“Boundaries” Shines with stars Vera Farmiga and Christopher Plummer
By Liz Lopez
Writer-director Shana Feste (“Country Strong,” “Endless Love”) has created a father-daughter road movie that has both the drama and comedy that is found in most families, but with the characters in this family, what may be a pretty standard story is made very engaging by the actor’s performances as to how they handle the past and the present day challenges. Laura (Vera Farmiga) is a single mother of a shy teenage son, Henry (Lewis McDougall), who is having a hard time navigating his life at school as well as home with his Mom in therapy. As if they did not already have enough everyday problems they are dealing with, Laura’s father, Jack Jaconi (Christopher Plummer) is repeatedly calling her to tell her he is in need of a home, but not readily “fessing up” that he was booted from the senior-citizen apartment he had. Without spelling out the full story here, there is no lack of dysfunction among them, and yet, their trip from Portland to Los Angeles to visit Laura’s sister, JoJo (Kriste Schaal), is quite engaging. Maybe not everyone will identify with each of the characters, but it is always great to see how someone else may handle (or avoid) issues among the multi- generation family members.
All three of the lead/primary cast members are perfectly cast for their roles. Farmiga is the right actress as she portrays an angry woman in victim mode because of her father’s bad parenting and her unhappy marriage to Leonard (Bobby Cannavale) who turns out to be a similar scoundrel as her Dad. She remains very vulnerable to both of their personalities and charms, thus having a difficult time protecting herself. Plummer’s Jaconi is very charming, yet selfish and vocal as he’s continuing his life as a drug dealer ready to sell a humongous amount of marijuana during the family trip. He does not inform Laura, but teaches the teenager skills he does not need to know at this age. Henry is in fact a young artist who draws people, but imagines them nude, to reflect what their personality really reflects. McDougall, a teen Scottish actor known for his role in “A Monster Calls” and “Pan,” is definitely making a mark in his career and someone to watch in future roles.
Two other key cast members in the film take the role as Jack’s buddies, played by Christopher Lloyd and Peter Fonda. Among other cast members are Dolly Wells and Yahya Abdul-Mateen.
“Boundaries” has its share of predictability of the “road trip” genre, but is smart and worth the watch for the great performances. The film screened at the SXSW Film Festival (World Premiere) and it now opens in Austin at the Regal Arbor Theater on July 13, 2018.
Running time: 104 minutes and is rated R.
Source: Sony Pictures Classics