Thursday, January 26, 2006

HEAD OF THE CLASS

Posted on Thu, Jan 26, 2006 at 4:00 AM

*****
Loggerheads
Studio: Strand Releasing
Rated: PG-13
Website: http://www.loggerheadsmovie.com
Release Date: 2006-01-26
Cast: Bonnie Hunt, Tess Harper, Kip Pardue, Michael Kelly, Michael Learned
Director: Tim Kirkman, Savage Steve Holland
Screenwriter: Tim Kirkman
Music Score: Mark Geary
WorkNameSort: Loggerheads
Our Rating: 5.00

The deserving winner of the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at last year's Florida Film Festival, Loggerheads is an exquisite ensemble drama set in three North Carolina communities. The movie weaves flawless performances by Bonnie Hunt, Chris Sarandon, Michael Learned and others into a mesmerizing tapestry of familial yearning and loss.

With a storytelling assurance that recalls the best of Robert Altman, writer/director Tim Kirkman doles out the interrelated biographies of a gay drifter, a lonely single woman with a secret and a married couple pining for their vanished son. Learning how this trifecta of tales intersects is the prize that awaits us at the end of this subtle, profoundly affecting little film, yet the anticipation in no way overshadows our appreciation of the smart dialogue that drives the lovingly staged encounters between characters. What's more, the script wallows in a temporal displacement that's not immediately apparent but lends an essential element of mystery to the movie's precisely rendered scenarios of Southern discomfort. (Hint: Listen carefully to news broadcasts playing in the background of certain scenes, and you'll have a better sense of where you are at any given time.)

Given producer Gill Holland's successful sideline as a neo-folk impresario, it's no surprise that the movie also boasts a wonderful acoustic soundtrack – all the better for its complete lack of delusion that it's underscoring the freakin' Graduate. And that's an all too rare thing nowadays.

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