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Bluebird starring John Slattery & Amy Morton

Review: Bluebird shows First Time Director’s Jim Jarmusch Influence


After finishing her daily route, school bus driver Lesley begins the routine inspection of the bus, collecting lost hats and picking up trash on a cold January day. When she is distracted by a bluebird flitting around the bus, she fails to finish her regular duties. At the same time, self-centered waitress Marla decides to forget about her worries for a few hours by kicking back at the bar. In the morning it becomes painfully clear that small oversights can have horrific consequences. While the two women struggle to cope in the aftermath, their families and friendships suffer along with them.

Bluebird is bleak, in style as well as substance. Shot in the wooded hills of Maine in the dead of winter, there are plenty of shots of raw, windburned locals and snowcovered trees. First time director Lance Edmands sets a pace reminiscent of trudging through thigh-high snow, leaving little doubt that his early experience working on Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Flowers was a formative one. The intertwining lives narrative is far too casual, as the relation between the two characters is obvious within the film’s first twenty minutes. Lacking the intrigue of other pictures that have brought seemingly separate lives together, Bluebird simply has Lesley knock on Marla’s door for a tearful apology. But for a few brief moments of joy involving Lesley’s teenage daughter, life in this small Maine town seems dismal even before the incident. This is a story that centers on the fallout from the actions of two women who appear to be doing nothing wrong; and while you certainly feel for Lesley, empathy is not enough. The story this film tells, while harsh and painful, is awfully bland.

The performances made Bluebird worth watching. Amy Morton is fantastic as the haggard, guilt-ridden Lesley, and Louisa Krause captures Marla’s small-town girl who never made it to the big city perfectly. John Slattery ably plays Lesley’s husband as he nears the breaking point, struggling to keep himself and his family from ruin, while Emily Meade excels as their lovesick teenage daughter. The always charming Margo Martindale does well as Marla’s hardened but loving mother, Crystal.

While the dreary depiction of one awful incident in small town America is not a particularly enjoyable or thought-provoking film, Bluebird will have its fans. The idea that even the smallest act (or lack thereof) can have serious repercussions is interesting, and certainly negligence causes problems. But the dreary pace and lack of uncertainty in the story make Bluebird something best suited for the arthouse.



Bluebird

DIRECTOR Lance EDMANDS
COUNTRY United States/Sweden
Date of Production 2013
Running Time 91min

CODE THEATER TIME INFORMATION
064 Lotte Cinema Centum City 5 10-04 14:00
333 Megabox Haeundae 6 10-06 16:00
795 Lotte Cinema Centum City 4 10-11 10:00

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