Money worries tempt a feckless single mother at the end of her tether to make yet another bad decision in helmer-writer Bryan Wizemann’s downbeat, Las Vegas-set indie drama “Think of Me.” A showy vehicle for producer-star Lauren Ambrose, whose emotionally volatile character comes off as unsympathetic and practically bipolar, the overly contrived, hard-to-swallow script undermines viewer compassion. Further fest exposure will likely segue to home-viewing formats.

Although her finances are precarious, thirtysomething divorcee Angela (Ambrose) frequently ignores the reality of her situation, ordering taxis, buying expensive mixed drinks, and impulsively taking a minimum wage cleaning job at night although she barely manages her call-center day work. Her 8-year-old daughter Sunny (Audrey Scott) suffers from Angela’s chaotic life, sometimes neglected to the point of endangerment. The particularly forced final reel finds Angela considering a cash offer from the sister (Penelope Ann Miller) of office colleague Max (Dylan Baker, creepy) to take Sunny off her hands. Most credible elements are the moody visuals — which entirely eschew sunlight — nailing the claustrophobic, artificial atmosphere of the neon-by-night, fluorescent-by-day desert city, and the quietly natural thesping of child-star-in-the-making Scott.

Think of Me

  • Production: A Two Tall Boots, Greyshack Films production. (International sales: Submarine Films, New York.) Produced by Mike S. Ryan, Blythe Robertson, Lauren Ambrose. Executive producers, Peter C. Selig, Brent Stiefel. Co-producer, Alicia Van Couvering. Directed, written by Bryan Wizemann.
  • Crew: Camera (color, HD), Mark Schwartzbard; editor, Michael Taylor; music, Jeff Grace; production designer, Brandon Tonner-Connelly; costume designer, Deborah Newhall. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema), Sept. 10, 2011. Running time: 103 MIN.
  • With: With: Lauren Ambrose, Audrey Scott, Dylan Baker, Penelope Ann Miller, David Conrad, Adina Porter, Craig Gray.
  • Music By: