Saturday 3 February 2024

Movie Review: Through The Glass Darkly (2020)

Genre: Psychological Crime Thriller  
Director: Lauren Fash  
Starring: Robyn Lively, Shanola Hampton  
Running Time: 103 minutes  

Synopsis: In the small town of Elrod in rural Georgia, Charlie (Robyn Lively) is living with the trauma of her daughter Lily's abduction. The little girl was never found, and the tragedy ruptured Charlie's relationship with her partner Angela. Now another girl goes missing in the same town: Elodie is the daughter of Trip Carmichael (Michael Trucco), the controversial scion of the region's wealthiest family. Charlie believes the disappearances of Lily and Elodie must be connected, and starts investigating with the help of reporter Amy (Shanola Hampton).

What Works Well: Director and co-writer Lauren Fash weaves the initial crime and personal calamity threads with eloquence, aided by soulful small town ambience and a grounded Robyn Lively performance. Subtle hints of time disorientation add intrigue.

What Does Not Work As Well: The promising start unravels into scattered storylines. The over-narrated narrative is distracted by sub-themes of a gay couple in an unwelcoming community, false accusations by inept cops, long-ago crimes and cover-ups that are talked about but never shown, and the privilege of power and wealth. It's all muddled by clarity-obscuring mental illness, but regardless, many of the plot details are contrived. The core story ultimately gets scant attention, as Charlie and reporter Amy land on the sidelines of their own drama while the script staggers in search of the next topic-du-jour.

Conclusion: Overpacked and wayward social commentary derails a crime investigation.

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