By Don Simpson | March 9, 2016
Director: Justin Lerner
Writers: Justin Lerner, Katharine O’Brien
Starring: Joseph Cross, Adelaide Clemens, Deborah Ann Woll, Richard Schiff, Ricky Jay, Yvonne Zima, Vanessa Zima, Catherine Carlen, Caitlin O’Connell
When Alexis (Adelaide Clemens) suddenly drops in on Davis’ (Joseph Cross) life, he has absolutely no idea who she is. Alexis claims to be Davis’ cousin, but as far as Davis knows, his father (Richard Schiff) never had any siblings.
As it turns out, Davis’ father has not seen or communicated with his brother (Ricky Jay) in decades. As far as Davis’ father is concerned, his brother no longer exists, and that feeling is echoed by Alexis’ father. So, Alexis and Davis decide to do some sleuthing to get to the root of their fathers’ mutual disgust. In doing so, they unearth some information that comments on their own budding relationship as newly discovered cousins.
Hopefully that brief synopsis does not give away too much of Justin Lerner’s The Automatic Hate, because the film revels in the shocking truths that are eventually uncovered. By working its way backwards from the brothers’ longterm estrangement, The Automatic Hate keeps us guessing about what might have transpired many years ago. Did one brother steal the other’s girlfriend? Did one of the brothers commit murder? By the time the secret is revealed, most of the audience will be comparing its severity with the other possibilities. Lerner casts absolutely no judgment, but the audience is positioned to question just how horrible the secret is and contemplate whether or not they would write their own sibling out of their life as a result? Most importantly, which brother is more in the wrong — or are they equally at fault? Additionally, how do your opinions of their fathers alter your impressions of Alexis and Davis?