig’s behavior than his getting cold feet about the move to San Fransisco. The film does a great job of slowly revealing a young man who is not yet fully formed, alternately confident then socially inept, charming then offputting, full of hopeful curiosity then deep in despair. Lloyd is spot-on as a young man who is sheepishly charming enough to draw you in but whose slightly off-kilter moments are delivered with just the right amount of creepiness to keep you wondering just what might be coming next. Craig’s an all too common modern tragedy, a young man who has managed to live up to society’s expectations without living up to his own, maybe without ever even determining his own.
Ultimately, the film is more adept at capturing a feeling than telling a story, conveying the disillusionment that often comes along with the move from youthful dreams to adult realities, the dreaded sense of awkwardness that accompanies navigating alone through others’ social circles, the feeling of social isolation felt by many in this modern life, even by those who are seemingly navigating successfully through life’s streams.