Wednesday’s Child

Co-producers, Fred Kramer, Charles Melniker.

Co-producers, Fred Kramer, Charles Melniker.

Directed, written by Brad Marlowe. Camera (Deluxe color), Scott Kevan; editors, Ayelet Agulnik, Darcy Worsham; music, Andrew Dorfman; art director, Gerritt VanderMeer; costume designer, Kristy Knefelkamp. Reviewed at Dances With Films Festival of the Unknowns (competing), Santa Monica, July 27, 1999. (Also in Montreal Film Festival.) Running time: 103 MIN.

With: Sommer Knight, David King, Brandon Hiott, Todd Surber, Tom Polanski, Rusty Burns, Jacqueline Van Biene, Bill Knight, Amy French.

An earnest portrait of two damaged souls who find solace in each other, “Wednesday’s Child” is too predictable and heavy-handed to make much of an impression on the fest circuit. Good-looking pic will serve chiefly as a calling card for sophomore writer-helmer Brad Marlowe, whose empathetic treatment of characters and generally nuanced direction of thesps nonetheless can’t overcome the obvious trajectory of his scenario.

Uprooted yet again by military Dad’s latest assignment, rebellious, brooding teenager Joanne (Sommer Knight) and younger brother Billy (Brandon Hiott) find themselves in the kind of town where the minister makes welcoming house calls. Desperately looking for love, Joanne briefly tangles with ultra-bad boy Tony (Todd Surber, looking too old to be a high-schooler). But her growing friendship with mysterious hermit Nathan (David King) takes her in more wholesome directions; when she trades in her Death Knell black lipstick for a more conventional pink, we know the emotional healing has begun. Marlowe sentimentalizes his outsiders as True Artists, while expository dialogue limits audience involvement. Tellingly, opening lines of “poetic” voiceover narration repeated at pic’s end have no more resonance the second time around.

Wednesday's Child

(DRAMA)

Production: A Write Angles Prods. presentation in association with Without a Box Prods. Produced by Lauren Moews, Brad Marlowe. Executive producers, Leonor Avila Marlowe, David Straus.

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