Producer Aisling Chin-Yee makes her feature film debut directing The Rest of Us. Cami (Heather Graham) and her daughter Aster navigate a difficult situation when Cami invites her ex husband’s family to live with them following his sudden death.
The premise is similar in certain ways to Dead to Me (2019-), but without the violence and humour of the Netflix Original series.
Heather Graham has been hitting TV screens much more often than cinema in recent years, and her directorial debut, Half Magic, made a poor impression in 2018. In The Rest of Us Graham is joined by Abigail Pniowsky, Sophie Nélisse, and Jodi Balfour who made an appearance as Jackie Kennedy in The Crown (2017).
The characters are reluctant to address their own shortcomings and irrational behaviour sparked by the loss.
Chin-Yee works with editor Véronique Barbe beautifully threading in a lot of backstory with a few fragments. Women are front and centre, following the pattern of Chin-Yee’s production filmography. A testament to the pragmatism of women in the face of adversity, but though The Rest of Us has the ingredients of something great, but the result is lacking.
It passes the Bechdel Test, sure, but is that such a victory when the spectre of the man looms large? The Rest of Us is a quiet tribute to the women who pick up the pieces after a tragedy. Perhaps a little too quiet: hardly memorable at all. Kelly Reichardt without the brooding or menacing undertones.
The Rest of Us premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and has a UK release date of 23rd March 2020
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