The Rest of Us needs a low triple-digit runtime, but sets up a needless challenge for itself to tell its story in under 80 minutes. What’s the hurry? And if filmmaker Aisling Chin-Yee has to compromise the narrative with condensed scenes and sharp edits to win the challenge, what’s the point?
The film pitches an interesting dynamic with a small cast. Two independent women grieve the loss of their husband – the same man. A current of animosity runs underneath the relationship between widowed ex-wife Cami (Heather Graham) and widowed mistress Rachel (Jodi Balfour), which becomes more tense when Cami takes in Rachel during financial straits left by the deceased. Their daughters (Sophie Nélisse, Abigail Pnlowsky) never really hit a stride with each other either. But as an inevitable bond grows between the two families, so does their compassion for each other.
The Rest of Us hinges on believable emotions and motivations; both of which are found in Alanna Francis credible screenplay, Aisling Chin-Yee’s impressive direction, and the subdued performances by the four leads. Unfortunately, the film sells itself short by embracing an abrupt, clipped presentation that skims over small yet crucial details that would contribute to specific characterizations or studying a scene. It’s too bad because, otherwise, The Rest of Us serves as a reminder of how concise stories and considerate filmmakers can create solid results when properly paired.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie