Review: ‘Small, Beautifully Moving Parts’

A slight but likable dramedy about a tech-savvy young woman who attempts to interface with her long-estranged mother.

By turns precise and elliptical, like a meticulously crafted short story, “Small, Beautifully Moving Parts” is a slight but likable dramedy about a tech-savvy young woman who attempts to interface with her long-estranged mother while preparing to have a child of her own. Fest auds and homevid viewers may appreciate pic’s low-key charms, and casting directors would do well to note the fine performances by well-chosen players.

Filmmakers Annie J. Howell and Lisa Robinson balance road-movie discursiveness and seriocomic psychological observations while focused on Sarah (Anna Margaret Hollyman, engaging), who travels from Manhattan to Los Angeles for a baby shower hosted by her sister (Sarah Rafferty). Bothered by her ambivalence about becoming a mom, she decides to locate her itinerant mother (Mary Beth Peil), who severed family ties years earlier and now lives in an isolated desert community. The journey is more interesting than the final destination, as Sarah has amusing encounters with her loving dad (Richard Hoag), who’s conducting a long-distance romance via Skype, and the vivacious Towie (Susan Kelechi Watson), a novice masseuse who’s the sister of Sarah’s supportive lover (Andre Holland). Tech values are fine.

Small, Beautifully Moving Parts

Production

A Sacha Pictures production. Produced by Annie J. Howell, Lisa Robinson, Jennifer Dougherty. Executive producer, Yael Melamede. Co-producer, Jennifer Lee. Directed, written by Annie J. Howell, Lisa Robinson.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Charles E. Swanson; editor, Jennifer Lee; music, Xander Duell; music supervisor, Cindy Yoon. Reviewed on DVD, Houston, March 27, 2011. (In SXSW Film Festival -- competing.) Running time: 72 MIN.

With

Anna Margaret Hollyman, Richard Hoag, Andre Holland, Mary Beth Peil, Sarah Rafferty, Susan Kelechi Watson.

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