The Talent Given Us

I have to admit that I found this rather unusual film tremendously difficult to watch. Directed by Andrew Wagner, it’s about a family named Wagner who drives from New York to Los Angeles in search of their son, Andrew. Andrew’s parents are dysfunctional in at least three senses of the word, and his middle-age sisters add to the horror by openly discussing their sex lives and indulging in dime-store spirituality. While all this could be funny, it’s instead sort of horrifying. Casting his real-life family in the roles of his real-life family, Wagner may have erred in that his father has a severe speech impediment which makes about 40 percent of his dialogue unintelligible. And the fighting and squealing that occurs between Mom and her grown daughters makes nails on a blackboard seem like sweet lullabies by Chopin. Further, it’s shot on digital video, which I appreciate as a low-cost format, but it always looks horrible. If you’re in the mood for something unlike any movie you’ve ever seen, this might be your ticket. But if you’re not in the mood for something resembling the most cringe-inducing home video you’ve ever seen, I’d pass.

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