Boundaries Review - Strong Character Driven Performances Create Indie Gold

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Boundaries from Sony Picture Classics, brings to the screen a story of redemption, of healing, of forgiveness and closure as a daughter and her pot-smoking, dealing father, her son and his collection of unique and slightly odd friends.

Directed and written by Shana Feste, Boundaries stars Christopher Plummer, Vera Farmiga, Lewis MacDougall, Christopher Lloyd, Peter Fonda, Bobby Cannavale and Kristen Schaal.

Boundaries begins with a pan of a new day as the camera captures the house full of rescue strays, dogs, cats, kittens, puppies, all waking before Laura, played by Vera Farmiga, and her son, Henry, played by Lewis MacDougall.

When we meet Laura, she is having a sleepover on a school night which means that she, her lover, and her son are all stepping over the myriad of maimed, crippled and rescued strays in an effort to get to work, school and meetings on time.


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Henry, a gifted caricature artist, has a parting gift for his mom’ lover and send him off with a caricature of how he sees her new love. We also meet Laura’s therapist, played by Chelah Horsdal, who initiates the conversation on boundaries as Laura, skirts the direct question on whether or not she’ll finally answers her father's telephone calls.

Finally we meet Jack, played by Christopher Plummer, a pot-smoking, weed dealing, still having fun well beyond the proper time in this day and age. And as luck would have it, he has to move, away out of his retirement home, as he was caught smoking pot and engaging in activities a bit more spry then the sedate crowd could handle.

As Laura balks at driving her father to Los Angeles, her “no’s and never” fade and suddenly the road trip is upon them. Of course unbeknownst to her Jack is hauling a hefty supply of weed that he, also unbeknownst to Laura, will be delivering to his quirky, and also throwback to the 1970’s, friends.

So our pot smoking father, an on the edge, always, daughter and mother and her son Henry, who is taking it all in and drawing edgy, pornographic caricature so to express his feelings are on the road.

Which is where we begin to meet Jack’s friends, Stanley, played by Christopher Lloyd and Joey, played by Peter Fonda. We also, along our road trip, meet up with old relationships which is where we meet Leonard, played by Bobby Cannavale.

Road trips, even with the potential pitfalls, bring a certain relief. The freedom, of escaping ones surroundings, even for a moment becomes evident even in Farmiga’s character as she begins to have less stressful moments.

Boundaries brings together a quirky group of characters, endears them to the audience, and lets the relationships be the guide. It isn’t until after the fact and by the good fortune of having been invited to the media day that one understands these “characters” are based in reality.

The director, Shana Feste, tells the story of her childhood, the abandonment issues and desperation of needing, as all do, her father to essentially man up and be, at least for a moment the dad that chased away the shadows, that shut down the voices, that stopped her fears.

Her father and to hear her tell it, was certainly colorful, and also a criminal, would tell wild stories of adventure, of impossible tales of traveling the seven seas, well almost, and returning home for a stop-over.

Feste has taken this once painful past and created a unique set of characters, quirky, and odd lot, full of colors, layers, and uniqueness and made them into great stories, memories filled with laughter and light.

Her choices to include stray, rescue animals, which there are many, is an analogy of her own feelings of un-connectedness to her family unit. She and her sister, JoJo, whom we met near the end of the film, played by Kristen Schaal feel a bit like rescue strays looking for a loving home where with a little care they [we] can become the master of our domains.


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Christopher Plummer brings an honesty to his portrayal of Jack. With moments, especially during the scenes with Peter Fonda and Christopher Lloyd, of brillance as the genuineness between the characters was authentic, real and tangible.

Boundaries is exceptionally well done, beautifully shot and brings a wonderful cast together for a trip worth taking. Boundaries is playing in select cities. Check local listings.

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