Toni Collette plays Ellie, a music critic who’s assigned to track down her musician ex-boyfriend. He disappeared over a decade ago, just as his career was taking off, and hasn’t been heard of since. She’s clearly still nursing old wounds: she’s a mess, personally and professionally. She has one-night-stands instead of relationships. But now suddenly she has to go ripping off band-aids with the help of an old flame and total creepster (Thomas Haden Church). Church is a cringe-inducing rich prick who’s decided to take up documentary film-making. Collette is an imposter with a veneer so thin even a complete stranger calls her on it between bites of wedding cake.
This movie is what would happen if last year’s mournful, Oscar-nominated Inside Llewyn Davis and Oscar-winning treasure Searching for Sugar Man got together and had a mediocre baby. Well, maybe mediocre’s a bit harsh. I love me some Toni Collette and she does a bang-up job turning this somewhat predictable coming-of-age-l into a relevant, layered coming-of-middle-age tale. Church allows her to bounce off his deadpan delivery, although she often seems reduced to grimacing when the script fails her.
The movie is purposefully slow. We really get a sense of Ellie’s stagnation as she is given a goal and then proceeds to ignore it for huge chunks of the movie. Instead of road-tripping out to find the ex-boyfriend, we explore relationships and maybe do a little growing up. All in all, this is a nice little indie flick that didn’t do much in theatres but will have a nice second life on Netflix. This baby doesn’t live up to its parents’ standards but when you run out of A material, here’s a nice solid B.