Director: Reed Morano
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Duration: 91 minutes
Meadowland (DVD) – Movie Review
The moment parents lay eyes on their newborn child is something magical, and the beginning of a long journey together. For some, this journey may end quite abruptly though, and sooner than one could imagine. For the characters in Meadowland, their lives turn into nightmares when their little boy suddenly disappears. Is he alive? Is he dead? The not knowing is what makes it even more unbearable while trying to cope with this immense loss.
Sarah (Olivia Wilde) and Phil (Luke Wilson) have been driving around for a while when their ten year old son Jessie (Casey Walker) asks to go to the bathroom. Phil stops the car at the nearest gas station, and while he gets something to drink, Jessie uses the bathroom. It starts to take quite long though, and when Phil knocks on the door and asks Jessie if he is ok, but doesn’t get a reply, he asks the clerk to open up the door. Once the door is open, Phil and Sarah realize that the back of the bathroom leads into the workspace of the gas station, and Jessie is nowhere to be seen. They search for him everywhere, running around and screaming, but without success, leaving the couple devastated and frightened.
The story fast-forwards to a year later, when Sarah and Phil are still trying to cope with the fact that their son is missing. Phil seems to be doing ok, be it only on the surface, but Sarah is on lithium, and looks tired of life. Phil’s brother Tim (Giovanni Ribisi) sleeping at their couch isn’t the best influence either. Nonetheless, both Phil and Sarah try to make the situation work in their own way. What follows is an account of how they both deal with the loss of their son, and how they each try to move on with their lives, and with their life together.
There isn’t much story to this film, yet the little story there is, is brought in a fascinating manner. The moment that changed Sarah and Phil’s lives happened really fast at the beginning of the movie, and after that it’s mainly the mental journey of both characters that gets all the focus. No action scenes, no long dialogues, just two separate storylines for the two main characters. It allowed director Reed Morano to paint a convincing image of the two characters, dealing with their loss in a completely different manner, yet trying to cope as a couple as well. The story never gets dull though, as there is still a clear progression in Phil’s, but mainly Sarah’s actions.
It’s safe to say that the two lead actors Olivia Wilde and Luke Wilson really carry the story of this film. Wilson seems to be the most sane of the two, trying to hold on to what he still has, while Wilde’s character slowly starts to lose her mind. The two don’t have many scenes together but are mostly seen individually. They both portray their characters very well, especially Wilde, for whom it can’t have been easy to portray her character’s mindset. Supporting actors such as Giovanni Ribisi and Elisabeth Moss blend in well, even though their screen time is very limited.
There is only one extra feature to this DVD release, which is a ‘behind the scenes’. In this twenty minute long feature, cast and crew give their thoughts about the film, the story and the characters. It’s an opportunity for them to rave about each other’s performances, yet it’s also interesting to see how the story came about and get a bit more insight into the role of certain characters. Even though it’s just this one special feature, this is not the kind of film to have a whole load of extra content, thus we found it to be fairly sufficient.
Meadowland sheds a light on the emotional and mental rollercoaster parents go through after losing their child. The film really takes its time to say what it wants to say, without getting dull. Olivia Wilde and Luke Wilson both manage to lift up the story with their renditions of Sarah and Phil making the whole a serene yet interesting film to watch.