Long Island filmaker Hal Hartley progresses from his debut feature, The Unbelievable Truth to this bleak, off-center comedy about dysfunctional families in working class suburbia.

Long Island filmaker Hal Hartley progresses from his debut feature, The Unbelievable Truth to this bleak, off-center comedy about dysfunctional families in working class suburbia.

When Maria (Adrienne Shelly) gets pregnant by the high school quarterback, she’s dropped by her boyfriend, drops out of school, and her father drops dead of a heart attack. Maria’s hard-bitten mother treats her like a pariah.

Meanwhile, Matthew (Martin Donovan), an intellectually inclined reform school graduate with a talent for fixing things, quits his mind-numbing job assembling computers. Matthew wanders the streets, encounters Maria, and takes the shattered girl to his home.

This sets the stage for a tale of uneasy love and spiritual anomie in sterile precincts of middle America. Donovan is excellent as the brooding misfit, and Shelly is tangibly right as the suburban brat. Also very good are Merritt Nelson as Maria’s emotionally alienated mother and John MacKay as Matthew’s bullying father.

Trust

US - UK

Production

True Fiction/Zenith. Director Hal Hartley; Producer Bruce Weiss; Screenplay Hal Hartley; Camera Michael Spiller; Editor Nick Gomez; Music Phil Reed; Art Director Daniel Ouellette

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1990. Running time: 103 MIN.

With

Adrienne Shelly Martin Donovan Merritt Nelson John MacKay Edie Falco Marko Hunt
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