In its opening minutes, writer-director Matt Sobel’s deyet attribute looks to be a well-made variation on a fairly prevalent type of indie: the “gay outsider in a tiny town” character sketch. Logan Miller plays Ryder, a California teenager that reluctantly tags in addition to his mommy Cindy (Robin Weigert) and father Don (Richard Schiff) to a household reunion in Nebraska. Though Logan hasn’t come out to his relatives—at his mom’s request—they pick up on his queerness anyway, from the way he dresses and his interest in art. No one’s overtly bigoted toward him; they’re just cold, and tentative. Sobel holds tight on his lead throughout these scenes, conveying Logan’s alienation from his neighboring by emphasizing just how a lot he stands out from the farmland also, the human being, and the potluck lunch.
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Then Logan’s 9-year-old cousin Molly (Ursula Parker) asks if he’ll come play via her in the barn. Minutes later—after ignoring all of Logan’s attempts to gain her to be more careful and much less rambunctious—Molly runs screaming back to the residence, via a bloodstain on the front of her dress and also no evident authorize of a wound. Her father Keith (Josh Hamilton) starts yelling at Cindy, not just because he thinks her son may have actually sexually attacked his daughter, however because of his long-simmering resentment of her for leaving residence, marrying a Jew, and also offering birth to a weirexecute.
For the a lot of component, Take Me To The River’s lurch right into melodrama marks a irreversible transition away from it being just one more sensitive slice-of-life. Though there’s still more than an hour left after the massive moment, nopoint almost as momentous happens. Sobel largely abandons the naturalism of his at an early stage scenes, shooting for something more spare and spooky. Logan is asked to leave his grandma’s farmhouse until tempers cool, and throughout his exile he receives a collection of visits and also invitations from his household, who all suspiciously seem to want to foracquire about what happened. With just a couple of minor tweaks, Take Me To The River might play as a moody superorganic horror photo, via Logan as the dangerously curious hero being warned ameans from an evil he shouldn’t face.
Instead, the film continues to be even more grounded in mundane mysteries—although Sobel does work tough, all the method to the end, to protect against providing any kind of definitive explanations for what everybody yet Logan and also the audience seems to understand. Take Me To The River is vague to a fault, suggesting just sufficient to get across what may be going on, while continuing to be open up to interpretation. As a item of storyinforming, this approach deserve to be pretty unsatisfying, as Sobel stubbornly refoffers to pay off all that he sets up.
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Then aget, there may be a good factor why Take Me To The River plays it so coy: Due to the fact that it’s not really about what occurred to Molly. The bloody dress is just a hook, to save viewers engaged while Sobel proceeds what he began in the film’s opening minutes. Tright here are a couple of moments of overt culture-clash in the movie’s second half—favor once a creepily smiling Keith asks Logan if he, choose his mother, thinks he’s “better” than his Nebraska roots—yet for the most part Sobel explores a much more subtle unease. Even even more than how weird his family members becomes regarding Molly’s event, Logan’s unnerved by the way his innovative mother is unexpectedly saying points prefer, “Want to come inside and also gain some pop? It’s hotter ’n heck out tbelow.” It’s as though “Nebraska” were the expect that everyone else is regressing to, while Logan continues to be a confused and also confutilizing outlier.
Take Me To The River functions best in scenes like the one wright here Logan gets goaded by his uncle and also aunt right into singing the homoerotic song that he did for a college talent display ago west—while he’s sitting in a Midwestern breakfast nook and also drinking generic store-brand cola out of a plastic tumbler. Sobel gets beneath Logan’s discomfort, which manifests not simply in uncertainty over whether he need to let Molly be so spirited when she’s sitting on his neck and also playing horsey, however additionally whether he have to be encouraging her once she sings Katy Perry and also talks about visiting him in California. If the huge concerns in Take Me To The River remajor naggingly unanswered, that’s most likely because the film is equally unsure around a smaller, more important question: How have the right to someone be himself about human being who reportedly resent what he represents?