Boundaries: A Hollywood Road Movie

Filed in Film by on July 2, 2018 0 Comments

Shana Feste’s Boundaries, which opens in Canada on July 6, falls back on an old Hollywood cliche to fairly good effect. She places three people in a car and sends them off on a road trip from Seattle to Los Angeles.

The travellers are Laura (Vera Farmiga), a single mother struggling with financial problems; Henry (Lewis MacDougall), her eccentric teenaged son who has just been expelled from school, and Jack (Christopher Plummer), her estranged father who has been ejected from a nursing home.

As the film opens, Laura is talking to a psychiatrist about Jack, saying she doesn’t need his love and attention anymore. She and Jack have had a fraught relationship, and as far as she’s concerned, she can live without him. But after Henry’s expulsion, she turns to Jack for assistance because she can’t afford to send him to a private school.

Christopher Plummer and Vera Farmiga

Jack, finding himself homeless, urgently requires a roof under his head. In desperation, he lies about his health, claiming he has terminal prostate cancer. He hopes that Laura will invite him to her house, which is filled with a cat and several stray dogs. She has no intention of complying with his wish. Laura arranges for her sister in Hollywood to take in Jack. In return, Jack will pay for Henry’s tuition.

They all pile into Jack’s gold Rolls Royce. En route to California, they pick up two more stray dogs. Unbeknownst to Laura, Jack has stashed $200,000 worth of marijuana in his trunk. Since pot is on the verge of being legalized, he wants to sell and give away his cache. Henry agrees to help him get rid of it. By now, Henry has bonded with Jack. “I just like his vibe,” he says. Being extremely familiar with Jack, a self-centred man with ulterior motives, Laura fears he will disappoint Henry too.

In short order, they visit a Buddhist camp and stop at Jack’s friend’s house in the woods. Bowing to Henry’s request, they spend a night with his biological father, Leonard (Bobby Cannavale), who Laura has avoided until now. Much to Henry’s chagrin, Leonard turns out to be less than noble. Laura, who should know better, is also burned by Leonard.

Christopher Plummer and Lewis MacDougall

When Laura finds out that Jack is trafficking in drugs, she has a temper tantrum. Once again, she’s disappointed him. Nevertheless, they press on toward Los Angeles and a meeting with Laura’s sister.

Boundaries is alternatively serious, goofy and heart-warming, but it’s not in the heavy-weight class. Call it light entertainment. Still, it’s fun enough for one and a half hours thanks to Farmiga, Plummer and MacDougall, who turn in credible performances.

As road movies go, it holds its own.









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