MOVIE REVIEW: Big Significant Things

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BIG SIGNIFICANT THINGS

DIRECTOR: Bryan Reisberg

CAST: Harry Lloyd , Krista Kosonen, Sylvia Grace Crim, James Ricker II, Travis Koop

CLASSIFICATION: PG 13

RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes

RATING:***

AN OBLIQUE look at a man trying to hold big life decisions at bay, Reisberg’s Big Significant Things sets Lloyd (pictured) off on a Southern road trip whose ostensible purpose is to visit all the “world’s largest” tourist-trap novelties he can find.

A good-looking debut offering more atmosphere than action, it will resonate personally with some young viewers on the fest circuit and has modest prospects beyond.

Lloyd’s Craig seems at first to be a bland, guileless tourist enamoured of gee-whiz monuments: asking a stranger to take his photo beside the “World’s Largest Cedar Bucket”, he then lingers uncomfortably, as if expecting his nonplussed new friend to share in his amazement. (The kid clearly does not.)

But when he phones home to girlfriend Allison, his talk of a busy day at work proves there’s something happening behind that good-guy face: Craig’s on a week-long holiday from life, pretending he’s still working, while Allison scouts for places to live in San Francisco, where they’re moving together.

Once we hear her father in the background of a call, adding an unwelcome two cents on the topic of real estate purchases, we understand part of Craig’s hesitation.

But that’s about as explicit as the film gets, instead choosing to observe the little ways the man tries to fit into rural towns where he doesn’t belong.

When Craig meets a Finnish girl, Ella (Kosonen), in a bar, the movie suddenly seems to point somewhere. But Reisberg’s script is less predictable than that: whatever threat this newcomer poses to his relationship will manifest itself slowly, in between long night-time drives and boozy parties in strangers’ homes.

Reisberg and DP Luca Del Puppo capture the feeling of being adrift in a place and a social circle that’s not one’s own, while using totems from Craig’s past (one of those man-made landmarks; an overnight radio call-in show) to keep him tethered to a future he has more-than-halfway agreed to already.

Lloyd’s perform-ance invites us in just enough to keep us from judging the character without allowing us to identify with him fully. It isn’t clear, after all, that Craig has a sense of identity that even he can identify with. – Hollywood Reporter

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