WATCH THE TRAILER HERE
First, the Recap:
Making one’s way in the world. With so many possibilities and potential paths to follow, it’s a wonder anyone finds their ultimate destination. What remains is that the choices we are faced with can lead us down a road to self-fulfillment or self-destruction, both of which can have their ebbs and flows, pinnacles and depths. For divorcee Owen (Bryan Greenberg), existence becomes relegated to moments of bad choosing while attending a friend’s New Year’s Eve party, the aftermath of which becomes an unexpected catalyst to see life from a different perspective. Initially reeling from the incident, a rough encounter with his girlfriend Pam (Jamie Chung) and pursuit of attention with new interest, Vera (Claire van der Boom), begin to shape a fresh outlook.
Making the new year one to right wrongs and reinvent himself, Owen starts making strides to reconnect with his estranged son Adam (Drew Shugart) while also taking on the responsibilities of watching over neighbor Angie (Natasha Rothwell) and her disabled son, Todd (Jamie Hector), trying to help a wayward friend Kenny (T.R. Knight) and Kenny’s ex-con brother Victor (Marshall Allman), all while attempting to keep his vending machine business and wooing of Vera on the upswing to boot. The more immersed in his goal of populating his life with a new “family” to stem the loss of the one gone before its time, it becomes apparent things don’t always get molded into the ideal picture so easily. But what occurs is a transformative journey that will greatly influence everyone involved.
Next, my Mind:
When films tread upon the grounds of themes done time and time again, it comes down to the filmmakers to create something fresh and unique from what the material offers. And for director Stephen Suettinger, in his feature-length debut, something fresh is indeed brought forth with “A Year And Change”. Delivering on what indie films (done right) so effectively tend to demonstrate, the story takes what could have been average fare and turns it into a surprisingly provocative, charismatic, bold, and winning character-driven drama that isn’t afraid to tackle some seriously hard issues in the midst of its equally effective romcom and general comedic overtones. Not average by any means, the film truly embraces its narrative and takes the viewer along on a fascinating odyssey, fully investing your attention to the players concerned.
Greenberg very much embodies the whole concept of the “confused man unsure about life but then rattled into a state of realization” in playing Owen, and very capably and energetically infuses a sense of realism in every action the character takes, from genuine dispassion to straight-forward commitment to adjust his priorities. Likewise, van der Boom brings that same level of naturalness and truth to Vera, a fellow divorcee and woman finding her own new path when it interconnects with Owen’s, followed by the subsequent battles with fear of moving on they both encounter. Strongly written supporting roles for Chung, Shugart, Rothwell, Allman, and Hector bring additional atmosphere to an already emotionally-charged arena, and a superbly gut-wrenching turn by Knight rounds things off to heart-impacting perfection.
Elevated by a fantastic cast, solid writing, and a great director, “A Year And Change” makes its name and presence known to the indie film world with a bang. And it can actually be an illustration about how important it becomes to step back, take a look at where we’re at, and realize that sometimes, that little bit of modification and transition can do wonders.
As always, this is all for your consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!