Lymelife

"Excellent"

Lymelife Review


In Lymelife, Cynthia Nixon, as real estate agent Melissa Bragg in a New York suburb in 1979, looks skinny and a shade skanky, like an aging out-of-town version of a T. Rex groupie. And yet here she is in the real estate office trying to sell parcels in a housing development to people with from other countries. "It's the American Dream, Mr. Patel. On Long Island." Her boss, Mickey Bartlett (Alec Baldwin, he of the reptilian gaze and surface-to-air anger), is planning to become a millionaire in one year developing new homes in a place he calls Bartletown (what else?). And since they are next-door neighbors, the two are not so secretly engaged in schtupping one another. Mickey's wife Brenda (Jill Hennessy) is trying to tune him out but the song is getting monotonous. Melissa's husband Charlie (Timothy Hutton), spends his time in cheap gray bargain suits, sweating profusely and lurking in the basement, imaging that deer are trying to psychically commune with him. Charlie is slowly slipping away (possibly) to the effects of Lyme disease. Or he may just be another strung out sixties reject (he says the Lyme disease feels like "perpetual acid trip").

Lyme disease in the Long Island burb is the horror malady of the moment, as constructing new homes smack dab in the middle of the woods may be beautiful but it is also nightmarish. Radio announcers point out that Lyme disease causes psychiatric disturbances and severe mental disorders. Mothers weep at the thought of their kids contracting it and duct-tape the kiddies' clothing together to keep out the ticks. But if Lyme disease is the rampant contagion that all fear, it must have seeped into the residents' skulls and infected their brains. Because the only sensible parental character in Lymelife is Charlie, and he is obviously nuts.

This is what Scott Bartlett (Rory Culkin) has to deal with. He is 15 years old, gets beaten up by high school bullies, and pines (with Culkin's great moondog eyes) for the Braggs' precocious and not-so-sweet 16-year-old Adrianna (Emma Roberts).

Everything about the Bartletts and the Braggs is rapidly fraying around the edges and getting ready to snap. Scott hopes for the best when his big brother Jimmy (Kieran Culkin) comes back home, en route to fighting in the Falkland Islands. Scott still sees his parents as his parents, but Jimmy has another point of view, and his arrival launches the family dynamics into orbit. For Scott, he manages to come of age not only sexually but also with the realization that we all end up facing: that one's parents are actually deeply troubled and sick souls.

First-time director Derick Martini jumps right into the fray headfirst with reverse image cuts and an accurately rendered late-'70s feel for all these greedy and self absorbed liopleurodons, crawling out of the muck of '60s idealism and Me Decade hedonism, setting the stage for the malignant and desperate times we now live in 30 years later. The mood is enhanced by a keen selection of appropriate '70s song styles, from Bob Dylan to Frank Sinatra, the music reflected in Rory Culkin's wide-eyed expressions of innocence and experience.

Lymelife has a tone of desperate hilarity, and that desperation is tightened as Scott wanders closer to Adrianna (culminating in an excruciatingly awkward and funny scene of deflowering) as their families and his conscience explode. Baldwin is in blood vessel-bursting mode in a loud and angry confrontation scene with Brenda in their kitchen that sends him out to live in the model home next door (when Scott tells his Dad that the new model house design looks like the Millennium Falcon, Mickey states acidly, "You mean the Millennium Falcon in a good way").

But in spite of all the acting chops (Baldwin and Hutton are brilliant) the core of the film is Rory Culkin. Culkin lends the movie an almost silent film intensity, and no matter happens to Scott in the film, you bleed right along with him.

Lymelife, passionate and melancholy, captures the yearning and despair of growing up in the late '70s at the beginning of the end of the American Dream and the desire to, as Van Morrison sang about in a song of that era, "open up the window, let me breathe." As Scott tells Adrianna at one point in the film, "No matter where you go on Long Island, you can always hear the train."

Mind the poison oak.



Lymelife

Facts and Figures

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Friday 23rd October 2009

Budget: $1.5M

Distributed by: Screen Media Films

Production compaines: Bartlett Films, Cappa Defina Productions, Cappa Productions, El Dorado Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Fresh: 68 Rotten: 41

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Jonathan Cornick, , , Angela Somerville, Michele Tayler

Starring: as Mickey Bartlett, as Adriana Bragg, as Jimmy Bartlett, as Melissa Bragg, as Scott Bartlett, as Brenda Bartlett, as Charlie Bragg

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Advertisement
Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Elle Movie Review

Elle Movie Review

There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences...

100 Streets Movie Review

100 Streets Movie Review

A multi-strand drama set in London, this film is very nicely shot and acted, but...

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

It's been seven years since designer Tom Ford made a splash with his award-winning writing-directing...

The Light Between Oceans Movie Review

The Light Between Oceans Movie Review

With a sweeping, picturesque setting and emotive performances, this dramatic epic will appeal to moviegoers...

The Accountant Movie Review

The Accountant Movie Review

While this slick dramatic thriller plays with some intriguing ideas and themes, it never actually...

Train to Busan Movie Review

Train to Busan Movie Review

Leave it to the Koreans to reinvent the zombie horror movie and put a high-speed...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.