Life’s Too Good

First feature by writer/director Hilary Weisman is a domestic comedy shot locally in Chelmsford, Mass. Knowing take on family relationships overcomes technical rough edges, resulting in a contender for fests and venues seeking indie product, especially from a femme p.o.v.

With:
Tasha ... Claudia Arenas Victor ... Michael Medico Linda ... Marjorie Burren Ted ... Paul Horn Dani ... Kathleen Cullen Henry ... Doug Miller Grandma ... Betsy White Grandpa ... John Blood

First feature by writer/director Hilary Weisman is a domestic comedy shot locally in Chelmsford, Mass. Knowing take on family relationships overcomes technical rough edges, resulting in a contender for fests and venues seeking indie product, especially from a femme p.o.v.

Story focuses on the mother and two daughters of the Rosen family. Mom Linda (Marjorie Burren) is a middle-aged widow perfectly happy to live with the comfy but passionless Ted (Paul Horn). Tasha (Claudia Arenas) and aspiring artist Victor (Michael Medico) are twentysomethings living with her mother while trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up. Younger daughter Dani (Kathleen Cullen) is class valedictorian facing the upcoming graduation while goofing off with b.f. Henry (Doug Miller).

Film follows days leading up to graduation, as each of these couples tries to make sense of their relationships and their lives. Much of the focus is on Tasha and Victor, who talk out everything in their lives, sometimes to the detriment of the short feature’s momentum. Best scenes show the family dynamics, such as when all six sit down to dinner eating different things (the grown-ups want steak while Gen X-ers prefer “healthier” fare).

Weisman has a good feel for how family members talk — and often don’t listen — to each other. Best scene is when mother is called to her own parents’ home on the night before graduation because her mother (Betsy White) has chosen this moment to rehash memories of her father (John Blood) having an affair 40 years earlier.

Visual tech credits are solid, with good use of locations, and belie ultralow budget. Sound work reveals pic’s limitations, especially when overlapping conversations result in a muddy soundtrack.

Life's Too Good

Production: A Kind Stranger Production presentation. Executive producers, Amy Lee, Jerry Levine, Marilyn Root, Bob Root, Anne Paradis. Directed, written by Hilary Weisman.

Crew: Camera (color), Frank Coleman; editor, Jim Ohm; music, Harry Fix; art direction, Keely Flow; sound, Lenny Manzo; assistant director, Donna De Angelis. Reviewed at Remis Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, June 25, 1994. Running time: 74 MIN.

With: Tasha ... Claudia Arenas Victor ... Michael Medico Linda ... Marjorie Burren Ted ... Paul Horn Dani ... Kathleen Cullen Henry ... Doug Miller Grandma ... Betsy White Grandpa ... John Blood

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