I appreciate movies like Sean Mewshaw’s Tumbledown. As someone who is asked on a daily basis for movie recommendations, Tumbledown provides me with a safe, warm suggestion for easygoing audiences.
In a snow-capped small-town, life comes to a standstill for go-getter Hannah (Christine’s Rebecca Hall). Her husband Hunter – a modest musician with a cult following – is found dead, leaving Hannah to quietly grieve and learn how to fill the inescapable empty void. She’s rattled by the sudden appearance of a visiting writer (SNL alum Jason Sudeikis) who probes everyone in town for information on Hunter, including direct yet courteous phone calls to Hannah.
Hannah and the interested writer, Andrew, have frequent run-ins and disagreements (aka. Meet Cutes if you already know where this story is going). Hannah is still very protective over Hunter’s personal life, and Andrew is very persistent to voice his own theories on Hunter’s condensed folk catalogue and the artist’s shocking demise. As Andrew and Hannah spend more time with each other, they create a bond that’s much deeper than the booty calls she’s been receiving from local game hunter Curtis (Magic Mike’s Joe Manganiello), or from the know-it-all girlfriend he’s been hanging out with in New York City (Dianna Agron of GLEE fame).
Hall and Sudeikis are a good match. They can comfort each other just as often as they can repulse the other – when they’re not showing compassion, Hall’s standoffish demeanour eggs on Sudeikis’ signature sarcasm. Ultimately, this hot-and-cold chemistry is what earns longevity for Tumbledown. The indie is not so much a showcase of what first-time director Mewshaw can do stylistically nor does it profile particular strengths of budding screenwriter Desiree Van Til (associate producer of Drillbit Taylor and 13 Going on 30), but Tumebledown shows that both newbies have no problem trusting their cast to take the wheel. The performers also appear grateful and relieved for being able to flex their acting chops in a film that’s slightly out of their element.
The film is too soft to linger in our thoughts after the credits have rolled, but Tumbledown is the right pick for a mid-afternoon movie for Mom. In fact, Tumbledown is more of a pleasing Mother’s Day pick than another movie Jason Sudeikis starred in earlier this year (Garry Marshall’s Mother’s Day).
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie